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

Google has completely redone the notification shade in Android N. What's new? Head here to find out!

Published onMarch 9, 2016

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.

Android N notifications AA 1

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!