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What's wrong with iOS notifications, and suggestions to fix it

iOS notifications have a myriad of problems. To say that iOS notifications are perfect and don't need changing would be an insult to other operating systems: I'm going to come and say right now that Android notifications are far superior to any other notification system in any other operating system, it is extremely polished in Android Oreo, and that that is an objective statement.

You might disagree with me. But let's start with complaints I have with iOS notifications, my solutions, and why it doesn't affect Android (or if it does).

Grouped notifications in Android

You can't group notifications by app.

If I am looking through 6 Facebook Messenger notifications, why do I want to see an ESPN notification in the middle of it? This is something I don't understand: group notifications by app was a feature available in iOS 8 and 9, and then removed with the iOS 10 update. Although you can bring it back with a tweak and a jailbroken iOS 10 device, there is no way to do this on iOS 11. In this way, not only is iOS lacking this feature, but they've actually regressed. A good solution would simply be to bring this feature back rather than try to reinvent the wheel. In this feature alone, iOS 9 was the best because it allowed you to choose between grouped by app and most recent notifications. On Google’s stock Android OS, I don't have this option, although I believe it's available on Huawei and Samsung devices.

Snoozed notification in Android O

You can't snooze notifications.

This is a big one. In order to keep your notifications less cluttered (and probably less like your inbox!) you'll probably want to snooze some notifications for later instead of attending to them now. On Android, you're able to snooze notifications for them to be hidden and show up again later (and can still access snoozed notifications!) so your notifications screen isn't as cluttered. In fact, although Google didn't add this until Android 8.0, Samsung included it in Android 6.0. Since you can't do this on iOS, it only adds to the clutter that is the notifications screen. A possible solution or implementation would be to use Force Touch a slide right. However, that would require a new menu, since there are already two buttons there, the menu would quickly become cluttered.

Adblocker can be paused from notifications

Notifications aren't interactable.

Ever since the introduction of Android 3.0, apps had the ability to include user interaction on their notifications. This means that a notification could be used to access more useful user shortcuts and menus (although with quick settings becoming open to third parties in Android 6.0, I would argue that such shortcuts would be better suited there than in the notifications).

Widgets in notifications, iOS 11

An example would be the ability to start and stop an adblocker at will (which I usually have in my quick settings, but I've put it back in my notifications for this example) or checking my weather, music control, or checking the weather. While I'll admit that Apple has definitely made strides in encompassing these features via the widgets pulldown, adding music controls into a notification card and moving the music control to the top of control center, I'm going to stand by my claim that notifications need to be interactable.

"Interactable" iOS 11 notifications

Why? Because having such notifications would be immensely more helpful. In iOS 10, in order to interact with a notification, you must swipe to the left in order to be met with two options: View and Clear. On iOS 11, you can also swipe to the right to be met an option that says Open. On devices that support 3D Touch, you’re also able to 3D Touch some notifications in order to see more options. Why can’t I tap notifications?

Android Nougat notification log

You can’t see past notifications.

Ever accidentally clear a notification you wanted to see, and can’t remember it? (Maybe you don’t, if you don’t use your notifications.) Well, on Android, you’re able to see notifications you’ve already dismissed or interacted with by going to Settings > Notifications > History. There, you’re able to see the notifications you’ve dismissed, as well as current notifications, timestamped with the time you received them. While this feature isn’t truly necessary (and I don’t use it at all), it’s another one of those small improvements that add to Android notifications being superior to iOS.

Now I know many of you might be wondering why I decided to compare iOS and Android notifications, and not any other notification system. It’s because I think most are pretty terrible, as the Windows UWP, macOS Notifications, and iOS Notifications all suffer from the same problem: that you can only see them by time. If these companies would simply make our notifications a little bit more useful, it would make our lives so much easier.

Thank you,

Gideon Tong