Android 8.0 Oreo Feature Focus: Notification Dots

Posted on September 18, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Android with 28 Comments

Android 8.0 Oreo Feature Focus: Notification Dots

After making major changes to how notifications work in the previous Android release, Google is offering some nice refinements in Android 8.0 Oreo. Among them is notification dots, which are cute icon overlays that help you visually understand which apps have updates for you.

Notification dots appear as colored overlays or badges over an app icon when that app has a pending notification. These dots are colored-coded to the app icon, too, so a notification dot for, say, Instagram will use a different color than a notification dot for Google Play Store. You’ll have to trust me on that one, sadly, as my apps wouldn’t cooperate this morning:

Yes, these are all blue. But they can be different colors.

Note: Notification dots appear on icons on both the Home and Apps screens.

Notification dots do not replace the notifications that apps place in the notification shade at the top of the screen. Which makes sense, since you’d normally only see notification dots on those apps you’ve pinned to the home screen. Instead, they’re designed as an at-a-glance reminder that something has happened.

You can dismiss a notification dot in a variety of ways: By launching the app, by dismissing the notification(s) (or all notifications) in the notification shade, or by displaying the app’s notification preview and swiping the notification away. Because notification previews are also new to Android 8.0 Oreo, I will be discussing that feature separately soon.

Note: Notification dots can appear on a Home screen folder too. This indicates that one or more apps in the folder are displaying their own notification dots.

Notification dots are enabled by default. If you don’t like this feature for some reason, you can disable them globally: Navigate to Settings > Apps & notifications > Notifications and set “Allow notification dots” to Off. You can also configure whether any individual app displays this overlay. Just navigate to Settings > Apps & notifications > App info, find the app in question, and choose “App notifications.” Then, set “Allow notification dots” to Off.

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Comments (33)

33 responses to “Android 8.0 Oreo Feature Focus: Notification Dots”

  1. ben55124

    So android P will enhance the dot to an optional number??? I use nova launcher which shows badges with numbers through some unofficial means of divination (Tesla Unread). Having some official badge API is good, but limiting it to just on/off seems short sighted -- but that's my windows phone perspective.

  2. markbyrn

    Nice but most of the Android user base won't be using Android O anytime soon.

  3. Stooks

    Thurrot.com All Google...All the time.

    • Pedro Vieira

      In reply to Stooks:

      It's not exactly his fault.

      The mobile consumer market belongs to Apple and Google.

      Zero exciting stuff happening over at Microsoft. It's slowly morphing into the boring, enterprise dedicated company we fully expect it to be by the end of the decade.

    • Nicholas Kathrein

      In reply to Stooks:

      The tiniest harp is playing for you right now.


      Seriously is this Thurrot's fault or MS fault for not having anything mobile going on?

      • Stooks

        In reply to Nicholas_Kathrein:

        Nicholas you are total Google fan...just look at your post history it is crystal clear. I have no problem with that. I do wonder why you come to this supposedly Microsoft news site???


        To that point if it were only about Smartphones (his coverage of Google) but it is not. Recently I would say 50% of the content here is about Google products or how Microsoft software is on Android. His use and conversion to them. At the same time his bashing of Microsoft products gets more and more frequent. Which I am not totally against when it is warranted but it is getting a little too much IMHO.



  4. glenn8878

    iPhone already have this.

    • wocowboy

      In reply to glenn8878:

      Yes, the iPhone has had this for years, but Paul doesn't like the fact that they are red and that they show the number of updates or notifications each app has available for you. He has ranted against those dots since they were introduced. This is silly, of course. In Oreo, these are just dots, you have to actually go to each app to find out what is going on, take the time to do that so that they will reset. And they are color-coded to each app icon, Ooooooo! God forbid these notification dots stand out as a noticeable color or actually give you any information, like the number of unread emails you have waiting for you or the number of unread text messages, or some sort of indication of the important information the app has for you. That would be bad!

  5. Michael Rivers

    Maybe Android Z will have bigger boxes that display useful real-time information for each app instead of whack-a-mole icons.


    I just can't bring myself to be excited by this, having used Windows phone with live tiles. Even iOS has a number in the colored dot telling you how many notifications the app has. I guess this is better than nothing, but it's still sad.

    • mmcpher

      In reply to Michael Rivers: FFS Android, never mind the colors and get with the numbers! I try to arrange this with homescreen widgets but it just doesn't work consistently. The widget is either too large or doesn't update activity or doesn't refresh so that the number I get is like a running toll of new items from the day the app was installed, rather than since the last time I accessed it. Blackberry and Windows Mobile were both much better at this years ago.


  6. obarthelemy

    That's were I disagree about the widespread hate towards OEM customizations: I've had that feature for years, courtesy of Huawei, Xiaomi....

  7. ym73

    Did I miss something? Current android has a red dot and a number to indicate how many notifications each app has. How is this different? Just different colors to indicate if the notification is coming from the app or the app store?


    Maybe it's just the launcher I have. Does standard android not have this feature?

  8. ilovemissy85

    So you mean that Android will start doing what BlackBerry has done since 2004 , with notification dots.

  9. nicolaio

    nice iOS 11 wallpaper!

  10. john

    A welcome addition to Android. I miss the Windows Mobile Live Tiles too but that's a dead issue. Stop complaining about what the dots aren't.

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