In iOS 10, on the lock screen (or in the notification center), swiping up on a notification does nothing and to dismiss a notification you have to swipe left and tap "Clear".

On the other hand, when the phone is unlocked and you get a notification, swiping left does nothing and you have to swipe up to dismiss it.

I understand why swiping up isn't a valid gesture for the lock screen, because it would conflict with vertical scrolling when there are multiple notifications.

But I'm baffled why "swipe left" wasn't used as a universal gesture to clear a notification. Apple is usually good about design consistency, so I assume I must be missing some advantage of this design.

Is there a usability advantage to the current implementation where the most common operation with notifications (dismissing them!) requires a different swipe direction depending on whether the phone is locked or unlocked? If so, what is the advantage?

1 Answer 1


Scrolling pattern of that instant.

The percent of up/down scrolling is too high than left/right when you are on a unlocked screen. On unlocked screen a user is generally using some app/website meaning he/she is scrolling content up/down constantly, so the current finger flow is up/down. It could be an effort of not breaking gesture flow of that moment.

When you are on unlocked screen you mostly use the left/right gesture to unlock your phone. That's the mental model you have developed and I think Apple didn't wanted to break it.

I couldn't find any solid resource to support this, but this is my own opinion.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.