Do you really use the Windows Phone 8.1 Notification Center?

Notifications Center

Some may think this is a rhetorical question but there is a discussion going on in the Windows Phone Central Forums asking how much others are using the Notification Center with Windows Phone 8.1.

WPCentral Reader Blake Seaman presents the question and, not being not a social media user, found the Live Tiles were more than enough notification. Even pinning settings tiles to the Start Menu seemed to meet his needs.

The Notification Center may very well be the most asked for feature of Windows Phone 8.1. It not only gives you access to your most recent notifications but quick access to your Windows Phone settings. But, as Blake Seaman asks, do you really use it?

The responses in the discussion range from "very little" to "can't live without it". Some use it all the bloody time to check out banner notifications they have missed or easily access the settings. While the usage seems to vary, in just skimming the two pages of response I don't recall seeing anyone say the Notification Center is never used.

Personally, I no longer pin a Settings Live Tile and use the Notifications Center to access my settings and see the notification banners that I miss. I don't think a day goes by that I hear the notifications tone, grab my Windows Phone and as I turn it over to read the banner, it disappears. For me, the Notifications Center is an everyday tool for me.

So what do you say? If you've hopped on board with the Preview for Developers of Windows Phone 8.1, how are you liking the Notifications Center? Feel free to chime in below in the comments or join in on the Forums discussion from the link below.


Reader comments

Do you really use the Windows Phone 8.1 Notification Center?



Seems like a bad idea to have text messages read aloud.
Especially if it involves girls...

Strangely enough, I Don't use notification centre!
However it is useful for switching on/off Bluetooth. That's all.

It was THE most requested feature for WP, and now that it's out, you get people going: oh I don't use it!


Someone at MS is probably wondering what the hell is wrong with people.


I know I am, lol.

Same here. I don't use the live tiles that much anymore. Use the NC ALL THE TIME. So glad it's been added. Now all I want is the ability to interact with the notifications, like iOS8.

True. I use notification center. Every single time. Live tile for me is to show quick information like appointment and word of the day

still rely on them. but i use the notification center when i want to reach a specific notification, rather than opening the app.

I don't use live tiles for notification counts anymore, but I still find them very useful for weather and news apps.  

Live tiles are way less annoying, you don't have to constantly clear them to keep things you care about from being buried. The notification center's only good for things that you don't have on tiles like when apps are updated. And it's an awkward thumb stretch away instead of already being right in front of you.

I'm glad it's there for people who like it (did you get used to Android before or something?) but it's turning out to be as useless to me as I expected. The setting shortcuts rock though.

I agree. I use it for little other than locking rotation. For my texts I have Cortana read them to me and take my responses by voice.
But hey if it helps Android and iOS users transfer over to the best platform then more power to em!

I don't either, and this shows that live tiles, despite how good they look and how we don't like to admit, is an inferior solution to a simple notification center.

Used soooo much more than I thought I would use it. Toast notifications and the notification center are constantly used.
I understand using the tiles, but prefer the notification enter and toasts. But, its great to have the option of either.
Edit I also need and use the notifications on the lock screen as a quick double tap reveals incoming texts, emails etc. Then a quick flip of the notification centre for more detail. Many options here and I'm using them all, all the time.

I think the action centre is a must have BUT i think it works fantastic in combination with the live tiles. I use it for two reasons, 1: the quick toggles, 2: to check if something is important because you can see the first part of the message of WhatsApp s for example. I definitely find myself using it ALLOT less than on my android device. I still find live tiles as probably one of the most convenient features on any device. If i have to give a comparison, i use the windows phone action centre probably about 50% less than the android version, and it's not because the android one is better - at all- it's simply because the other 50% of the time my phone was laying face up, so i just checked the toast, or i got all the info threw the live tile just beautifully glaring at me with all i need!! Haha

I use it all the time it kinda makes the live tiles useless but I still prefer the windows os it is all around better. But it's nice to preview the messages that I missed but the notification center do that
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A must have feature, although I wish it knew how to wrap text. ESPN notification display only enough words to fit into one line and leaves it up you to guess the rest. The same for text messages, but at least one can go to Messaging App to read the entire text.

Hi all I feel action center is really nice feature to have but few things I found strange like , there is no option to switch on/off to mobile data(internet), u can't switch off wifi, then it won't show progress of downloading app just says 4 apps have been updated. I feel these things need to be improved what you guys say comments are welcome here

Yeah, I need the data toggle as well, but I think the WiFi toggle is actually a context based toggle, where if you're near an unknown WiFi and turn on the toggle, it brings you to the setting page to select which network, whereas you're near a known wifi signal, and turn on the toggle it'll just turn it on without going to the settings page. Likewise, if you're outside without a signal and turn off the WiFi, it'll just turn it off without going to the settings page.

X2 on this, even without social media I am constantly using it for emails, SMS, phone calls, etc. All live tiles give you I is one item.

I definitely can't live without it anymore... It's so great!! The only thing that sucks a little bit is that you only can have 4 quick setting "boxes" in action center except if you have a 6 inch display... It would be great if you've had the chance to add more quick settings... (sorry for my English)

True, it should give you an option to have a second row of buttons, especially since I never have more than two notifications since I mostly stick to live tiles that don't require an awkward swipe from the farthest part of the screen from my thumb to get to.

...or, rather than a second row...just have the single row that's there rotate through more 'tiles' the User defines maybe.


I use notification center to find out what I'm missing

my tile remind me that i have something missed so i'll open notif center


+920 +1520 +820      Live tiles are much better... i hate these Nokia fans because they said "we dont need NC, we have live tiles" Now when MS copied this feature from symbian, android, iOS etc. they all say "NC is the best" lol.

I still prefer Live tiles, I have better overview with them and Notification Center design doesnt look like "Modern UI" Its just copy paste from other platforms with suare icons pfffff

I appreciate your opinions, but disagree with you on almost every point. I am a Nokia fan that likes and use live tiles, but wished for a notification center from the beginning. Biggest frustration was disappearing toast notifications. Having a number on an email tile gives you no notification other than there is unread email. Notification center fixes all that, plus it gives you quick settings toggle, battery percentage and easy full settings access. As for your comment "just buy an Android or Apple", well that's just silly, I prefer WP.


Funny though, it's one of the very few components of Windows Phone which borrowed its name from good old desktop Windows and it's more popular on Windows Phone than the desktop.

Can you believe we had hundreds of nay-sayers saying "we don't need it, live-tiles are all we need blah blah blah"?!

I've been using 8.1 since the DP release; NC still just as useless as I thought it would be. The setting shortcuts are great though. If I liked the Android way of doing notifications (awkward gesture instead of the info already being in front of you on tiles) I'd have an Android.

it really is interesting how useful the notification center is in 8.1.  Credit to Microsoft for changing course on their "glance-ability" model and creating a truly useful notification/quick action center.  If they had half-assed it, we might all be singing a different tune today.

Notification centre is still not needed for me.. I hate the slowness. I am using l620 and looks ugly... And such small buttons to clear all and touch the notifications... Action centre is welcome but has lots to improve... I use more of my life tiles still

swipe right with two fingers and it will clear all notifications.  no need to fiddle with the small button.  Also, the notification center is definitely not slow on my Lumia 920.

+1 live tiles are better and more "Modern UI" Notification centre is just copy paste from other platforms...

I am the total opposite, I almost never use the notification screen, it feels redundant. What I would have prefers is if they had added in the charms from windows 8.1. You pull up from the bottom and search, share, windows, devices and settings would show up. Maybe a new phone charm also.

Nice idea. The could keep the NC for things that you don't want to miss and don't have a live tile, but give more real estate to shortcut buttons (add another row for 8 of them) and charms.

The reason I use the notification centre is only for quick toggles
Other than that, live tiles are there for me....!

Same here. I'll use the Action Center for quick settings, but only notification i really use is messages, which takes no less actions than launching from start.

Swipe Down > Tap Notification

Tap Start > Tap Tile

seriously--i use for the short cuts to wifi/internet sharing/bluetooth and for quick check in on emails.  I dont like the new facebook integration as still way too slow and notificatons via notification center for facebook are useless.  but for email, it is great to see if a specific person wrote back without going into account.

I preferred having my facebook/twitter notifications in my me tile. Im not a huge fan of it, but whatever, android and apple have it so I guess I'm fine with it..

yep, as is the notification center is useless for facebook because there is only space for like 4 words.  two of which are the name and so you dont know what they liked, commented, on, etc.  and then app takes a few seconds to load, etc.  I liked the old system of me tile way more for that.  i think acually te nokia X new notification system (ie sweep from side) is good for this...

That's literally all i use it for, to check who something is from, and make sure that it's not important. And oxide the quick actions. But honestly, i use it ALLOT less than on my android device

I can understand everyone who says that for her seeing numbers on the live tiles is sufficient information about incoming messages, apps that need to be updated etc.
I use NC, too. Daily!

It really matters to me.., infact it will be great if we can able to introduce a live interactive tile to respond and reply without opening the app after pinning to start screen. Something we can inspire from iOS and android L about "'interactive notifications"... What you say.

That was a touted feature for 8.1 in the months leading up, but it never materialized... Leaving us quickly behind the wave, as usual.

Yes! I remember the early builds :(

At least we know its internally there somewhere lol perhaps an 8.5 update. I am almost positive Microsoft is mastering the interactive notifications. They, like Apple, go over and over and over again each scenario until they think its different and almost perfect enough to release publicly.

Yeah, that used to be true and I loved that. This time though 8.1 is dropping publicly as kind of broken in a lot of places :-(

Well remember we are all using "developer previews" as they say lol I have yet to try a windows device with firmware + OS 8.1

But yes, we all hold Microsoft to high expectations when it comes to smoothness and responsiveness of the operating system. I myself wont be satisfied if 8.1 is any bit less responsive than 8.0 right now.

I use it all the time. My wife's Nokia 1020 is still on 8.0. Everytime I grab hers I find myself trying to slide down in the screen. A must have part of the OS. Should have been there from the beginning.

It's occasionally useful but live tiles do the job already and don't require awkward swipe gestures. One of WP's strengths has always been keeping things in reach of the thumb, but the NC is a page from Android's thumb-straining book.

The shortcuts are nice though.

All the time. From my lock screen pulling down the action center is the best way for mw to go straight to what I want to see. Its awesome.

It's redundant and requires an extra step if you're already at the start menu. It's slightly useful, but it's not necessary like on other platforms that don't have live tiles.

Notification center gives you more detail on what the notif is for. Instead of always having to open the app everytime. I dont know how I lived without it.

Hmm.. except there is no "start menu" in Windows Phone. Its called "Start" or "Start Screen".

Same mistake is made in the article by George Ponder.

As i already said. I use it more tjan I've ever imagined!
What i think is with the notification center there's no need of lockscreen notification..

I strongly believe the next iteration of the notification will have scrollable quick actions, scroll left n right :)

Yes! Music control! I always try to change music by pulling the notification center just to remember controls are not there...

Just hit a volume button and you will have full controll. I actually don't want music anywhere near it because at the moment it's beautiful and clean, putting music in there would ruin it. I like there current approach of having music controls with volume keys, it keeps everything clean and organised

Exactly...i just wish the controls stayed a second or two longer as when I'm driving, sometimes I can't hit ffwd quick enough when skipping songs...


Perhaps give users an option. Just like they ask if you want the artist to show on the lock screen as music plays, they can ask if you'd like music control to show within the dropdown notification center perhaps right under the quick action buttons have 3 simple buttons

I envy posts like this. Haven't gotten on 8.1 bandwagon. Waiting for the official rollout. But the notification center sounds amazing!

Because I am the type of person that could not stand OS instability. I know its still in beta, so it will be prone to get crashes. WP8 is stable enough. So I won't get frustrated. I don't want to be some people here complaining knowingly aware that 8.1 is still a developers preview. Does that calm your anger?

Well after taking advice such as yours I was left with no mobile data.....this is a Huge issue in the uk with some carriers ....seems like when ms are talking about working with carriers to get a stable os , they may actually just know what they are talking about. Your misconception angers me .

I wish the notification bar icon could exactly what type of notification you have, not the generic one icon for all notifications as currently being implemented

Exactly, one of many reasons why the WP notification center is a very poor copy from Android. On Android you can see what types of notifications there are without even opening the notification center. Worse even, this was a common feature of "feature" phones. Just like Glance.

Windows Phone initial design was based upon avoid having the motivation center since the live tiles give the result needed.

and it's a huge credit to Microsoft for being able to recognize the weaknesses of a live tiles compared to the notification centers of iOS and Android, and then to change course and actually deliver an elegant and useful notification center on Windows Phone.  Kudos to MSFT for sure.

what has been "dumbed down," in your opinion?  Nothing has been dumbed down because you can still do everything the same way as before with live tiles.  The notification center is an addition - it is a usability improvement.  It is an enhancement.  

The Start screen itself is a custom notification center.  Instead of expanding on that awesome idea and making live tiles interactive or show more information they give us an Android style pull down shade.  They basically gave in and added something from another OS instead of evolving their own OS to take advantage of it's strengths. That to me is disappointing.

The Live Tiles concept was a novel idea but it never evolved into anything as quick and as useful and a notification pull-down shade.  That's just the cold, hard truth.  Read through the responses to this story - the vast majority or responders love the notification center.  It makes everything faster.  It is true "glace-ability" - all of your toast notifications captured in a single well that is quick and easy to get to from ANY part of the OS.  You're deep in a game or program - still easy to use the notification pull-down.  Pulling it down half-way will even allow you to read your notifications without interrupting the app or game you're using.

It's a shame that Live Tiles never lived up to the hype - they never became what Microsoft promised,  The Notification Center pull-down is a elegant, useful, and extensively tested paradigm that microsoft has refined and implemented seamlessly into WP8.1.  Those of us who are power users defiitely appreciate the notification center for FINALLY fulfilling the "glance-able" promise of Windows Phone.

Please don't start with that elitist "power user" stuff. Not everyone jumped on the "WP must be fixed to be more like Android" bandwagon. Some of us wanted something original and better than that.

I don't consider pulling anything down from the top of the screen elegant, especially when you have a device with a 5+" screen.  It's awkward at best and unimaginative. There were other ways to approach this and they picked the most popular but boring way to do it. It is a shame they didn't expand on live tiles, I agree.

I think you make a good point about screen size and the notification shade.  I guess i hadn't thought about it that much because the Lumia 920's screen is very easy for me to use one-handed - even pulling down the shade with my thumb.  I can see how that would be awkward for larger screens and necessitate two-handed use, though.

WP needed to be fixed, though.  There's no doubt about it.  Maybe not by appropriating the exact same UI metaphors like the notification shade, but a notification center definitely was needed.  I like the way it has been implemented because it is familiar and proven.  Blackberry does things a little differently with their gesture-based OS and, well, no one really uses it.  Better for Microsoft to make the transition from iOS/Android to WP easier by implementing familiar gestures than to implement radically different solutions to the same problem.  Perhaps if MSFT becomes #2 or #1 in marketshare, they will have the luxury of being able to implement new and radical UI/UX ideas... until then, though, they need to focus on making the platform familiar to those who are switching from the dominant players.  It is what it is.

Yeah, I check the notification center every time I pick up a phone. It has already become a habit.

I use it all the time, whether it be responding to a message, or ignoring one, to switching on flight mode and more. I'm on the notification centre almost every time I switch on my phone.

Ever minute, every hour, ever day, all the time, more than often, it just part of the most used feature on my phone for sure, how useful it is for constant updates.

Most used feature of my phone. I've realized that title and first line of email is in 90% of the cases enough to see if I need to act on an email or not. Can't live without it anymore.

I still prefer tapping the email tile to the swipe gesture NC requires, so I do the same thing but in the email app.  I only use NC for rarer events; I get way too much email to want the NC cluttered with that.