Poly(aryl sulfone) as a typical membrane material has been widely used due to excellent mechanical, chemical and thermal stability. However, the inherent hydrophobicity of poly(aryl sulfone) based membranes bears with the fouling issue during applications, which makes the membrane tending to adsorb contaminants on the surface so as to result in decreased separation performance and lifetime. In this critical review, we give a comprehensive overview on characterizations of hydrophilic membrane and diverse hydrophilic modification approaches of poly(aryl sulfone) membranes, predominantly including bulky, blending and surface modification technology. The discussions on the different modification methods have been provided in-depth. Besides, focusing on modification methods and performance of modified membranes, the related mechanisms for the performance enhancement are discussed too. At last, the perspectives are provided to guide the future directions to develop novel technology to manipulate the hydrophilicity of poly(aryl sulfone) membranes toward diverse practical and multi-functional applications.