Mute All iOS Notifications

Lex Friedman, writing about an iOS feature (or lack thereof) that has annoyed me for months as well:

Thus, what I’d like to see is the ability to silence notifications permanently in specific apps. I can envision a few ways configuring such a setting might work: The mute switch could appear in Notification Center, perhaps only if—as on Mountain Lion—you scrolled up past the visible top of the list; if you’re in an app when you visit that switch, it could optionally be a setting limited only to the current app itself. Another option might be a listing of all your apps tucked away in the Notifications section of the Settings app; you could select the specific apps on that list in which you never want alerts to appear.

Whenever I play a game on my iPad – especially one of those that require attention and precision like Fruit Ninja – I always wish iOS had a simple setting to “mute all notifications”. Do Not Disturb has been a nice addition to iOS 6, but it hasn't made silencing all notifications while a device isn't locked any easier.

I see some pros and cons for wanting a) a setting that mutes all notifications at once or b) one to selectively mute notifications on app-by-app basis. The latter is admittedly more intriguing in its promise of granular control over the kind of apps that can display notifications (in my case, I'd mute notifications in Fruit Ninja, but I'd leave them while I'm in Google Chrome); however, we've already seen how the iOS Settings app is already complex enough. On the flip side, while being easier, the more general “mute all” option could become annoying over time (what if I forget to turn it off once I turned it on? Do I have to open the Settings app every time?).

It's difficult to imagine how Apple can keep adding controls to the iOS Settings app without substantially altering its presentation, choices, or, perhaps more importantly, quick access. Better control over notifications is another aspect I'd add to my iOS 7 wish list.