Two kinds of notifications?

Hi folks!

A question has been nagging me for a while. Maybe you will laugh because it’s a stupid question, in which case I will eat humble pie.

See my screen shot below. There are notifications that are under the notification banner, and which get deleted when I tap that X. Then there are the “above the line” ones.

What’s the difference between the two?

They do both support the same swipe right and left options.


I can rule out that certain apps are treated differently because I can see one app’s notifications showing up both up top and down below.

Lock Screen notifications are notifications that have arrived since the last time the phone was locked. If you swipe up on the lock screen, you see the Notification Center with all of the notifications that were shown to you before the last time the phone was locked. When you unlock the screen and open the Home Screen (or the last app that was running before the phone locked), those new notifications are added to the Notification Center.

Thanks for that reply, @ddmiller. I think you’re on the right track in that the “above the line” notifications definitely tend to be the newer ones. But the details that you describe about lock/unlock don’t match what I’m observing.

But we may have some terminology to get straight first. Is what you’re calling “lock screen notification” the same thing iOS calls “notification previews” under Settings->Notifications->Show Previews?

In any case, there is no above the line / below the line situation when my phone is locked. The “Notification Center” banner with the (X), as shown in that screen shot, is not visible when my iPhone is locked (even though Settings->Face ID->Allow Access When Locked->Notification Center is checked; another mystery). I don’t have access to NC at all on my lock screen; just these “previews” of new notifications that have arrived since the last lock. So this issue doesn’t appear to have anything to do with the locking/unlocking.

Nonetheless, I did some testing.

  1. With my iPhone locked, I had my daughter send me a text. I then unlocked my iPhone (but didn’t read the text). Then I locked it back up again. The text message is still visible on the lock screen. It didn’t go away because of the lock/unlock sequence, the way you appeared to suggest.

  2. Repeating the above process with the phone Unlocked shows this new text above the Notification Center banner, and it stays “above the line” through a lock/unlock.

So, this remains a puzzle to me. And the two settings I mention here also leave me confused as to what they do.

There is. The Lock Screen shows only Lock Screen notifications until you scroll up, when it shows any unread older notifications in the Notification Center.

I believe that some notifications are persistent. I noticed I have an unread notification from the Reminders app that shows in the Lock Screen notifications even after I have unlocked the phone and then powered the screen back on again. I believe that Calendar notifications are like that as well.

Apple documents all of this here: Use notifications on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch - Apple Support

Aha, son of a gun. Yes, you’re right. You have to “swipe up from the middle of the screen.” Can’t swipe up from the bottom. And the normal way of getting your notifications, swiping down from the left, is apparently not the way to do it on the lock screen.

Thanks for that tip! Boo to Apple for obfuscation!

Reading that link, too. Thanks!!

I guess the main thing that still doesn’t add up for me here is the “Notification Center” banner dichotomy that I started the discussion with.

  1. Even things above the banner are “notifications”. Why don’t they belong under that banner?

  2. The (X) to clear all your notifications leaves behind everything above the banner. That’s more work left for me to do to clean up junk.

Ostensibly, the answer to (2) is that they think since the items below the banner are older that you’re more likely to be willing to wholesale discard them. But they’re still “unhandled” like the ones above the banner (otherwise there wouldn’t be a notification remaining at all). And as I pointed out, that status does persist through lock/unlock.

So, I still don’t get the dichotomy, and I find it confusing and annoying rather than productive.

P.s. Happy New Year!!