Managing Android Phone Notifications


In this digital age, we have a lot of things competing for our attention. It can be difficult to stay focused on the task at hand when you’re constantly being bombarded with messages and advertisements on your smartphone. The average person gets 63.5 phone notifications per day according to research. If you’re stopping to check all of those notifications, you may feel anxious, stressed, or like you’re not getting things done in the timeframe you’d prefer. Getting a ton of notifications isn’t only an annoying daily distraction—they can also slow your phone down and drain the battery.

We’ve put together some options to help reduce the amount of distracting notifications you get. To get started, let’s take a look at the most common notifications you’ll receive and where they are stored on your phone.

Common notifications

Along with push notifications from apps, these are the most common notifications you will come across.

Notifications bar

The notifications bar is where all your notifications live until you either check the notification or clear out the list. You can access the notifications bar on your Android phone by placing your finger at the top of your screen and swiping down. You can swipe left or right to remove your notifications.

Do not disturb

If you need to temporarily stop notifications, the “Do not disturb” feature is a quick and easy option. Setting up your “Do not disturb” feature is completely customizable. You can manage what interruptions—if any—you want to recieve for a given time period. On most Android phones, you can access the “Do not disturb” feature by swiping down from the top icon bar.

App notifications

App notifications can be some of the most distracting. When you download a new app to your device, you’re also giving the app permission to send notifications to your phone. Most of the time these notifications are sent to remind you to take some action in the app, or some new information the app would like to share with you. You can reduce the number of app notifications you receive by managing which apps are allowed to send notifications from the Settings menu. You can block all notifications, limit the notifications from popping up on your screen, or stop an app notification from appearing on your lock screen.

Emergency notifications

The federal government has worked with cell carriers to send out alerts for emergency situations in your area. You’ll get an alert for three types of emergencies;

  • extreme threats to life or property
  • severe threats to life or property
  • Amber (child abduction) alerts

Under settings, you can manage which notifications you receive and whether you’re alerted by a ringtone, vibration, or spoken message. If you have a Motorola phone, go to your Settings, click on Sound, then Emergency broadcasts to customize these alerts.

How to recover lost notifications

Sometimes you may receive a notification that you deleted by mistake. If you want to view a notification that’s been removed from your notification bar, you have a few options to recover the notification. If you have a Motorola or Pixel device, you can find your lost notification in three quick steps.

  1. Find an empty space on your homescreen and hold your finger down until Wallpapers, Widgets, and Settings display towards the bottom of your screen.

  2. Select Widgets and scroll down until you see the Settings widget, then select Settings.

  3. Hold down the Settings widget until the Settings shortcut menu appears. Scroll until you reach Notification log. Select Notification log and an icon will be placed on your home screen where you can see previous notifications.

There are also several apps in the Google Play Store that will keep up with your notifications, just search “notification history” to find the best app for you.

Your turn…

Please share any tips you have for managing your phone notifications. What other phone distractions are you trying to reduce?

Research in 2014 showed the average person received 63.5 notifications a day. How much do you think that number has grown in 2018?

All screenshots were taken on a Moto G5+ on Android 7.1.1

Phone switches to silent for incoming calls

Wow! I didn’t know about the notification log. That shall prove very helpful for me.

You can also set notifications to not show when either the screen is on or off when Do Not Disturb is enabled. This is especially helpful when gaming or distractions are unnecessary.

The most annoying app for notifications in my experience is Failbook (Facebook), which can be adjusted in the app’s settings but is best blocked in the Settings app: the nuclear option.


I didn’t know about the notification log either! That’s awesome.

I used to get a notification sound, but had no idea what was causing it. I turned notifications completely off in the settings for a number of apps and it went away, but I never figured out what caused it.