Kyle Seth Gray

Kyle Seth Gray's blog. Usually writing about tech, personal experience, but now leaning more towards health and fitness.

Push Her? I Hardly Know Her...

Owen Williams wrote a great post today about Push Notifications in the always connected world we live in:

When you install a new app, the first thing it’ll do is ask you to allow push notifications even though you have no idea what to expect! We just met! Why are app makers making such a big request, like it’s no big deal? How will I know what you are going to send me?

Push notifications are one of the best things about our phones. The instant someone mentions us on Twitter, we know. Our phones light up the instant a earthquake happens, the president is elected, or someone likes our photo on Instagram.

It's turned into one of those situations where you ask yourself "What do you want to do with this power?" Owen makes a great point in saying how you should limit your notifications:

When trimming down your notifications, ask yourself these questions:

Am I willing to let this interrupt me at any given moment during my day? Is this information critical to my life?
If the answer is no, kill it. Turn it off entirely.

This encouraged me to just go through and turn off notifications for apps that don't need notifications, or even some that never used them at all.

I’ve never personally seen the need to have Instagram notifications on except for getting a message on there, (which I never do) or someone tagging me in a photo. Thankfully Instagram allows this type of notification control inside the app, but a lot of apps don’t. But there are a slew of other apps that'll notify you about some sale or bug you to play their game again. Not only is it exhaustive and annoying, but it interrupts your day, whatever you may be doing, and kills your battery life.

There are a lot of apps that don’t need our constant attention. Check them when you need to, not when the app wants you to.

As a side note, this is something I also do with Background App Refresh. Introduced in iOS 7, this is a simple thing that allows apps to fetch information in the background so you don’t have to wait for it to load. But do you really need Instagram, Vine, or every single weather app to update in the background? I’ve turned off the majority of apps that seem to request this, and I like to think it’s helped my battery a lot more than having all 33 apps that requested it turned on.

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