Have you ever been minding your own business on the internet, only to be interrupted by a notification promising “the latest news and updates” from the site you’re reading? Just click Allow. It sounds enticing, especially if it’s a website that you frequent, but what does this mean?
Just like websites can share articles on social media, they can also send their content directly to your browser through a push notification. If you allow these types of notifications to get through, it means you will be pinged each time that website sends out an update. These notifications have their uses (in moderation), but if you aren’t interested, it can quickly get annoying.
There are also notifications for when a website tries to use your location or wants access to your camera or microphone. If you don’t think you will ever want what any of these notifications are offering, there are ways to disable them or make them less invasive. Here’s what you need to know to keep these pop-ups in check.
Chrome allows you to turn web notifications off completely or mute them for a less invasive experience. Notifications can be managed under Settings > Privacy and security > Site Settings > Notifications on the web or Settings > Site Settings > Notifications on an Android device. iPhone users can merely turn off pop-ups under Content Settings.
By default, notifications are enabled, but that means every time you navigate to a website that sends out push notifications, you will get a pop-up message asking for your approval. If you want to turn off web notifications completely, turn this switch off.
But receiving absolutely no notifications may not be the best solution for you, since this will also include productivity-related notifications from Gmail and Google Meet. In this case, you can either soft block notifications or block and whitelist individual websites.
Chrome also allows you to turn on “Use quieter messaging” on the Notifications settings page to keep notifications but make them less invasive while browsing. With this setting on, a bell icon will appear in the URL bar when a message has been blocked. Click the icon to allow notifications for the current website.
If there are specific sites with annoying notifications you want to stop, add them to a block list, or keep everything blocked and only allow a few websites to send messages. Do this under Notifications by clicking the Add button under the Block or Allow sections and entering the URL in question. If you change your mind about a website, click the three-dot menu and remove it from the list.
If you’re looking for greater control over permissions, including location, camera, microphone, and anything else—which may generate their own notifications—backtrack to Site Settings and you can control permissions for all websites.
If this all feels too complicated, you can skip it and browse in Incognito Mode, which blocks notifications by default.
Firefox knows that users hate pop-up notifications, so it’s done something about it by only allowing websites to ask for your permission if you have interacted with the page in some way. Otherwise, a small notification in the address bar will allow you to permit or block notifications. There is also more than one way to manage notifications.
To control notifications for a single website, click the lock icon in the address bar, then select Connection secure > More Information to open the Page Info window. Click the Permissions tab and scroll down to Send notifications. If you wish to change the notifications settings, uncheck “Use Default,” then choose between Always Ask, Allow, and Block.
A far easier way is to open the browser’s hamburger menu and go to Settings > Privacy & Security, then scroll down to the Permissions section. Here, you can grant websites permission to access location data and the computer’s peripherals, as well as receive notifications.
If you enable Pause notifications until Firefox restarts, all notifications will be turned off until your next browsing session. For something more permanent, click Settings next to Notifications.
A menu will display a list of websites you have previously blocked or allowed directly from notification prompts. If there are items on the list that you wish to change, use the drop-down menu to switch between Blocked and Allowed, or you can remove them from the list entirely.
Check the box at the bottom of the menu next to Block new requests asking to allow notifications to block all new notification requests going forward.
Since Safari is an Apple product, you can manage notifications both in the browser settings and System Preferences. With Safari open, navigate from the macOS top menu and select Safari > Preferences > Websites > Notifications to view all the websites you have either allowed or denied notification permissions.
Use the drop-down menu for each entry to change permissions, or highlight a website and click Remove to delete it altogether. You can also uncheck the box next to Allow websites to ask for permission if you want to stop pop-up notifications completely.
Notifications can also be managed at the operating system level. Go to System Preferences > Notifications > Safari and turn off Allow Notifications to disable them completely. If you simply want notifications to be less annoying, customize how you wish them to appear.
Another option available to Mac users is Do Not Disturb, which will turn off all notifications for a certain amount of time. Head to System Preferences > Notifications > Do Not Disturb to customize how this will work. Click the Control Center icon in the top menu and select Do Not Disturb to turn it on quickly at any time.
Notifications on iPhone are a completely different animal. You can handle them through the Settings screen or Do Not Disturb.
Microsoft’s Edge browser is a lot like Chrome, so there’s a way to manage web notifications. Click the three-dot menu in the top-right corner and select Settings > Cookies and site permissions. Here is where you can control permissions for camera and microphone access, location information, notifications, and more.
Choose Notifications to find a page similar to what Chrome offers. By default, notifications are set to “Ask before sending,” which is what got you here in the first place. You can turn this off to eliminate notifications completely, or keep Quiet notification requests on to ensure pop-ups won’t interrupt your browsing.
If you choose quiet notifications, websites that try to send out requests will show a bell icon in the address bar. You can click this icon, then either click Allow for this site to get notified or Manage to open the Notifications page in Settings.
Individual website can also be added to the Block or Allow lists by clicking the Add button and entering a URL. You can also set permissions for a specific website, including notifications, by clicking the lock icon in the address bar and choosing Permissions for this site. Permissions can then be set to Ask, Allow, or Block.