How to Turn Off Desktop and Smartphone Notifications

Steve Glaveski
Steve Glaveski
Published in
2 min readMar 12, 2019



When it comes to productivity and effectiveness in the modern economy, anybody engaged on heuristic work — that is, work that isn’t algorithmic but instead requires critical thinking and creativity — can’t afford to compromise their attention.

Nowadays though, technology is paradoxically having a negative effect on our productivity, by making it increasingly harder to focus thanks to the advent of push-notifications on both our desktops and smartphones.

Fortunately, there’s one quick hack that can go a long way to getting back both your time and attention so that you can do your best work — simply turn off all push notifications.

Here’s a quick how-to for users of iOS, Android, Mac and Windows devices.

Smartphone Notifications


  1. Launch Settings on your device.
  2. Select Notifications.
  3. Select apps that you want notifications for (recommended: do this for all apps)
  4. Toggle the Allow Notifications switch off


  1. Launch Settings
  2. Select Sound and Notifications
  3. Select Notifications
  4. Select apps that you want notifications for (recommended: do this for all apps)
  5. Toggle to Block

Desktop Notifications


  1. Launch Apple menu
  2. Select System Preferences
  3. Click Notifications.
  4. Select News in the list on the left, then set options on the right. To stop all notifications, click None.


  1. Launch All Settings
  2. Click on System.
  3. Go to Notifications & Actions option on the right
  4. Locate Hide notifications while presenting option and turn it ON

For more on exponentially improving your output whilst decreasing the amount of time you spend at your desk, check out my HBR article, The Case For The Six-Hour workday.

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Steve Glaveski is the co-founder of Collective Campus, author of Employee to Entrepreneur and host of the Future Squared podcast. He’s into everything from 80s metal and high-intensity workouts to attempting to surf and do standup comedy.



Steve Glaveski
Steve Glaveski

CEO of Collective Campus. HBR writer. Author of Time Rich, and Employee to Entrepreneur. Host of Future Squared podcast. Occasional surfer.