Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

We Are Still in Notification Hell

Om Malik:

For some odd reason “apps” think that every “like,” “message” or “comment” is of life-changing importance and thus needs to be viewed instantly. I mean, if I wanted notifications, I would have turned them on. Like I do for iMessage and Telegram. Those are important and have a time-value attached to them. When there isn’t value, I don’t turn them on. And that is why I find persistent nudging to turn on dumb notifications annoying.

It’s not just how many apps want to light up your phone, but what types of apps seem to think they deserve that privilege. I’m looking through my Notifications settings right now and there are photo editing apps, wallpaper apps, online shopping apps, video streaming apps, and other oddballs that have been denied their request — or, usually, demand — that I turn on push notifications. Why would I want any of these apps to be able to buzz my phone or tap my wrist?

And then there are notifications that amount to little more than ads. Apps from the biggest companies are the worst for this — Steven Aquino received a spammy notification from Amazon, while Pinterest and Postmates send out all sorts of garbage. These sorts of notifications are supposed to be prohibited by Apple’s guidelines:

4.5.4 Push Notifications must not be required for the app to function, and should not be used for advertising, promotions, or direct marketing purposes or to send sensitive personal or confidential information.

But is Apple really going to take the Amazon app off the store or disable their push notification privileges unless they comply? I think they should, but I also don’t run a multibillion-dollar public company that has to deal with other multibillion-dollar companies.