Turn off phone no­ti­fi­ca­tions in An­droid

BEN PAT­TER­SON ex­plains how to weed out the ran­dom calls and alerts, and fo­cus only on the ones that re­ally mat­ter to you

Android Advisor - - Contents -

So there you are, do­ing your best to con­nect with a friend over a cup of cof­fee, but you can’t help but no­tice the puls­ing alert on your phone’s touch­screen. What if it’s your babysit­ter try­ing to reach you, or a nasty email from your boss?

You sur­rep­ti­tiously un­lock your phone to see what the fuss is about—and just like that, you be­come one

of those peo­ple who can’t keep their hands off their hand­sets, even when there’s a flesh-and-blood per­son in front of them. (Oh, and that mes­sage on the screen? It was a promo for a half-off sale. Great.)

The good news is that your An­droid phone boasts a se­ries of tools that can help you con­cen­trate on the peo­ple who mat­ter, rather than be­ing dis­tracted by ran­dom calls, mes­sages, and alerts.

1. Let Do Not Dis­turb mode screen your calls

Yes, ac­ti­vat­ing Do Not Dis­turb mode for An­droid (flick down with two fin­ger­tips to re­veal Quick Set­tings, then tap the Do Not Dis­turb but­ton) is a great way to keep your phone from buzzing dur­ing lunch, but you may still find your­self tempted to check your mes­sages.

Here’s a handy trick: just set Do Not Dis­turb to screen your calls and text mes­sages, al­low­ing only the most im­por­tant ones through. That way, you’ll be con­fi­dent that your si­lent phone isn’t ac­tu­ally ring­ing off the hook with mis­sion-crit­i­cal calls, and more likely to pay at­ten­tion dur­ing your lunchtime chat.

Tap Set­tings > Sound > Do not dis­turb > Pri­or­ity only al­lows, then pick some op­tions. For ex­am­ple, you can set ‘pri­or­ity only’ to in­clude in­com­ing calls and texts from con­tacts, re­minders, event alerts, and re­peat call­ers. To re­strict call and text alerts to your in­ner­most cir­cle, make sure Calls and Mes­sages is set to Starred con­tacts only, then go through the Con­tacts app and star only those con­tacts who re­ally, truly mat­ter to you. Fi­nally, a Re­peat call­ers set­ting will al­low a caller to get through if they’ve called twice

within 15 min­utes. To en­able Pri­or­ity mode, flick down from the top of the screen to re­veal Quick Set­tings, tap Do Not Dis­turb, then make sure the Pri­or­ity only tab is en­abled. Fi­nally, sit back and give your full, un­di­vided at­ten­tion to a (grate­ful) friend. Note: An­droid’s ver­sion of Do Not Dis­turb boasts three dif­fer­ent modes: Pri­or­ity Only, which blocks spe­cific alerts for apps, calls and texts; Alarms Only, which blocks all alerts ex­cept for the An­droid alarm clock; and To­tal Si­lence, which blocks all alerts, no mat­ter what. While the Alarms Only and To­tal Si­lence modes will guar­an­tee you a peace­ful lunch hour, they may also block crit­i­cal alerts, calls or alarms. In gen­eral, you should stick with Pri­or­ity Only mode un­less you’re cer­tain you don’t want any in­ter­rup­tions, pe­riod.

2. Turn on alerts for Gmail’s Pri­or­ity In­box – and off for all your other in­boxes

If you’re not in­ter­ested in hack­ing iOS’s VIP alerts into your An­droid phone, you can take ad­van­tage of Gmail’s se­cret for­mula for de­ter­min­ing which mes­sages are most im­por­tant to you.

Us­ing your prior email­ing habits as a guide, Gmail’s Pri­or­ity In­box sifts through your in­com­ing mes­sages, finds the email that you’re most likely to an­swer, and puts them into an ‘Im­por­tant and un­read’ folder. Every­thing else (such as ran­dom email pro­mo­tions, news­let­ters, and other lower-pri­or­ity mes­sages) goes into the aptly-named ‘every­thing else’ sec­tion of your in­box. Once that’s done, you can set the An­droid ver­sion of Gmail to alert you only when new mes­sages

land in your Pri­or­ity In­box – and hope­fully, you’ll feel bet­ter about leav­ing your si­lenced phone alone.

First, you’ll need to en­able Gmail’s Pri­or­ity In­box fea­ture. Open Gmail, tap the menu but­ton in the topleft cor­ner of the screen, tap Set­tings, pick a Gmail ac­count, then tap In­box type > Pri­or­ity In­box. Tap Man­age la­bels, then make sure that Pri­or­ity In­box is the only Gmail la­bel with no­ti­fi­ca­tions turned on. (If you don’t see a Sound on, No­tify once or sim­i­lar tag next to a la­bel, then no­ti­fi­ca­tions are off for that la­bel.)

3. Turn off un­needed lock-screen no­ti­fi­ca­tions

So, you’re in a meet­ing, your phone is sit­ting du­ti­fully – and silently – on the ta­ble in front of you, and you’re giv­ing your col­leagues your full at­ten­tion. But then it

hap­pens: Your phone’s lock screen lights up, and your eyes can’t help but flick down to the dis­play ... which is noth­ing more than a ran­dom Face­book up­date.

Luck­ily, it’s easy to pare down your lock-screen no­ti­fi­ca­tions to an ab­so­lute min­i­mum – or turn them off com­pletely, even when you don’t have Do Not Dis­turb or Pri­or­ity mode switched on.

To keep your phone’s lock screen from light­ing up when no­ti­fi­ca­tions come in, tap Set­tings > Dis­play, then tog­gle off the Am­bi­ent Dis­play set­ting. Or, here’s an­other op­tion: Tap Set­tings > Sound > Do not dis­turb > Block vis­ual dis­tur­bances, then en­able the Block when screen is off set­ting. Do­ing so will keep alerts blocked by Do Not Dis­turb from light­ing up your phone’s lock screen.

You can com­pletely turn off no­ti­fi­ca­tions for a spe­cific app by tap­ping Set­tings > No­ti­fi­ca­tions. Tap an app, then en­able the Block all set­ting. You can also choose to show an app’s alerts silently, but re­mem­ber, even si­lent no­ti­fi­ca­tions can be tempt­ing.

An­other way to dis­able an app’s alerts is by long­press­ing its no­ti­fi­ca­tion when it ap­pears. When you do, you’ll get the chance to block its alerts or show them silently.

While you’re at it, you might also want to turn off your hand­set’s puls­ing no­ti­fi­ca­tion light—you know, the one that’s say­ing ‘Look at me, look at me’ all the time. Go back to Set­tings > No­ti­fi­ca­tions, tap the Set­tings but­ton (the one shaped like a gear) in the top right cor­ner of the screen, then tog­gle off the Pulse no­ti­fi­ca­tion light set­ting.

Just be­low the Pulse light no­ti­fi­ca­tion tog­gle is a set­ting that can dis­able all lock-screen no­ti­fi­ca­tions, re­gard­less of whether Do Not Dis­turb is switched on. If you’re will­ing to forgo any and all lock-screen alerts, tap On the lock screen, then choose the Don’t show no­ti­fi­ca­tions at all set­ting.

Gmail’s Pri­or­ity In­box sifts through your in­com­ing mes­sages finds the email that you’re most likely to want to an­swer

It’s easy to pare your lock-screen no­ti­fi­ca­tions down to an ab­so­lute min­i­mum – or off com­pletely

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