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How to create a distraction-free iPhone

One of the best things I’ve done on my iPhone is to heavily limit the amount of notifications that I allow. Although some coworkers thought I was crazy, I have completely eliminated email notifications. I’ve also cut down on the number of apps that I allow to send alerts and refresh in the background. Here’s what I’ve done.

Disable Push

Go to Settings → Mail → Accounts → Fetch New Data. I have Push disabled. I have every account on Fetch, and it checks hourly. This allows me to eliminate email distractions and save some battery life. I’ve done this for about a year, and I haven’t missed one important email. The reality is that if someone needs me immediately, email isn’t going to be their chosen communication method.

Disable push updates

Reduce notifications

I have also gone through the Notifications settings and made a lot of cuts. Go to Settings → Notifications to access this. Almost no apps get badges and most apps get nothing. I ask myself this question: Is there something this app can tell me that I won’t find out elsewhere (email, social networking, etc.) that I need to know fairly quickly?

Reduce background app update activity

I also went to Settings → General → Background App Refresh and disabled a lot of apps there as well. I have fast enough internet that I don’t mind waiting for an extra second or two while apps refresh their data after I launch them.

Reduce background updates

These are just a few ways that I helped cut down on notification overload and saved a little battery in the process.


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