How to Manage Notifications in Windows 11

Notifications bell

Everything you need to know about managing notifications on a Windows 11 PC.

Microsoft’s new Windows 11 operating system brings new desktop experiences to users and a more Mac-like interface to the OS. It re-designed everything from the User Interface to Settings to the overall performance of the operating system. Windows 11 also features a new design overhaul with a centered Start menu, Taskbar, action center, and notification center.

The notification center also gets some major improvements, which have been redesigned with rounded corners and pastel shades. It is no longer located above Quick Settings in the Action Center hub but instead, it is now accessed from the date and time system tray icon at the lower right corner of the display.

Notifications help you to keep up to date on all things happening on your system, letting you know your important emails, replies, missed out Teams calls, Windows updates, etc. On Windows 11 devices, all these notifications are grouped together in the Notification Center. As useful as notifications can be, they can also be quite annoying, disrupting your normal workflow. So sometimes, it’s better to turn off notifications on Windows 11.

Windows 11 provides various options to customize the notifications to help you work effectively. In this article, we’ll everything you need to know about managing notifications in Windows 11, including how to enable/disable notification for all apps or specific apps, disable the alert messages, turn off notification sound, set notification priority, use focus assist, enable/disable the notification banners, and turn off suggested notifications.

How to View Notification on Windows 11

Whether it’s a new mail from your colleague, a new device has been detected, a meeting reminder, or software updates, you get notifications that let you know what’s happening on your Windows 11 PC.

When you receive notifications on Windows 11, they are displayed at the bottom right of the screen. The notification banner will be displayed for only 5 seconds by default before it automatically disappears to the Notification Center.

You can also see the count of notifications near the Date and Time icon. The count indicates the notifications from the number of apps or services. If you receive multiple notifications from the same app or service, it will still show the count as ‘1’. For instance, if you receive multiple emails to your default mail app, the count will only show it as a ‘1’ notification. The count will be two if you receive notifications from two different apps.

You can open the notification center by clicking the ‘Date/Time’ icon at the right-most corner of the taskbar or pressing the shortcut key Widows+N. The grouped notifications will be housed above the collapsed calendar.

Usually, most of the notification banners are automatically dismissed to the Notification Center after 5 seconds, but for some notifications, you have to either accept/open or close the notification to dismiss it.

Dismissed notifications would still be available in the Notification center. They won’t be cleared unless you manually clear them or open the notification.

You can click on a notification to open it in the respective app. If you want to clear the notifications, either click on the close button ‘X’ to close individual notifications or click the ‘Clear all’ button to clear all the notifications from the Notification center.

Turn Off/ON All Notification on Windows 11

Notifications keep you informed about the latest changes and developments, but sometimes, the endless stream of notifications can be overwhelming and annoying. So, sometimes, it is better to turn off all notifications on your Windows 11 pc to avoid all distractions. If you decided to turn off all notifications completely from all apps and services, follow these steps:

First, open the Windows 11 Settings app, clicking the ‘Start’ icon and selecting ‘Settings’ or pressing Windows+I, or right-clicking the ‘Start’ button and selecting ‘Settings’ from the overflow menu.

In the Settings app, open the ‘System’ tab in the left sidebar and select the ‘Notifications’ option from the right.

In the next Notifications settings page, turn OFF the toggle switch next to ‘Notifications’. Just click on the toggle to change it from ‘On’ to ‘Off’.

Now, you will not receive any notification on your system. If you want to receive notifications on your PC again, turn ON the toggle switch next to ‘Notifications’.

Turn Off/ON Notifications from Specific Apps on Windows 11

Turning off Notifications entirely can leave you oblivious to some of the important notification from your system like Windows update, event reminder, etc. There are times, you only want to enable/disable notifications from particular apps on your Windows 11 PC. In most cases, the manufacture apps, social media apps, and other apps like browsers can pump out constant ads and spam notifications. Disabling notifications from only those particular apps can help you focus on your work. This can be easily done in two ways – from Notification Center and Settings.

Managing Notifications for Specific Apps from Notification Center

You can easily turn off notifications from a particular app in the Notification center. But you’ll only be able to disable notifications with this method if you already have a notification from the app that you want to disable notifications for.

Click the Time/Date icon on the taskbar corner or press Windows+N to open up the Notification Center on Windows 11. Go to a notification banner sent from the app that you want to turn off notifications for and click on the ‘horizontal three-dots’ button.

From the list of options, click on ‘Turn off all notifications for *name of the app*’.

Now, you will no longer get notifications from that particular app.

Managing Notifications for Specific Apps from from Windows Settings

You can turn off/on notifications from any individual apps using the Settings app. To do that, open Windows 11 Settings from the Start button or by pressing Windows+I.

Next, navigate to the ‘System’ tab and click the ‘Notifications’ option.

Once you’re inside the Notifications settings page, scroll down to find the apps that you would like to disable notifications for under the ‘Notifications from apps and other senders’ section.

Here, enable or disable notifications for individual apps and senders. Once, you found the app you wish to disable notifications for turn Off the toggle next to the app listing.

This will stop all the future notifications from the disabled apps. Later, if you decide that you want notifications from those applications again, you can always turn them back on by following the same steps and turning On the corresponding toggles.

Disable/Enable Suggested Notifications on Windows 11

Microsoft often sends Windows tips and suggested notifications at various points as you use the operating system to advertise various Microsoft products and Windows features. They often appear as normal desktop notifications which can be quite irritating and distracting.

For example, you might see a notification telling you setup features such as OneDrive and backups or suggest you subscribe to Office 365 or Xbox Game pass, etc. If you don’t want to be bothered by these suggested notifications, follow these steps to turn them off on Windows 11:

To turn off the suggested notifications on Windows 11, first, go to Windows Settings by pressing Win+I. Open the ‘System’ tab on the left pane and select ‘Notifications’ on the right.

Scroll all the down to the bottom Notifications page, where you will find two checkboxes corresponding to “Offer suggestions on how I can set up my device” and “Get tips and suggestions when I use Windows”. Uncheck them both and you’re done.

Now, no more suggested notifications and no more Windows telling you what to do with your system. If you need help settings up your device or tip and suggestion from Windows, you can always enable the suggested notification by checking the boxes next to the above options.

Enable/Disable Lock-Screen Notifications on Windows 11

By default, Windows 11 shows notifications content on the lock screen. But sometimes, it’s a bit of privacy exposure, because people can see the content of a social media app or message notification on your lock screen. So, if you would like a clean look on your locked screen, you can hide notifications on the lock screen using settings. Here’s how:

Open Settings, and go to System > Notifications as we showed in the previous sections. On the Notifications settings page, click on the Notification drop-down menu (not the toggle).

This will reveal to you a few options under the ‘Notification’ option. Now, uncheck the box corresponding to ‘Show notifications on the lock screen’. This will disable all the notifications on the lock screen.

Checking the box corresponding to ‘Show notifications on the lock screen’ again will re-enable the notifications on the lock screen.

Disable Lock-screen Notifications for Specific App/Apps

In case you only want to hide notifications from particular apps (like Messenger, Skype, Mail, etc.) on the lock screen, you can do that too.

Under the ‘Notifications from app and other senders’ section on the Notification settings, you can find a list of apps with permission to display notifications on the lock screen. Just select app/apps from that you don’t want to see any notifications on the lock screen.

For example, if you want to hide the notifications of the ‘Messages’ app on the lock screen, just click on the ‘Messages’ app (not the toggle).

Now, turn off the toggle under the ‘Hide content when notifications are on lock screen’ option.

To receive notifications on lock-screen again, toggle the ‘Hide content when notifications are on lock screen’ option back to On.

Set Notification Priority on Windows 11

When working on important work, you probably don’t want to get distracted by every unnecessary notification unless they are very important. For instance, you may not want to miss out on any work-related alerts or notifications from your favorite social media apps in the crowd of notifications. In that case, you can set priority to specific programs or services to stay updated with every notification from those programs. Follow these steps to set notification precedence for specific programs:

Open Settings, and go to System > Notifications. Under the ‘Notifications from app and other senders’ section, choose an app you want to give priority in the notifications.

Once you open the app’s notifications page, you can set priority by selecting one of the options ‘Top’, ‘High’, or ‘Normal’. Set priority to ‘High’, if you don’t want to miss out on any updates from this app.

These priorities also determine the location of notification banners on the action center from the top.

Setting Priority from the Notification Center

You can also set priority for your favorite or important apps from the Notification Center to show alerts.

To do that, first, click the Notification/ Date and Time icon from the taskbar to open the Notification center. Here, choose a notification of a sender or app for which you want to set priority. Next, click on the ‘Settings’ icon (three-dots menu) corresponding to that app.

Then, choose the “Make <app name> high priority” option from the list of options.

Use Focus Assist feature to Mute Notifications

When you need to stay focused to get some priority work done or when you’re doing a presentation or using a second monitor or projector to duplicate your display, you might want to avoid interruptions at all costs. Then, you can use the ‘Focus Assist’ feature to temporarily mute notifications.

Focus Assist is a handy feature introduced in Windows 10 that still persists in Windows 11. It allows you to minimize or completely block notifications when you need to stay focused during a certain period of time. When enabled, it blocks notifications, sounds, and alerts to stay focused.   

Focus Assist feature activates automatically under certain conditions but you can also turn it on manually or control the conditions under which the notifications are suppressed. Simply put, it’s Windows’s ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode. Let’s see how we can use focus mode in Windows 11:

Turn On/Off Focus Assist from the Action Center

By default, the Focus Assist is set to trigger automatically under certain rules, such as when you’re playing a game, duplicating your screen, or using an application in full-screen mode. But you can also toggle ‘Focus Assist’ as per your need whenever you want it.

To do that, first, click the group of three icons (Network, Sound, and Battery) at the right corner of the taskbar next to the time and date or press Windows+A to open the Action Center. In the Action Center, you can see the ‘Focus assist’ moon icon as shown below.

Click/toggle the moon icon once to activate ‘Priority only’ alerts which only show selected notifications from the priority list of apps. You can customize the priority list of apps in the Settings, which we’ll see how in the next section.

Click/Toggle again (twice) to turn on ‘Alarms only’ alerts. This mode hides all notifications except for Alarms.

Click/Toggle the icon once more to disable the Focus assist altogether.

Turn On/Off Focus Assist From the Settings

You can also activate focus mode from the Notifications Settings. In the Focus assist settings page, you can also customize which notifications are allowed as well as during what time they are allowed.  

First, open Settings, and go to System > Notifications. Then, click on the ‘Focus assist’ in the Notification settings.

In the Focus assist settings page, you have options to choose focus modes as wells as options to customize the focus assist. To manually enable focus assist, choose a focus mode ‘Priority only’ or ‘Alarms only’ according to your preference.

When you select the ‘Priority only’ level, you can specify which apps are allowed to send nonfiction. To specify the priority apps, click on the ‘Customize priority list’ option below the Priority Only radio button.

In the Priority list settings, you can manage which notifications are allowed and other notifications will be dismissed directly to the Notification Center. By default, calls, text, and reminders will be notified even when Priority focus mode is on, but you can disable them if you want. Uncheck the boxes under the ‘Calls, text, and reminders’ section to disable them.

You can also add contacts to receive notifications from them when focus mode is active.

Under the Apps section, you can add or remove apps from the priority list. Click on the ‘Add an app’ icon to add the apps you want to receive notifications from. A ‘Choose an app’ pop-up will appear with a list of apps you can add to the priority list. Click on an app to add to the list.

To remove an app from which you don’t want to receive notifications, click on the app and click the ‘Remove’ button.

When you select ‘Alarm only’ mode in the Focus assist, it disables all notifications except for Alarms.

You can also control when you want to trigger Focus Assist mode with automatic rules using the options under the ‘Automatic rules’ section. You can enable the toggles as per your needs.

Enable/Disable Notifications for a Specific Period of Time

If you only want to control or suppress notification for a specific period of time, you can choose your times under the Automatic rules. Here, how:

Go to the Automatic rules section, in the Focus assists Settings page, click on the ‘During these times’ option.

In the During these hours settings page, first turn ‘On’ the setting, then choose the ‘Start time’ and ‘End time’ for the automatic focus assist using the drop-downs.

Next, click on the ‘Repeats’ drop-down, and choose from ‘Daily’, ‘Weekends’, or ‘Weekdays’ to repeat the automatic trigger.

You can also choose the focus mode (Alarms only or Priority only) from the ‘Focus level’ drop-down.

Turn On/Off Notifications when Playing Game

You can turn On or Off notifications while playing the game by toggling the ‘When I’m playing a game’ option under the Automatic rules section. If you want to change the focus level of this option, click on the option itself instead of just turning the toggle.

Then, click the ‘Focus level’ drop-down and select either ‘Priority only’ or ‘Alarms only’.

Turn On/Off Notification Banners on Windows 11

Notification banners are small messages that pops-up along the lower right corner of your screen when something happens (when you get a notification from an app) on your system. They come in many different forms and show the overview of the notifications, but they usually disappear after 5 seconds. And you can still find the notifications in the Notification Center even after they disappear from your screen.

Sometimes, you don’t want to completely stop the notifications, but rather just don’t want to see their banners on your screen while doing something important. You may want the notifications to be automatically dismissed to the Notification center without appearing on your screen, so you can check them out later when your work is done.

If you’d like to get notifications, but just don’t want the frequent notification banners to popup on your screen, then follow the below steps to disable the banners on Windows 11. Unfortunately, there is no universal toggle for disabling notification banners for all apps on Windows 11, you can only do this individually for each app.

First, go to the Notification Settings page by navigating to System > Notifications in the Settings.

Under the ‘Notifications from apps and other senders’ section, click on the app of which you’d like to disable the banners.

Then, uncheck the box that says ‘Show notification banners’.

You can also choose to turn off notifications in the notification center for specific apps by unchecking the ‘Show notifications in notification center’ option on the same settings page.

Change Notifications Duration on Windows 11

Usually, notifications are only displayed for 5 seconds on Windows 11. If you click/react on a notification within 5 seconds, it will take you to the app or service that sent that notification. If you don’t click on the notification, it will be automatically moved to Notifications Center, where it will remain until you act on it or clear it.

First, open the Windows Settings app. In the Settings app, click the ‘Accessibility’ tab on the left sidebar and select the ‘Visual effects’ option on the right.

In the Visual effects page, you will see the ‘Dismiss notifications after this amount of time’ option with a drop-down which is set to ‘5 seconds’, by default.

To change the duration for displaying notifications, click on that drop-down and select a time of your choice. Here, we’re setting the time to ’30 seconds’.

Turn On/Off Notification Sounds on Windows 11

Sometimes, we probably don’t even notice the notifications banners that pops-up at the corner of our screen, but it’s the constant alert sound that really bothers us and disturbs our work. In cases like this, you can mute notifications through Notification settings. Here’s how:

Open the Notification Settings page and click on the ‘Notifications’ drop-down menu. Then, uncheck the checkbox for – ‘Allow notifications to play sounds’.

Now, you won’t hear any sounds for any kind of notifications.

If you want to disable notification sounds for a specific app or sender, click on that specific app for which you want to mute notification sounds under the ‘Notifications from apps and other senders’ section.

Then, turn Off the toggle under ‘Play a sound when a notification arrives’.

You can also mute notifications temporarily using the Focus assist feature while still filtering alarms or anything deemed high priority. 

Show/Hide Notification Badges on Taskbar Icons in Windows 11

Badges are the tiny counters on an app’s icon that notify you whenever there’s something new in the app. Taskbar app icons like the You Phone icon or Mail icon can display notification badges that show the number of notifications or new messages/email messages in the associated app. If you want to know how to show or hide notification badges on taskbar icons in Windows 11, then follow these instructions:

First, open Windows Settings, select ‘Personalization’ in the left-sidebar and then click ‘Taskbar’ settings on the right.

On the Taskbar settings page, click on the ‘Taskbar Behaviors’ drop-down.

It will reveal a list of options. Check or uncheck the box next to the ‘Show badges (unread messages counter) on taskbar apps’ option to show or hide the badges on the taskbar apps. Here, we’re are checking the box.

Now, whenever your receive a new message or notification on the messaging or social media app in the taskbar, you’ll see a badge with a counter right above its icon indicating the number of unread messages or notifications in the app.

That’s it.