Your Notification, Status, and Quick-Settings bars are pretty great at face-value, but have you ever wanted more? More customization options, more widget and app options, more gestures? Maybe you would like a tidier Notification bar, or to hide it altogether. You have far more options at your fingertips than you might realize.
Android 7.0 Nougat offers built-in customization of the quick settings bar, but actually, so does Marshmallow 6.0, however, the way you can get to the menu borders on secrecy. Whether you are still using Lollipop, as many of us still are, you can create more options for yourself; either through existing settings or by installing apps. You can have far more control over the top of your display than ever before.
1. Lollipop or Later
Lollipop’s notification system was actually quite novel when it came out, and even if you aren’t running a new OS, you still might not be aware of all it is capable of. For instance, when you press the Volume button (up or down—it doesn’t matter), you can choose from All, None, or Priority. If you select None, all audio notifications will be turned off, including alarms. All means you will be receiving every notification and Priority lets you be more selective.
If you want to schedule some temporary Do Not Disturb time, you can set the date and time by going to Settings > Sound & Notification > Interruptions. You can also specify whether you still want notifications from certain contacts, or from everyone. If it’s a custom notification tone that you desire, you first need to ensure that you have the necessary MP3 music file on your phone. Then use a file manager (such as Astro File Manager or ES File Explorer) to move the MP3 to the Notifications folder (typically under /Storage/Sdcard0) and go to Settings > Sound > Notifications to set your new MP3.
Download: Astro File Manager
Download: ES File Explorer
Also on Lollipop, you can hide the Status and/or Notification bar when, for example, you only want your kids to stick to a certain app on your phone. One way to do this is by screen pinning, which you can access by going to Settings >Security >Advanced, and then simply toggle the Screen Pinning option to ON. If, instead, you want to be able to move or open the Notification bar from anywhere on your screen, consider installing a different launcher. LauncherPro and Go Launcher don’t limit the Notification bar to one location.
Download: Go Launcher – Theme, Wallpaper
If you are a little underwhelmed with the gesture options for the Notification bar (swipe down is about it), check out an app called Status Bar Pro – Gestures.
This will open up so many more options in terms of gestures, such as:
- swiping right or left
- tapping and long-pressing to expand the Notification bar
- turning off the display
- going back to the Home screen
- accessing quick settings
- searching for and opening apps
- changing music tracks
Download: Status Bar Pro – Gestures
The Notification Toggle app creates notifications of your choice in the status bar to enable quick access to widgets such as Wi-Fi, Silent Mode, Flight Mode, screen brightness, or to any app on your phone.
Download: Notification Toggle
Also, if you would like a function history of all of your notifications and the ability to pin them, try Notif Log Notification History. There are plenty of ways to master your Android Notification bar.
Download: Notif Log Notification History
2. Mmm…Marshmallow + Apps for All Versions
If you have a phone with Marshmallow 6.0, you can access a top secret hidden menu with a System UI Tuner that will afford you many more options. From Quick Settings, long-press the Settings button (looks like a tiny gear) until it starts spinning. You should receive a congratulatory pop-up, advising you that UI Tuner has been added to Settings. Therefore, you will need to return to Settings to find the new option at the bottom of the list.
There is both a Quick-Settings entry and one labeled Status bar. You can add, rearrange, or delete quick settings, or enable or disable status bar icons.
Below these entries is an option to show a numerical representation of your battery life and Demo Mode, which declutters your Status bar by only showing a full network, Wi-Fi, and battery icon and the time. There is also an app you can use to achieve a clean Status bar on any version of Android. Clean Status Bar only shows the Wi-Fi, 3G, and clock icons for screenshots. If you root your phone even more apps and options will become available to you.
Download: Clean Status Bar
Not-so-hidden options in Marshmallow include the ability to quickly switch from sound to vibration alerts (press the Volume button and tap the bell icon that pops up) and enabling the Do Not Disturb mode (a button in Quick Settings). If you never cared for the long heads-up notifications from Lollipop, get rid of them in Marshmallow by going to Settings > Sound & Notification > App Notifications, choosing the app you are tired of seeing the heads-up notifications for, and toggle OFF Allow Peeking.
The Volume buttons will also allow you to use the Volume slider, which permits you to adjust media, ringer, or alarm volumes using the down arrow to the right. To always receive notifications from a specific app, go to Settings > Apps, tap the app, and either designate it as Priority or Block, respectively.
If you are a Gmail user you can use custom notifications for different types of emails or filter out the ones you don’t care so much about. You will want to create custom labels using the web-interface version of Gmail on your computer since the Android app doesn’t have the ability to create the necessary filters.
Train Gmail to Filter messages like this, by opening an email you want to set as an example, clicking the arrow icon, and selecting that filter option. Once the filter and labels are established, open Gmail on your Android, go to Settings, select the right account, enable Notifications, and choose Manage Labels. Select your label, then tap Sync Messages > Last 30 Days or All > Label Notifications and choose a custom sound or opt to use vibrations.
3. The New Nougat 7.0 / Rooted Options
Remember earlier when we were talking about clean status bar options being a bit more plentiful when you are rooted? Rooting is the way to master your Android Notification bar to the fullest. An example of this is iOS 8 Killer, although for this to work you also need to be running the Xposed Framework.
Download: Xposed Framework
Download: iOS 8 Killer
The Killer module shifts the position of the network signal and Wi-Fi to the left and show the custom carrier label. Just install and activate the module, download and active Xstana in Xposed, and set it to istyle. Warning: your phone will probably look a bit more like an iPhone after this.
Another Xposed module will allow you to customize your pull-down with gorgeous backgrounds. It’s called Zeus Contextual Expanded Status Header, and if you head to the Download section of Xposed you will find it there or you can follow our link below.
Download: Zeus Contextual Expanded Status Header
The background images automatically update throughout the day. XUIMod Top is a customization app that grants you the ability to fill the status bar with a gradient, among other things.
If you are one of the fortunate ones to already have Nougat 7.0, you might have already noticed your newfound ability to easily edit files in Quick Settings and the Notification bar. You also can handle your notifications in groups or on an individual basis, and now you even have an option to reply directly from notifications to emails or other messages.
If you don’t have Nougat and this is making you jealous, you can get a very Nougat-like experience by downloading the Android N-ify module from Xposed. The module lets you use the redesigned Notification, Quick Settings, and Status bars.
Download: Android N-ify
We hope that you showed your Notification bar who’s boss. Customizing the Notification bar can be a huge step in using your Android more efficiently. We’ve proven that you don’t have to be left out just because you don’t have Nougat. In fact, if you are willing to root your phone you can get Nougat.
How did you master your notification bar? Send us your thoughts.