How do I turn off app notifications during certain times?

Why You Might Want to Limit App Notifications

Too many notifications from apps on your phone can become disruptive, distracting, and have negative impacts on your productivity and focus. According to a 2019 Harvard Business Review article, “Push-notifications are sapping our ability to get into flow, to do our best work, and to leave the office feeling truly accomplished.” Push notifications often interrupt you unnecessarily while you are trying to concentrate on a task. This can break your focus and make it harder to get back on track.

In addition to reduced productivity, constant notifications can also take a toll on mental health. A barrage of pings, dings, and alerts can lead to information overload. This can create stress and anxiety as you feel pressured to respond to each one. Excessive notifications may also disrupt sleep if they continue coming in late into the night. A good night’s sleep is vital for overall wellbeing and effective functioning during the day.

Setting limits on notifications can help take back control. You can determine the appropriate times you want to receive notifications from certain apps and cut down on the distraction. With fewer disruptions, you’re likely to experience greater productivity, focus, and peace of mind.

How to Set Notification Limits in iOS

You can use the Screen Time feature on iPhone and iPad to limit when notifications can be delivered for certain apps. Screen Time allows you to schedule “downtime” when notifications from specific apps will be blocked.

To set up downtime on iOS:

  1. Go to Settings > Screen Time > [Your Name] > Downtime
  2. Toggle on Scheduled and set the time range you want to enable Downtime
  3. Under Allowed Apps, select which apps can still send notifications during Downtime. Deselect apps you want to block notifications from.
  4. Tap Turn On Downtime

During the scheduled Downtime, you will not receive any notifications from the apps you blocked. This allows you to avoid distractions during set times like sleeping hours (source).

You can also limit app usage in Screen Time through App Limits. However, App Limits restrict access to apps but still allow notifications to come through from blocked apps (source). Using Downtime is better for silencing notifications.

The Screen Time parental controls also give you the option to block all notifications during downtime if you are setting up Screen Time on your child’s device (source).

Managing Notifications in Android

Android allows granular control over app notifications through notification channels. Introduced in Android 8.0 Oreo, notification channels let you configure notifications at the app level. For example, you can turn off certain notifications from apps like email or social media while keeping others.

To manage notification channels, open the Settings app and go to Apps & Notifications > Notifications. Tap on an app and you’ll see the various notification channels it uses. From here, you can turn off specific channels by tapping on them and disabling notifications.

According to Google’s support article, “Control notifications on Android,” you can also long press on a notification to change its settings. This allows you to quickly customize notifications as they appear without digging through settings [1].

Another useful setting for managing notifications is Do Not Disturb. Enable Do Not Disturb to silence all notifications for a set period of time. You can customize Do Not Disturb to allow exceptions for certain contacts or apps. There are also options to automatically turn on Do Not Disturb at certain times, like overnight.

As outlined in the Android Basics article “Managing Notifications on Android,” Do Not Disturb lets you avoid distractions from incoming notifications when you need to focus. You can find Do Not Disturb under Settings > Sound > Do Not Disturb [2].

Setting Notification Limits for Specific Apps

You can control notifications from specific apps on both iOS and Android devices. This allows you to disable notifications entirely or silence them during certain times of day.

On iOS, open the Settings app and tap Notifications. Here you will see a list of apps that can send notifications. Tap on an app and toggle off Allow Notifications to disable them entirely. You can also customize the notification settings for that app, like turning off sounds and badges.

To limit notifications during set times, use the Focus modes in iOS. Go to Settings > Focus to create a custom Focus that silences chosen apps. You can schedule this Focus mode to turn on and off automatically.

On Android, open Settings and go to Apps & Notifications > Notifications. Tap an app and disable Show Notifications to turn them off completely. For granular control, tap Advanced and customize the notification channels.

Android also has Do Not Disturb modes that can silence notifications from specific apps when activated. Go to Settings > Sound & Vibration > Do Not Disturb to customize these modes and set schedules.

Third-party apps like Clockwise and Smith offer advanced scheduling and automation to limit notifications from productivity apps during personal time.

With some customization, you can take control over distracting or unnecessary notifications from apps on your devices.

Using Focus Modes to Limit Distractions

A helpful way to manage notifications and reduce distractions is to use Focus modes, available on both iOS and Android devices. Focus modes allow you to automatically silence certain apps and notifications during designated times so you can better concentrate on the task at hand.

On iPhones and iPads, Focus modes like Do Not Disturb and Work can be enabled to mute non-essential notifications when you need to focus (Apple Support). You can customize which people and apps are allowed to notify you in Focus modes. For example, you may want to allow messages from family members while blocking work email notifications in Personal Focus mode.

Android has similar functionality with Focus mode settings that can automatically turn on at certain times or locations. This Focus mode can silence chosen apps, show priority notifications only, and auto-reply to messages (Gizmodo). Focus modes make it easy to minimize distractions for a given period of time or situation.

Third-Party Apps to Control Notifications

In addition to the built-in notification settings on iOS and Android, there are various third-party apps that can help limit distractions from notifications. One popular app is FocusMe, which allows you to block distracting apps and websites during set times so you can stay focused on work or study. With FocusMe, you can create a custom schedule to limit access to apps, block notifications, and reduce phone addiction.

Other similar apps include Flipd, which locks your phone for a set period of time to avoid distractions, and Space, which sets goals and tracks your screen time usage to encourage mindfulness. These types of apps can provide extra motivation and accountability to stick to limits on notifications and app usage as needed.

Creating a Schedule or Routine

One effective way to limit distractions from app notifications is to create a schedule or routine specifying when notifications should be turned off. For many people, turning off notifications at night can promote better sleep and reduce stress. According to [url][/url], turning off phone notifications can instantly create feelings of calm and happiness. Setting your phone to go into Do Not Disturb mode on a schedule is an easy way to turn off notifications during set time periods, like overnight while you’re sleeping. You can customize the exact hours when Do Not Disturb activates in your phone’s settings.

Similarly, you may find benefits from turning off certain app notifications during working hours or times when you want to focus without distractions. Setting your work calendar app or email to only deliver notifications at set intervals, rather than constantly, can improve productivity. Or you can select Focus modes on iOS that automatically limit app notifications based on your current activity, like fitness, sleep, gaming, and more. Overall, thoughtfully planning when to receive app notifications versus limiting them can help you stay focused, calm, and in control.

Trying a Digital Detox

One way to limit distractions from app notifications is to periodically do a full digital detox. A digital detox involves taking a break from technology and digital devices for a set period of time. This can serve as a reset for your brain and help you be more mindful of how you spend your time.

Some tips for trying a digital detox include:

  • Schedule your detox for a set timeframe such as a weekend or week.
  • Turn off all non-essential notifications across your devices. You can turn them back on after your detox. (
  • Keep only the apps you need for basic functions. Remove optional apps and games.
  • Tell friends and family you will be on a digital detox so they know not to expect replies.
  • Make a plan for offline activities to fill your time such as reading, exercising, socializing, etc. (Plume)

Periodically turning off all notifications for a set time can help reset your habits and make you more conscious of how and when you want apps to notify you. Just be sure not to overdo it if notifications are essential for work or family.

Customizing Notification Settings

Both iOS and Android allow you to customize notification settings for each app installed on your device. This gives you granular control over how you receive notifications.

On iOS, open the Settings app and tap Notifications to view and manage notifications for all apps. Select an app, then tap to customize options for sounds, banners, badges, and how notifications appear on the lock screen. For example, you can disable sounds and banners but keep badges visible for low priority apps. You can also turn off Show Previews to hide notification contents on the lock screen. Apple Support provides details on customizing all notification options for each app.

On Android, open the Settings app and tap Notifications. Here you can customize notifications globally or for each app. Tap an app and customize options like blocking notifications, importance level, peeking, and vibration. Android also allows silencing notifications during set times with Do Not Disturb. Google Support explains how to customize notifications for any installed Android app.

Taking time to fine-tune notification settings gives you control over distractions. Set preferences for each app’s alerts based on your priorities and schedule.


Managing notifications is an important step in reducing digital distractions and taking control of your technology usage. By utilizing built-in and third-party tools, setting schedules, and trying a “digital detox”, you can more intentionally choose which notifications reach you and when. This allows you to stay focused on the task at hand or simply enjoy some distraction-free relaxation.

The key takeaways are:

  • Both iOS and Android offer options to limit notifications for certain apps or times of day.
  • Focus modes like Do Not Disturb can mute alerts when you need to concentrate.
  • Third-party apps provide even more granular control over notifications.
  • Establishing set blocks of time for checking messages can reduce compulsive tech habits.
  • Scheduling regular “digital detoxes” gives your brain a break and helps reset your relationship with technology.

By thoughtfully managing notifications instead of letting them manage you, you can stay informed without being overwhelmed and improve your quality of life.

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