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Android customization - Android Lollipop Priority mode and Interruptions settings

Android 5.0 Lollipop introduced us to Priority mode for sound and notifications. Today's Android customization looks at managing your Interruption and Priority settings.

Published onDecember 18, 2014

Last week in our Android customization series we took our fist look at a manufacturer specific feature, LG’s Guest Mode. The feature allows you to lock down your device so you can securely hand it over to someone to play with, it has its limitations, so be sure to check it out before you put it to use. This week, we’d like to look at a new set of options in Android 5+ Lollipop that allows you to, if nothing else, automate your device to be silent at bed time.

The feature is listed under the header Interruptions in your Sound & notifications main Settings. We’ll be looking at this on a device running Android 5.0.1 Lollipop.

Before we get started

The best thing about today’s project is that it does not require any fancy software to continue. Perhaps that is incorrect, with the somewhat slow roll out and relatively new release of the latest version of Android, that’s Android 5.0 and Android 5.0.1 Lollipop, many devices do not yet have the required OS.

If your device does have a stock Android 5+ Lollipop release, you are ready to go.

Android Lollipop with Google logo

Before we show you the required steps to continue, allow us to discuss exactly what Priority mode and Interruptions are and how they work.

As most of you are well aware, Android previously required you to manually adjust your audio settings, specifically your ringer and notification volumes, when you needed times of silence, like while you are sleeping, or at work (or both.) We have taken the time in the past to work with Tasker to automate these settings based on a set schedule, and now Android wants to do it for you, too.

Google has made it simple to get started with Priority mode. You have undoubtedly seen the option to turn on Priority mode, which you can quickly access by pressing your volume rocker buttons to change your ringer volume. You are presented the three options of None, Priority and All, along with your standard volume slider.

When Priority mode is turned on, only a certain set of notifications are allowed to fire through to disturb you. This brings us back around to that Interruptions section in Settings, which allows you to control what falls into the Priority category, and what is left silent during your sleeping hours. Let’s get started.

Configure Interruptions

Android Lollipop Priority Interruptions settings

Head on into your system Settings.

In the Device section, tap on Sound & notification.

Tap on Interruptions.

Now you get to make some decisions. The idea is to leave When calls and notifications arrive set to Always interrupt during your normal day. Then, use the Downtime settings to automatically go into Priority mode.

I have chosen for my Priority mode to only allow calls through, leaving Events and reminders as well as Messages silent. In the next section, I have configured it so that those incoming calls are only from my Starred contacts. Again, all notifications come through during daytime hours, but only calls from my starred contacts come in when set to Priority mode.

Automating the process is handled in the Downtime settings at the bottom.

Android Lollipop Interruptions settings

Tap on Days to set your required silent days. The wording is a bit confusing, asking for the days that silent mode starts, not the days that is should be on, if that makes sense. So, if you choose Monday to Friday, your device may wake you at 3am on Monday morning, because it is not set to go silent on Sunday night.

Tap on Start time and End time each to configure your bed time and wake time.

That is all there is to setting things up. Be sure to remember your way in here, if you are like me, you’ll be back soon to tweak things regularly until it is perfect. For example, I was awoken before my alarm this very morning by a wrong number, which is when I changed to allow calls from starred contacts only.

What’s next

As you have seen, the Interruption settings allow for just one set of on/off times. This means you will still need to take action to handle things completely. You could manually turn Priority mode on/off easily enough by pressing your volume button then choosing Priority, just remember to turn it back to All when your meeting, nap or movie is done.

Guess what? Tasker is once again your friend. Having just rolled out an update that includes the ability to set the Priority setting to one of the three options. Now, you can either use the system to control one set of silent times, or just go all out and use Tasker to do it all.

Android Lollipop Priority Interruptions none

One last word of warning, be aware that the None option of the Priority notification settings in Android 5.0.1 Lollipop also turns off the alarm. That’s right, not even our old Tasker alarm project works now, but don’t worry, I’ll go back and update it for you soon.

Next week

We have a bit of a special opportunity next week in our Android customization series, it will be Christmas day. This is the perfect time to head back to the basics of Android with a little refresher on how to change your Homescreen wallpaper. Perhaps we’ll be able to hook you up with some holiday themed wallpaper while we’re at it.

How is Android Lollipop’s new Priority mode working out for you?

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