One of the main strengths of the Android platform has always been the notifications system. Sadly, some app developers seem to abuse it in order to spam you with promotional messages, enticements to fire up their app, and plain old pointless updates. The obvious answer is to uninstall the offending software, but what if it’s an app or a game that you enjoy using? There must be another way, right? Let’s find out.
Google continues to tweak the way notifications are handled with every new version of Android, and some manufacturers make their own changes, but these instructions should help you get a handle on those incoming alerts. We’re going to look at how to block notifications for individual apps in different Android versions, but there is a way to block everything and set exceptions that will still get through. In Android 6.0 Marshmallow we got a new mode to handle notifications and set times when they should be muted. Check out how to use Do Not Disturb mode to find out more about that.
How to turn off notifications in Android 8.0 Oreo
In Android 8.0 Oreo you get more fine-tuned control of your notifications than ever before. Tapping a notification in Android 8.0 Oreo will still open the app that sent it, but you can also swipe from right to left to close the notification.
If you swipe just part of the way from right to left you’ll reveal two icons. The gear icon gives you the option to block notifications from that app or game. You might see a simple toggle to turn notifications off for that app, with the option to tap More settings to jump to the app’s notifications page. Or you might get the option to tap All categories to see exactly what notifications that app or service sends and toggle them off individually. The clock icon allows you to snooze the notification and choose a time period to snooze it for.
To review and set notifications the way you want them for all apps go to Settings > Apps & notifications > Notifications > App notifications, then tap the individual apps and decide what notifications you want them to send.
You can also turn off all lock screen notifications via Settings > Apps & notifications > Notifications > On the lock screen and then Don’t show notifications at all.
Check out our Android 8.0 Oreo tips to find out more about this version of Google’s platform.
How to turn off notifications in Android 7.0 Nougat
In Android 7.0 Nougat tapping a notification will open the app or game that sent it, but you can also swipe right to left to close a notification. If you just swipe slightly from right to left, then you’ll reveal a gear icon on the right. Tap the gear icon and you’ll find the option to silence or block notifications from that app or game. You can also tap More settings at the bottom to jump to the app’s notification page and make further changes.
If you want to run through your apps and games and set notification rules all at once, then head into Settings > Notifications and choose All apps from the drop down menu. Tap on each individual app to access its notification settings.
You might want to delve into our Android 7.0 Nougat tips to find out what else it can do.
How to turn off notifications in Android 5.0 Lollipop and above
Google made some changes in Android 5.0 Lollipop to offer you a lot more control over the notifications you see. For the first time you had a dedicated notification section, and some real power to discern what you do and don’t get bothered by.
When a notification pops up in your notification shade you can simply long press on it to bring up a link to the notification page for that app via the “i” icon. It’s a shortcut to the app notification page, which you’ll also find listed at Settings > Sound & notification > App notifications. Every app is listed here and you can decide if you want to turn notifications off by toggling the Block option.
You can also use the Priority option to ensure that notifications gravitate to the top of your notification list and still come through when you’ve turned on Allow only priority interruptions via Settings > Sound & notification > Interruptions > When notifications arrive.
If you use a PIN, pattern, or password for screen lock then you can also set notifications as Sensitive, which will prevent the notification content showing up on your lock screen. For example, you’ll get a notification about a new email, but it won’t display any of the content in the email.
How to turn off notifications in Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and above
If you’re rocking Jelly Bean or KitKat on your Android device, then feel free to dance round the room in celebration. Your task is easy. The fact that Google worked in a system for identifying the app responsible and turning notifications off forevermore is a pretty clear sign that notification spam is becoming a problem.
When an offending notification pops up, simply long press on it and App info will pop up. Tap on that and you’ll be taken straight to the app management screen where you can uncheck the Show notifications box and free yourself from spam. It does mean that all notifications from that app will be turned off. As the warning states “If you turn off notifications for this app, you may miss important alerts and updates.”
You can also go to Settings > Apps and slide over the All tab and run through each app, unchecking that Show notifications box for anything you don’t want bothering you.
How to turn off notifications in older versions of Android
The horrible truth with older versions of Android is that you are at the mercy of the app developer. Each individual app handles its own notification system. To see whether you can turn off or customize your notifications you need to fire up the app in question and hit the Menu button. You should find a notifications option in Settings. There is no standard, so it could be anywhere, or it might not be an option at all.
Big apps like Facebook have a whole range of notification options so you can decide on alerts, vibrations, and choose ringtones, as well as dictating exactly what should trigger an alert. Some apps don’t have any notification options at all.
If you have the option to set a ringtone for your notifications within an individual app’s settings, then you can get around the main annoyance they cause, which is making you think something important has popped up on your phone. Set the same ringtone for nonessential updates and you don’t need to turn notifications off, but you’ll instantly know it isn’t that text you’re waiting for.
It is also a good idea to set different ringtones and vibrations for different things so you have a good idea whether it’s something you need to check or not. Most people have ringtone and vibrate for calls, and maybe just vibrate for texts and emails. You might find additional options depending on the phone you have.