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Tame your Android notifications with these 5 tips and tricks

Take control of your Android notifications and regain some peace of mind

Published onApril 13, 2019

Android 9 Pie review app notification icons status bar

These days Android notifications have gone from useful reminders to constant interruptions that have a real impact on your mental state. Whether you’re a big mobile gamer or a social media junkie, the barrage of notifications can be overwhelming.

Sure, you can always turn on Do Not Disturb mode, but at that point you might as well tuck your phone into a drawer and forget about it. It works, but it’s not exactly the most elegant way to manage notifications.

Fortunately, if you’re willing to invest a little time there are ways to manage your Android notifications and regain that peace of mind. Keep reading for our list of tips and tricks for taming your Android notifications.

Editor’s Note: the tips and tricks here were designed with Android Oreo (and higher) in mind. 

Block unnecessary notification categories

Notification categories were added in Android Oreo, and they are a powerful tool in managing app notifications. They allow you to mute specific types of notifications, such as group message notifications in Whatsapp, commute notices from Google, and so on. By blocking unnecessary notifications, you can be sure that when you do receive a notification, it’s something you want to check.

Accessing Android notification categories on Oreo and above

  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap Apps & notifications
  3. Tap See all (#) apps
  4. Select the app you want to modify
  5. Tap on Notifications

Note that there are two other ways you can change this setting. One is by tapping and holding on the notification itself when you get it, and the other is sliding the notification slightly to one side and tapping on the gear icon. If you accidentally block a category and want it back, follow the steps above.

Change notification behavior

Once you’ve decided which notifications you really need to get, you can change how you get them. By default all notifications will both make a sound and appear on the screen, but you can change this to something less distracting.

Follow the steps above to open a notification category and tap Behavior. From there you can remove the sound and have it minimized immediately. This will let you know you have a notification if you’re looking for it, but won’t interrupt whatever you’re doing on your phone.

Change notification sounds

If you are absolutely attached to audible notifications, there is an easy way to optimize how you receive them. By setting a specific sound for important notification categories, you can instantly know when something needs your attention and when it can be safely ignored.

Read next: 5 best apps for notification tones and ringtones!

Follow the steps above to open a notification category, then go to Advanced options, and tap Sound. Then, select a tone that’s already saved on your device or tap the plus icon in the upper right to create a new one. You can create a ringtone from any audio file on your device or saved to an SD card.

Eventually, you will train yourself to identify notification types based on sound alone. If you’re really into this concept, you can do the same thing with calls in the Contacts app.

Snooze important notifications for later

The most important notifications should let you know about something that needs to be done. However, it’s difficult and distracting to respond to a message right when you get it, even if you do have time to open and read it.

In these situations, it’s best to snooze the notification and deal with it later. On Oreo and above, simply slide the notification slightly to the side and release. Tap the clock icon and you can snooze it for an hour or more. This way the notification can also serve as a reminder.

If you happen to have one of Google’s Pixel devices, you may want to check out a new feature in the Android Q beta. It adds a small bell to new notifications, which should help you keep track of which notifications are new and which ones have been languishing in your status bar for ages.

Manage Android notifications Digital Wellbeing

Check Digital Wellbeing recommendations

If your device is running Android 9 Pie, you should have access to Digital Wellbeing in the settings menu. Here you can check your screen usage, number of notifications, unlocks, and so on.

The key information here is the number of notifications. By tapping on the number, you can see how many notifications each app sent daily, and quickly identify the trouble makers. You can even drill down and see the number of notifications received hourly by selecting a specific app. If any of those notifications were in the middle of the night, they run the risk of interrupting your sleep and affecting your health.

The Digital Wellbeing interface gives you several options to prevent this. One is to block notification categories, as mentioned in the first point above. The other is to turn on Wind Down, which is essentially a scheduled Do Not Disturb mode at night. You can set it to turn off when your alarm goes off, so you don’t show up late to work.

Any messages you receive while you’re sleeping can wait until the morning. Just consider getting out of bed and having breakfast before you check them!

That’s all for this list of tips and tricks to help you manage Android notifications. Have any more hot tips? Let us know in the comments below!

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