Understanding and Managing Android Notifications-Beginners Guide


Updated: January 23, 2017

Interruptions-disabledAndroid Apps can inform you of important events e.g. a new email,an App upgrade etc by using audio and visual notifications.

Some Apps (e.g.email) can generate lots of notifications, whereas others don’t generate hardly any.

However, all Apps seem to install with notifications enabled.

Although notifications can be very useful, they can also very annoying so in this tutorial we look at how to control them.

Visual notifications appear in the notifications bar which is found at the top left of the screen, and is part of the status bar.

android-notiifactions-area

To view the notifications slide the notifications bar down.

gmail-email-notification

Some applications let you do things directly from the notification bar.

In the screen shot above you can see that the Gmail App will let me reply or archive the email message direct from the notifications bar.

An update notification will let you update the application directly from the notification bar as shown in the Amazon update below.

Amazon-update-notification

To Dismiss a notification swipe it to the left or right.

To Dismiss multiple notifications press the menu bar icon notifications-clear at the bottom right of the notifications drop down screen.

Turning Off  Notifications

Notifications are managed on a per App basis.

How much control you have varies with the version of Android you have.

There is no global switch to turn off all notifications.

Go to Settings> Apps and press the App you want to manage.

You can disable notifications for the App by unchecking the check box.

disable-notification-app

Managing Audio Notifications

You can control the audio volume for all Apps in Settings>Sound and Notifications. or Settings>Sound depending on you Android version.

android-sound-notifications-control

You can also adjust the volume and select a ringtone for all notifications.

Some Apps also allow you to control audio notifications at the app level.

In Android version 5 and above you can also  use Interruptions to turn off or mute all audio notifications. See Interruptions below.

Lock Screen Notifications (version 5.1 and above)

Even though the screen is locked you can allow notifications to be displayed.

They are enabled by default so to turn them off go to Settings>Sound and Notifications under the notification section press when device is locked, and a drop down box appears, select Don’t show notifications at all.

disable-notifications-lock-screen

Notification Settings Inside Apps

Many  Apps have additional notification settings that make for much better control.

Gmail for example allows you to enable/disable them on email accounts and even message labels.

Gmail-notifications-settings

Interruptions

Because having your tablet or phone make funny noises when you are in a meeting or when you are asleep Google introduced the Interruptions feature (Android version 5 (lollipop))

Using the Interruptions feature you can turn off all audio notifications.

To manage Interruptions  go to Settings>Sound and  Notifications -> Interruptions.

android-interruptions

To turn off all audio notifications  press when calls and notifications arrive, and choose don’t interrupt from the drop down menu.

Then from the menu select the period you want to keep this setting .

You should notice a new icon in the status bar to indicate that they have been disabled.

Interruptions-disabled

Note: Visual notifications will still appear on the home screen and on the lock screen.

Summary

Notifications are an important part of Android, and let you know when something has happened.

Although they can be very useful they can also become annoying.

Fortunately Android gives you the ability to control notifications, however the level of control varies from App to App, and what version of Android you are using.

The interruption feature introduced in Android v 5 allows you to effectively turn off all audio notifications.

Related Tutorials and Resources:

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