Apps Should Offer Functional and Promotional Notification Options

Apple last year begun letting apps serve up push notifications solely for the purpose of advertising or marketing — but only as long as users of those apps agree to receive the ads.

Apple had long banned apps from using notifications for “advertising, promotions, or direct marketing purposes,” but since the change, apps have been able to send marketing notifications when “customers have explicitly opted in to receive them.”

Reddit user elOmaro recently posted the opinion that Apple should offer two notification options: functional and promotional:

I have several shopping, food delivery, and other services apps that I use. I allow notifications from those app to be up to date with the services that use them for. And since now there is now an app for everything from food delivery to doing car maintenance, so many of those apps are straight up abusing the notification system to spam free advertisement.

Notifications are now the alternative to promotional email spams. But you cant basically unsubscribe from those because the only option you have is to either enable them or disable them entirely.

That said, on iOS, there are two sorts of push notifications you might see: Banners (appear as a rectangle at the top of your screen for a few seconds before automatically going away) and Alerts (appear on your lock screen or in the middle of your screen when you’re actively using your device). Luckily, Apple currently gives you the option to choose which you want, as well as to turn them off.

Simply open your Settings app, tap Notifications on the left-hand side of your screen, then swipe up until you see a list of your apps. From there, select the app you want to turn off notifications for, and then tap None to turn them off. At the moment, push notifications must be disabled on an app by app basis in iOS, as there is no way to turn of push notifications on all apps at once.

Disabling push notifications for an app impacts more than just push notification ads. You won’t get any messages from the app, whether it’s a helpful reminder or an alert about your friend updating their Instagram Stories. So, it’s not an ideal workaround, and we think your best bet will be to wait until an app seeks consent. At that point, be sure to read the fine print and opt-out.