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Manage your Android notifications to minimise distractions

Published: Oct 5, 2021

Getting a push notification is just as distracting as responding to a text or call, a 2015 study found. While some of us don’t have the luxury of silencing our phones during the workday, we can choose which alerts to receive and which to disable to keep distractions to the minimum.

For example, notifications from work chats might be important to keep on; updates from a game, not so much. Here’s how to manage notifications on devices running Android 9  and above.

Manage notifications in general

Tap Settings > Notifications. Here are some things you can do:

#1 Customise Do not disturb

You can turn Do not disturb mode on and off, or tap in to set a schedule and fine-tune it.

When Do not disturb is on, sound and vibration will be muted, except for items you allow within the settings (e.g. alarms).

#2 Tweak Status bar

Tap in to tweak what’s shown on your status bar, for example, choose between showing all notifications, or only three.

#3 Toggle recent notifications

Under Recently sent, you can turn notifications on or off for apps that have recently sent you alerts.

Manage notifications for individual apps

  1. Go to Settings > Notifications.

  2. Under Recently sent, tap See all. From here, you can choose between: Most recent, Most frequent, Blocked and All apps.

  3. Tap an individual app to manage its notifications.

Settings you can change

  • Show notifications: switching this off will hide all notifications for that app.

  • Fine-grain control for other types of alerts: for example, a chat app might give you the option to toggle notifications for likes and reactions, individual and group chats, or chat mentions.

  • App icon badges: on or off.

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