Our phones constantly demand our attention with notification sounds and vibrations. Don’t be a slave to your phone, cut out non-essential notifications and get more battery life.
Some people’s phones are never quiet for more than a few minutes and there is a beep, a chime or other sound to indicate that there is a new notification. There may be vibrations too and a brrr, brrr if the phone is sitting a hard surface like a table or desk.
Notifications are hard to ignore and you cannot resist looking at the phone to see what event has occurred. It might be something important, but probably wasn’t. Then you unlock the phone to access whatever the notification is about and you end up wasting several minutes of your time on something that probably wasn’t that essential anyway.
Not only do you waste time looking at notifications, it interrupts whatever task you were doing, which could have been important.
In this article I show how to take control of notifications and reduce them by eliminating unimportant ones on Android phones.
Unfortunately, there are many phones and many versions of Android in use. I will look at notifications in Android 7 on a Samsung Galaxy S6. If you have a different phone or a different version of Android, the menus and options may not be the same. However, you may find similar features on your own phone under slightly different menus. Explore your phone’s notifications.
Turn on flight mode
Putting the phone into flight mode silences all notifications and it is something I often do at night when I go to bed so it does not wake me when I am asleep to tell me that someone just posted a funny cat video on Facebook, or something equally trivial.
Flight mode has the added benefit of saving battery power. You get a good night’s rest and only lose 5% battery overnight. When flight mode is switched off, the phone will catch up with all the notifications, so you won’t miss anything.
Pull down from the top and press the flight mode icon, or go into Settings > Connections.
Turn on Do Not Disturb
Do Not Disturb mode disables notification sounds and vibrations, mutes calls and so on. It is useful for business meetings, at night, at the cinema and other places where calls and notifications are unwanted.
Go to Settings > Sounds and Vibration and turn on the switch next to Do not disturb. It saves battery power too.
Turn on battery saver
If your phone has a battery saver mode then enabling it will reduce the number of notifications. This is because background apps and services are suspended to save battery power. If they don’t run, they don’t produce notifications.
This does not prevent all notifications, but the phone is definitely quieter and less distracting. It saves battery power or course. Pull down from the top and tap the battery saver icon or find it in Settings > Device Maintenance > Battery.
Stop phone vibrations
Do you need the phone to vibrate on every notification? It can be useful with important ones, but it isn’t really needed for every notification.
Pull down from the top and press the gear icon or open the Settings app. Press Sounds and Vibration and then Vibration intensity.
On this screen there are sliders for vibrations and dragging the Notifications slider all the way to the left stops them. Incoming calls and other vibrations are unaffected.
Disable notifications for apps
Notifications can be turned on or off on an app by app basis, so you can have notifications from some apps, but not others.
Go to Settings > Notifications and turn off the All apps switch. Use the individual switches next to each app to choose whether notifications are shown. Notifications from Facebook can drive you crazy because there are so many, so I turn it off. Twitter is also off for the same reason. If I want to see what’s new in Facebook, I open the app and select the Notifications tab. This way I see notifications only when I want to.
The more apps you turn off, the fewer notifications will disturb you. Are game notifications essential? Turn them off if they aren’t.
Customise app notifications
Press an app in the list and there are four options for customising the notifications. At the top is a master switch to enable or disable notifications.
Show silently is an interesting one and notifications are displayed, but without any sounds or vibration. You won’t miss a notification, but you will not be disturbed by them.
There is an option to show or hide content on the lock screen and hiding content means that if someone else picks up your phone, they cannot see what the notification is about. For example, you could hide content for emails so someone else can’t read your emails without unlocking the phone. The notification is brief and without details.
There is an option to enable priority notifications for the app. This means that notifications are displayed along with sounds and vibrations, even when do not disturb is enabled.
You will not want to set this for many apps, but if emails or messages are important and you don’t want to miss them, you could turn on this setting.
Disable the LED
Does the phone’s LED flash when there are notifications? This is a useful feature and you can tell without waking the phone that there are notifications waiting to be viewed.
If it is distracting then the simplest solution is to place the phone face down on the desk or keep it in a bag or pocket. There is a way to disable it in settings too. Go to Settings > Display and there is a LED indicator off/on switch.
Disable notification reminders
If there are notifications that you have not looked at, the phone can pester you until you do look at them. This could be very useful or very irritating depending on your point of view.
Go to Settings > Accessibility > Notification Reminder and turn off the switch.
When this is on, there are options to alert you with sounds and vibrations every minute or at whatever interval you want. It could drive you crazy. However, there is an option to select which apps do this and you could limit it to just the ones you want.
- Written by Roland Waddilove
- Created: 22 August 2017