You’re very excited! You just downloaded a great game app that came highly recommended. The app is on your iPhone, ready to go and you can’t wait to open it up and start to play it. But when you open the app, you are faced with a series of questions.
The app wants to send you Push Notifications. “What’s that?” you may ask. You click OK and hope to start playing your game.
Then the app wants to use your Current Location. “Sure, why not?” you think. “Just let me play already!” You again press OK and start working towards understanding the rules of the game.
Eventually, you start to notice that your iPhone’s battery is draining faster than it did before. You need to charge the battery several times a day and your phone always seems warm. Apps crash more than they did before. You try closing apps, but your battery is still draining quickly. Now your phone is chiming in the middle of the night when someone challenges you on the game. What to do?
My advice: Don’t allow either Push Notifications or Location Services for your apps unless these features are useful to you.
What are these features?
Push Notifications are notifications that use sounds, alerts and badges to let you know that something is happening without your having to open the app. For example, with the DataMan app (See, Mind the Cap!) you can get alerts when you are nearing your data cap. This is a very useful feature of the app so you don’t have to open the app to check how close you are to going over your data limit.
You might want Push Notifications for your Facebook app to alert you when someone accepts a friend request or sends you a message. You might want Push Notifications from Twitter when someone mentions you or sends you a direct message. You might want Push Notifications for breaking news from a news app. There are many reasons why you may want Push Notifications, but there are many why you may not want them. It all depends on the app
Location Services use your iPhone to figure out where you are. You may want to use this feature for apps such as weather apps or an app that helps you find movie showtimes in your area. Or you may find it useful to have an app such as GasBuddy use Location Services to know where the closest gas stations are. Or you may just need your phone to help you figure out where you are.
Sounds great, why wouldn’t I want these features?
True, these features are great, if you need them. If you don’t, they can be annoying, use too much memory and drain your battery. Turn them off.
Oops. I think I might have hit OK for a bunch of these features I don’t need.
No problem. You can easily control these features by going into Settings.
For Push Notifications, click on Notifications and this will take you to the page where all of your apps with this feature are listed. You can turn them all off with one swipe or choose individually for each app. To choose notifications for an app, click on the app and you will be taken to a new page where you can choose which notifications you want for each app.
You have a choice for some apps of enabling Sounds, Badges or Alerts. I’m not a big fan of sound notifications for anything other than texts or phone calls. For anything else I want to be alerted about, visual notices are fine. Other than muting your phone at night, there is no way to be sure that you won’t get a sound alert during the night. I won’t tell you absolutely, under no circumstances, to enable sound notifications for an app, but that’s how I feel about my apps.
Badges are the little red circle on the upper right corner of an icon with a number in it. You might want to enable badges for notifications such as Facebook, news apps, store apps for special deals, etc.
Alerts are the pop up notices you get on your screen when your phone is sleeping and when you first turn on your phone. They won’t go away unless you click on them, so they can be annoying if they are not useful to you. Turn them off unless you need them.
To turn off Location Services, go to Settings => Location Services. You can turn them off with one swipe or choose for each application. If you see a purple triangle next to the app name, that means the app is actively tracking your location. You can also see the purple triangle in the upper right corner of your screen if any app is actively using Location Services.
Location Services can be battery hogs. They use a lot of juice to constantly figure out where you are. This can be very useful, so keep this feature active for apps you use a lot. But if you don’t need them, turn them off.
Take a few minutes to check on your app Push Notifications and Location Services to be sure that you only use these features when you need them. If you have apps that have these features enabled when you don’t need them, turn them off. You will save memory, battery and aggravation.
Do you use Push Notification or Locations Services for your apps? Do you find these features helpful or annoying? Let us know in the Comment section below!
(Note that this article applies to iOS devices such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch)