Skip to main content

How to stop Facebook and Instagram notifications from driving you crazy

Quick story time: A few weeks back I went camping out in the remote wilderness for the weekend. We were well out of my carrier's range and so I was unable to check on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for three whole days. When I got back into range of a cell tower, my phone exploded with notifications as expected.

I don't care that "so and so posted something for the first time in a while"!

But among the texts and emails, my Facebook and Instagram notifications stuck out to me. In my absence, no one had actually commented or liked anything on my profile — and yet I still received several notifications about "so and so posted something for the first time in a while" or "that old friend from high school who you barely ever talk to added new photos recently".

Social media notifications are supposed to be about letting you know when someone has commented on or reacted to something you've posted, but then there are all these other types of notifications that seem to serve another purpose — get you looking at your phone, opening up that timeline, and getting distracted in the never-ending stream of content.

The biggest culprits seem to be Facebook and Instagram (which Facebook owns). Naturally, I took to Facebook to vent about this issue, then dove into the app settings to see what could be tweaked. If you're getting fed up with these attention-stealing notifications but don't want to go the nuclear route and delete the apps from your phone, here's how to reel in social media notifications on the biggest culprits — Facebook and Instagram.

How to tweak your Facebook notifications

You're only able to tweak how mobile notifications are delivered via the Facebook app on Android, so tweak the notifications themselves, you need to log into Facebook on a web browser.

  1. Tap the down arrow in the top-right corner.
  2. Tap Settings
  3. Tap Notifications.
  4. Tap On Facebook.

This is where you can tweak the majority of things Facebook will send notifications for. By default, Facebook will notify you of all activity that involves you, whether that's someone tagging you in a photo or commenting on of your posts. If that's all you're after in terms of notifications, you can turn pretty much everything else off.

It seemed like the "Close Friends" notification was the biggest culprit for those random notifications about my friend's Facebook activity. Once you've gone through the Facebook notification settings on your computer, you can fine tune your mobile notifications in the Facebook app.

How to tweak your Instagram notifications

With Instagram, I only want to be sent a push notification if I'm tagged in the post of someone I follow, someone likes or comments on my stuff, someone follows me, or someone is trying to direct message me. That's it.

By default, Instagram will also send notifications if a Facebook friend has recently joined Instagram, the first time an account posts or adds to their Instagram story, any new feature integrations, and even reminders simply to check in on the app. Here's how to turn those ones off.

  1. From your Instagram profile, tap the menu button in the top-right corner.
  2. Swipe up to scroll down until you see Push Notifications
  3. Tap Push Notifications.

  1. Swipe up to scroll through the available notifications.
  2. Tap Off to turn off any notification you don't want to see

Instagram also gives you the option of only allowing push notifications from people you follow, which is good if you find yourself being harassed by spam bots. I'm still finding that Instagram is holding back notifying me on some likes for the sole purpose of getting me to check into the app. I'll check the app and see that three friends have liked a photo, then a half hour later I'll get a notification for one of those three friends. Hard to say if it's a bug or a sneaky way for Instagram to look at your phone but it's the one annoying notification quirk I haven't solved yet.

What notifications drive you crazy?

Is there an app that you use all the time that just spams you with notifications? Let us know and we'll look into helping you calm it down!

Marc Lagace was an Apps and Games Editor at Android Central between 2016 and 2020. You can reach out to him on Twitter [@spacelagace.

19 Comments
  • All great points. I've fought with tweaking Facebook notifications on my Android and in my Gmail. After finally neutralizing them there's one more thing you left out....LOG OUT from the apps after use.
  • I uninstalled FB altogether. Problem solved! 😬👍🏾
  • Same here
  • The mobile site works just fine. YMMV, but I never found any value in knowing the exact moment someone liked/commented/posted something.
  • You can have push notification from the mobile website if you use Chrome and if you don't close the tab.
  • Many websites bring up a pop up with "website wants to send you notifications", I select "No" to all of them. I don't have the need to know right now. I like reading things up on my own time.
  • These are examples of bad UX. Most people would say "no", if they from start get asked to receive notifications. But If you buy an airplane ticket, it makes sense when the site gives you possibility to be notified on flight schedule changes etc. Just because you run into really badly designed notification requests, doesn't mean it's not a good idea to use push notifications for the web.
  • I tried getting push notifications before, but got overwhelmed. My phone would beep every 10 seconds or so. For flights , I have only used 3 different airlines in the last 5 years. So, I have their apps installed. Also they sent my itinerary to gmail. Google Now gives me gate notifications when I'm at the airport.
  • What's worse is when I turn on a tablet or old phone that I haven't used in a while and I get bombarded with IG and FB notifications that have already been read on my main device.
  • I am getting blasted by Facebook, Instagram and others when I open my tablet every 3 days
  • Each time I log into Facebook it asks to share my location, even though the previous 10,000 time I said no
  • It seems like FB is getting desperate for views. I mean, now they're sending out notifications when someone you know simply posts something. Not a comment on your post, mind you, just that they posted anything at all. And then there are the notifications saying that you haven't updated your profile in x weeks. Well, if nothing has changed, why would I??? But the most annoying ones are event notifications, especially the ones talking about nearby events. I have enough going on that I don't need FB telling me about events that I have zero time or interest in attending. I'd turn those things off, but, naturally, it can't be done. And now FB is dredging up old posts from years ago. My guess is that they don't think there's enough interesting things currently being posted (they're pretty much right), so they must feel that bringing back old stuff will keep people reading.
  • Uninstall/disable the two spam apps. Peace restored. Let the narcissists (IG) and Grandparents (FB) play for themselves.
  • The only setting I need fixed is the one I can't: Facebook Messenger insists on playing its notification sound at full blare volume no matter what my phone is set to outside of vibrate. Fix that and I'm good.
  • Since I don't have fb or I stage and, I don't have those mercifully.
    I throttle all notifications from everything else though, only messages get permission.
    All others, I synch manually when I want to know if I have an email, Skype, whatsap etc..
    The beauty of Android is that you can tweak exactly how you want the phone to behave!
  • The only notification that I am looking for a way to "regulate" would be the constant reminder ping that my Gear S2's BT connected. Even if they never move more than 5 feet apart, at least twice an hour, the notification will pop up and 'ping' Your Gear S2 is [still] connected via Bluetooth. I get the reason why there is a notification when the BT connection is lost by range or something like that, but when I'm in my truck and the phone has been in it's cradle and the S2 securely on my wrist only 5 feet away, for hours on end, it doesn't need to remind me every 15 min or so that it is in fact [Still] connected. Just needs to tell me when I'm putting it back on my wrist after changing or when put back on after removing for whatever reason. That's sufficient.
  • Actually Instagram won't let me turn off "so and so hasn't posted in a while" and such
  • I don't use the Facebook app at all. Instead, on Chrome, I went to m.facebook.com once while signed in and selected Share to Home Screen from Chrome's Settings. I have SMS enabled in my Facebook account to alert me for a few select few people & actions. As for Instagram I have the app installed and it's set to alert me for a select few accounts who only post a couple of times a day at most. Also, I've set Notifications to Silent across all my apps in the phone's Settings menu for Sound & notification.
  • permanently delete your account: facebook[dot]com/help/224562897555674