Notification shade gets a redesign and tons of new functionality [Diving into Android N]

by: Jimmy WestenbergMarch 9, 2016
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One of my favorite parts about the Android operating system is the way it handles notifications. In Android N, though, the notification shade is getting a huge redesign and a lot more functionality. We already walked you through the new quick settings panel in N, but here we’re going to focus on the notifications themselves.

Note: Be sure to check out our Diving Into Android N series for more coverage!

For starters, the notification panel looks much different now. Instead of all the card-like notifications being separated by a small blank space, notifications are now displayed in a single white page separated by a small gray line. This allows it to look much cleaner and a lot less cluttered. What will perhaps help the notification shade look even better is that there’s a new API in Android N that allows developers to bundle notifications.


What does this mean? If you’ve ever received a handful of emails at one time, your device will put those notifications together in a single card in an attempt to save room in the notification panel. From there you’ll need to either swipe the notification away or tap it to launch into the application — hardly an elegant solution. This new API is here to fix that. The new notification bundling feature allows you to essentially unpack all those notifications so you can interact with them directly. Here’s how it works: Once you see a bundled notification in your shade, you can unbundle it by swiping downwards with two fingers. Then smaller notifications will appear underneath that, allowing you to take action on each one individually.

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In addition, you’ll now be able to reply to notifications directly from the notification shade, just like you can do now with Hangouts or Google Messenger. This one is pretty self-explanatory. Previously, if you were to receive a Hangouts message, you could press the Reply button and your device would open up a reply window, separate from the actual app. Now this functionality is getting brought to third-party applications, thanks to the new RemoteInput API.

What do you think of the new notification shade? Are you a fan, or do you like the old way better? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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  • John Doe

    Sounds like a great start for N

  • Santosh Kumar

    I wish they put the battery % next to the icon. I really miss the ‘close all recent apps’ with one click and reboot on power menu on stock Android.

    • Shem68

      Agreed. A few very simple tweaks that Google really seems not to want stock Android to have for some reason. It’s really annoying though…

    • Chris Pick

      I have it in my icon…. All you need to do is enable System UI Tuner (click gear in pull down menu – and hold it for like 15 seconds).. You should see System UI Tuner now in settings. go there, and enable battery percent %

      • Shem68

        Yeah no, it’s “in” the icon, it’s really small and often difficult to read when, for instance, half of the battery icon is still white (you know, i.e. when it’s half-full). And likewise the circle battery icon-thing is also small. They’re really nowhere near as convenient as having the battery % written in full size next to the damn icon like about every single phone manufacturer has done for over a decade, way before smartphones even existed. Evolution going backwards, in this case :/

        • Hel Thanatos

          I like my percentage in the icon :p

          • Shem68

            If you’re satisfied, it’s a good thing :p Unfortunately I’m not :(

      • Santosh Kumar

        Yes. And No :) % in the icon is not the best idea Google came up with. I switched to OnePlus for oxygen OS cuz it’s almost stock and they really figured out the missing pieces a Stock should really have. To switch the data off, you need two taps in Stock Android quick settings. I think it has to change. Huawei is doing good job with user friendly UI but they screwed up the launcher and lockscreen notification really really bad.

        • Paul Beau

          It’s one tap to switch date on/off with the android N beta

  • Juan S. Camargo Visbal

    The notification shade actually looks busier to me.

    • Fer

      Agreed. lots of stuff on a simple notification, it should just give you an overview of what is going on, not present you with tons of info.. you have the app for that! Also, the new design doesnt look so good

  • To be honest I think the Lollipop/Marshmallow designs were more visually pleasing, but what matters here is the functionality. I love the (even quicker) quick toggles on the top.

  • vmxr

    not sure if im the only one think font for texts and massages looks small

  • i_say_uuhhh

    I like it so far. Looks a bit cleaner.

  • Hel Thanatos

    Looks a lot more annoying

  • Neel

    Hate the 2 finger swipe, wish they kept it one finger

    • subm

      Then you will go to quick settings

    • Yeah, if I can’t do something on my phone with one hand, I consider that bad design (with rare exceptions). Maybe they can make it so you can long-tap with a single finger, then pull down.

  • Vincentius Phang

    still not as important as increasing battery life. Doze only gave extra minutes, we need extra days.

  • Finally each message can have their own notification while still grouped, but two fingers needed? Really? And I can barely identify end of one group and the start of the other… Something that was pretty clear on previous versions.

  • Sai Sreekantt M

    thank god….gone r d days childish looking android.

  • o totoro

    Noooo I like the card floating notification so much better as they make each notification more discreet and important.

  • jendrush

    What about permament notifications? Any changes? Great would be possibility to colapse all permament notifications into one.

  • saksham

    it looks so good !

  • rj

    App -> Drawer -> Home screen now everything goes to Notification shade and lock screen. whats next?

  • Bas Keetelaar

    Not sure if I’m a fan of the new notifications. The app it’s from is on the left, and the avatar or image is on the right. I’d rather have both on the left, like it is on M.

  • Herman Blume

    This looks terrible. Can’t tell where one notification starts and another ends. And a two finger swipe? Really? No thank you.

  • Deji Oladejo

    What i think android needs is to have the notificaiton shade framework that allows any developer to create their own implementation just like the launcher or the keyboard. This way google can have a “google notification shade” on the play store for anyone to download just like they have google launcher and google keyboard. The same should also be done for the recent apps menu. This way any phone could become stock by installing googles default apps.