Playing Cat And Mouse With App notifications

After being endlessly distracted and finding my attention span diminish, I decided to turn off most of the push app notifications on my phone. I thought that it would instantly make interacting with these services better, but I’ve found that Instagram doesn’t want you to escape so easily, and LinkedIn and Facebook have plenty of notification tricks to keep you hooked.


A few days after turning notifications off at the operating system level, I saw this message after opening the app. I dismissed it, thinking that it wouldn’t return but it did – about once a fortnight. Instagram is a bit clingy!

Solution: Re-enable notifications, then go into Instagram and open the notifications section, then you must select ‘Off’ for each type of notification. There isn’t a setting to turn all notifications off on the Android app — not sure about the Apple version.


Unlike Instagram, LinkedIn has an interesting trick via email. It shows the notification badge at the top so you can’t miss it.

Once you are logged in and looking at the notifications page, some of the notifications that are shown are uninteresting or useless. Work anniversaries? That has to be the lamest excuse for a notification ????

Solution: There’s nothing you can do about the number of notifications showing on email — unless you disable email from LinkedIn completely. Although you can change what notifications you do get, and are therefore able to reduce them to zero if you want. Go into the notification section, click on ‘View settings’ on the left. You will then find 6 different notification groups to go through. Again there isn’t a setting to turn all of them off.

This is just one list of notifications out of 6.


Facebook does something similar to LinkedIn — it shows a bunch of notifications that I don’t think actually qualify as such.

None of these ‘notifications’ should be notifications.

Then of course when the Marketplace got added there was it’s own unique notification for that. I’m okish with this, but only if I see it once. I have seen it at least twice.

Marketplace badge
The marketplace notification

Solution: Facebook is a lot harder to deal with. On the desktop, there are a lot of settings that you can tinker with to reduce the notifications that you get, but you can’t stop them completely. Further, with the notifications that I showed above from brand Pages, they need to be disabled at the page level (shown below), you don’t have a setting to disable all Page notifications.

This is worse with notifications that let you know about something that a friend has done. You can’t turn it off, your only option is to hide that one notification.

As far as the Facebook Marketplace goes, there isn’t any way to turn off that initial notification to visit that section and ‘discover’. All you can do is visit to make it disappear and hope that it never shows again.

So now you might be thinking, is it even worth it to turn off push notifications if this is what happens after? I think it is. I have definitely noticed that I have been more focused and less fidgety — although I still think I could improve more. As for what I’ve described above with Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, while they are annoying we always have the option of deleting these apps off of our phones.

Have you encountered any annoying ways that apps try to trap you? Feel free to tell me all about it in the comments below 🙂

This article is also available on Medium.


Nicole Commander © 2018. All Rights Reserved.