Android 7.0 Nougat Tip: Master Notifications

Posted on August 31, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Android with 0 Comments

Android 7.0 Nougat Tip: Master Notifications

Anyone who uses a smartphone or other modern digital device knows that notifications can be both boon and curse. In Android 7.0 Nougat, Google has once again refined and evolved how notifications work. Here’s what’s new.

The basics are, of course, the same. Unread notifications can alert you via notification area icons, and you can view these unread notifications by pulling down the notification shade. You can also mark individual notifications as read by swiping on them to the right, and there’s a way to clear all notifications with a single tap.

But Android 7.0 Nougat adds a number of niceties that make notifications much more manageable than before.

Consider a very typical usage case: You’ve just received a new phone, have reset the OS, in effect doing a clean install, or have installed new apps. In each case, you begin receiving notifications you don’t want, and you spend time configuring things so that these notifications don’t appear at all, or are not as intrusive.

In previous Android versions, you needed to know a secret: You could press and hold on a notification in the notification shade to reveal a hidden menu with Settings and Info choices.

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If you chose the Settings gear, you would navigate to the notification settings for that app, where you could configure how notifications work or just turn them off entirely. The Info link navigated to the App Info display for that app where you could disable or force stop the app.

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In Android 7.0 Nougat, there are some subtle but useful changes to how this works. If you’re familiar with the aforementioned secret and know to press and hold on a notification, you’ll now be presented with an inline display where you can change how notifications for that app work. You no longer have to navigate to a different place.

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(Note that you can also tap “MORE SETTINGS” to get to the notifications settings for that app.)

But in a nice touch, you don’t need to know the secret to access this functionality. As you swipe to the right to dismiss the notification, you’ll see a Settings gear appear, right in the notification. And if you stop swiping and tap this gear, you’ll get the same options as shown above.

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Also new to Android 7.0 Nougat, multiple notifications from a single app are now bundled in a manner that is similar to notification stacks on Android Wear. That is, notifications from one app are grouped together. So if you just tap a bundled notification, the app will launch, as before. But you can also drag down on that notification card to expand it and display individual notifications. And then you can tap on an exact notification and go to that place in the app instead.

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Android 7.0 Nougat notifications also support quick replies, which are a way to respond to a notification event directly from a notification instead of context-shifting to the underlying app. Consider a text message (Messaging, Hangouts) or Skype message: Yes, you can still just tap the notification and go right to that app. But now you can also reply directly from the notification. In Skype, that looks like so:

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And when you tap that Reply link, you get the expected messaging experience, but without needing to leave the app you were already using: It all happens in-place, right in the notification.

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Put simply, Android has long has a full-featured notifications infrastructure, but it’s gotten even better—and more discoverable—in Android 7.0 Nougat.

 

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