How to set up notification summary on iPhone and iPad

Overwhelmed with constant notifications? Starting with iOS and iPadOS 15, your iPhone and iPad offer a notification summary function with which you can specify that notifications at scheduled times are displayed in a “summary” instead of immediately.

Similar to the focus feature, the notification summary helps you avoid unwanted distractions. If you skipped the initial setup for the feature or want to change it later, follow these steps.

How to set focus on iPhone and iPad

Find and add notification summaries

To get started, you’ll need to open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad. Scroll down there and tap on Notifications.

At the top of the page, you’ll see an option labeled “Planned Summary”. It can list a few scheduled times, but if it doesn’t, don’t worry. Just tap on “Scheduled Summary” and you can set up a few.

Scheduled summary enabled in notifications

The first option you see turns the feature on or off. If you want to use “Scheduled Summary”, make sure that the switch is colored green. Below that you should see your schedule. It lists the times that iOS will show you a notification summary.

Scheduled summary options for notifications


The first summary is expected to be at 8 a.m. Another recap is planned for 6 p.m. You can add as many additional summary times as you want. To the example, In our tests, we determined that summaries of our notifications would appear at 8:00 AM, 2:00 PM, 7:00 PM, and 10:00 PM.

Activate the Show next summary option

Next you will see an option labeled “Show Next Summary”. When you enable this, your upcoming notification summary will appear in the Notification Center before the scheduled time.

Enable the Show next summary option

The upcoming summary looks something like this, and you can tap it to see all of your scheduled app notifications.

Summary of the next notification

How to choose which apps to include in the notification summary

Below you can choose which apps will be included in each summary.

Unfortunately, you can’t configure an app to only appear in certain summaries. All you can do is set the app to either be included in all summaries or not.

Note: By default, the notification summary only withholds what Apple considers to be non-urgent summary notifications. To the example, iOS regards incoming phone calls and SMS as urgent. You’ll still get these right away unless you specifically instruct iOS to keep them for later. More on this below.

In this app list you can see on average how many notifications each app shows per day. As you can see, most of the notifications are in the example below come from email.

Example of average daily notifications for each of your apps


Here you can even change your phone and message notifications to scheduled instead of instant. When you need to change an app from instant notifications to scheduled notifications, just flip the toggle switch to green

iOS will likely ask you to make sure this is really what you want. After changing the messages to schedule, such as: example, iOS prompts you to keep the app set for instant notifications or change it to scheduled.

Example of an iOS check whether you really want to save urgent notifications for your planned summary

If you’d rather see the list in alphabetical order, all you have to do is tap the A through Z tab.

Set time sensitive notifications to appear immediately

When you return to the main notification settings section, you can dig even deeper. You can also find another way to configure certain apps to send your notifications instantly. Scroll down until you see the specific app you want to configure.

Some notifications are more time sensitive than others. You can tell your iPhone or iPad to deliver these immediately instead of waiting for the next notification summary.

Tap the app you want to change and you’ll see a new set of options. Under “Notification delivery” you can change whether the notifications of the app are displayed immediately or whether they are included in a notification summary. Even better, with a simple toggle, you can tell your device to go through those time-sensitive notifications right away.

App-specific notification settings


Below that is the option “Always deliver immediately”. Here you can instruct iOS to show you these time sensitive notifications immediately. When this is enabled, important notifications will appear on your lock screen immediately. These notifications stay on the lock screen for an hour or until you close them.

Another useful feature you might have gotten with iOS 15 is the built-in two-factor authenticator.

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