As apps continue to grow more pro-active in how they communicate with users, the need to consolidate notifications sent by these apps is becoming more and more pressing. Smartphones have long had a unified notification system that allows users to review all notifications sent by apps and something similar is slowly making its way to the desktop. OS X has a notification center to match the feature of the same name on iOS, the Chrome browser has also streamlined notifications with its fairly new notification center, and Windows 10 likewise has followed suit. Notifications weren’t absent from Windows even as far back as Windows XP, they just looked really different. The new Windows 10 Notification center combines notifications and the charms bar into one very easy to use panel. Here’s what it can do.
The Notifications Center
To open the Notification center, click Notification the icon in the system tray. If it looks like a clear speech bubble that means you have no new/unread notifications. If it is filled out and white, it means you have new notifications.
Notifications are sorted by time under the head of each app that’s sent you a notification. At the bottom of the notification panel, you have toggles for the tablet and airplane mode, a button to switch to display settings, connect a device, manage Wi-Fi, VPN, and your location. You can also quickly open the Settings app. If you don’t see all these options (you likely won’t) click the ‘Expand’ option to view them all.
What can you do from the Notifications Center?
At present, the notification center lets you;
- View all notifications sent by an application
- Switch to an application by clicking on a notification sent by it
- Clear all notifications
- Toggle the tablet and airplane mode
- Toggle Wi-Fi on/off
- Open the Settings app
- Connect to a device
- Go to Location settings
- Go to VPN settings
- Go to display settings
What’s changed over the past builds?
The Notification center in its current state works much like the notification center in OS X. It doesn’t slide out and push the desktop to the left when opened, instead, it slides out over the desktop. In the initial builds, the notification center was a bit of a mess with notifciations not being sorted properly and often not reporting which app had sent the notification. Additionally, the notification center did not occupy one fourth of the screen as a slide out panel. It was only as high as the number of notifications it had to show. Before build 9926, the Charms bar was still a functioning feature so these toggles weren’t a part of the notification center. It is possible the Charms bar might not make a come back and that in future builds users will be able to bring up the notification center by mimicking the same swipe gesture that was previously used to bring up the Charms bar.