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Android 14 will allow you to use camera and screen flashes for notifications
- Android 14 notifications can now sync with flashes from the camera or display.
- The controls appear within the Accessibility settings.
- You can even change the color of screen notifications, although not on a per-app basis.
Back in the day, the best Android phones had notification lights. These RGB spots would flash or pulse when you had a notification. You could even change the lights, so you knew what kind of notification was waiting for you just by looking at it. For example, you could have a blue pulsing light for Facebook Messenger and a white flashing light for emails.
Over time, the notification LED vanished as display bezels got too slim to house them. With Android 14 notifications, though, it looks like you’ll be able to at least somewhat replicate the functionality of a notification LED on any Android phone (h/t Mishaal Rahman).
In the second developer preview of Android 14, launched today, there’s a new control within the Accessibility settings. Called “Flash Notifications,” this new control flashes either the camera, display, or both when you get a notification. What’s more, you can even change the color of the display notification, with choices ranging across the color spectrum.
Unfortunately, this isn’t as refined of a system as we saw on old Android phones. You can’t set different types of flashes for different apps. In fact, you can’t even select the type of flashes at all. Other than the color-picker for the display flashes, there are no controls at all: it’s either “on” or “off.”
When you think about it, this makes sense. It’s an accessibility feature designed to help people who are hard of hearing know that they have a notification — even if they can’t hear it. Besides, there are third-party apps out there that can do a better job of re-creating the notification LED.
Still, the fact that this is baked right into Android 14 notifications is nice. For some, this will be enough to convince them not to download an app.
Of course, Android 14 is still in the developer preview stage, so there’s a chance this feature won’t make it to the stable launch. We bet it will, though, since it’s already active without needing to turn on developer flags.