A four-part pixel notification transformation

Ah, notifications. I don’t know about you, but I have a kind of love-hate relationship with these things.

On the one hand, notifications can of course be useful. When an important email, text message, or Slack reminder notification pops up on my Pixel, it keeps me up to date with important notifications and (supposedly) important updates.

On the other hand, man: those same types of notifications make them almost damn impossible to get away off work – and/or family – and focus on everything else in our wide, wild world.

That’s why the Pixel’s always-on display option has never been particularly optimal for me. If you’re unfamiliar, Always-On Display is the feature where your Pixel gives you a dimmed view of the time, date, weather, and pending notifications on your screen all the damn time – whenever you are not actively using your phone. The screen just never turns off completely.

This feature is usually enabled by default, and most people seem to accept it without a second thought. Well, dear Pixel owner, I’m here to tell you there’s a better way. It’s a clever hack that gives you the same benefits as the Pixel’s always-on display, but in a more effective and less distracting presentation. It will make your phone meaningfully more useful – and more energy efficient too.

[Bonus tip: Check out my free Pixel Academy e-course to discover all the advanced intelligence lurking within your favorite Pixel phone!]


Part I: Your Pixel Notification Foundation

The secret to this cheeky little pixel improvement revolves around a clever little app called aodNotify. It’s free, with an optional $5 upgrade for some of its advanced features.

At its core, what aodNotify does is provide you with a subtle pulsing light on your screen to let you know when important notifications are pending. But it Even has the easily overlooked ability to create your own custom always-on display alternative that’s far more helpful and less distracting than what the Pixel gives you by default.

Pixel notifications: Always on display JR

Begin, Install the app on your Pixel – whatever Pixel model you’re using – and then open it. (And note, by the way: if you or someone you know has a non-Pixel Android phone, aodNotify offers separate versions of the app Select Samsung devices and OnePlus devices as well as a wider one Catch-all version this may work on certain other Android phone models.)

The app will walk you through a series of steps to give it the necessary permissions and get things up and running. Just know that (a) aodNotify doesn’t ask for it default System permissions, including the ability to access the internet, so there’s no realistic way of doing anything with your data even if you wanted to – and (b) the app is from a well-known and reputable developer who is very open about the software is Privacy Practices and his lack of shady demeanor. In other words, this is a trustworthy tool that is completely safe to use.

Once you’ve launched aodNotify, head into the main settings screen – because it’s about time we made a handful of important changes.

Part II: Basics of your pixel notification

The first thing we need to make sure is that your pixel notification basics are in place and set up correctly:

  1. From aodNotify’s main settings screen, tap the “Notifications” line (the text, not the toggle).
  2. Tap “Apps” and see the list of apps that have permission to turn on your snazzy new notification light. This is a simple but extremely effective way to select exactly what types of alerts you are allowed to interrupt and require your attention. Personally, for example, I don’t need notifications from an app like Google Photos to pop up on my screen and immediately grab my attention. Now, for non-critical apps like this, take a few seconds to make sure they are disabled in this section and thus separated from your new notification placarding setup.
  3. In the same “Notifications” section of aodNotify settings, tap on the “Battery” row and consider which battery-related events you would like associated with your notification light. I find it useful to check both “Phone is fully charged” and “Battery is low (15%)” as these are events that cause me to take a specific action in response (disconnecting my phone from the charger , in the first case and in the second case find a place to charge and/or shout out loud).
Pixel notifications: Aod Battery JR

got it Good. Now for the fun part – the precise pixel notification controls.

Part III: Your Pixel Notification Nuances

In this next part of the process, we’ll dive deep to configure exactly how your nifty new Pixel notification system will work. And don’t worry: it’s a lot easier than it sounds!

  1. Go back to the main settings screen of the aodNotify app and this time select “Notification Light” (again, the text, not the toggle) from the list of options.
  2. Tap “Style” and think carefully about how you want your new notification light to work. By default, aodNotify creates a soft pulsing effect around your Pixel’s front-facing camera cutout — you know, that funky little hole-sized shape you see in the top-center or top-left of the screen on newer Pixel models. If you have an older Pixel phone, the not If you have a camera cutout, you’re probably better off going with either the Screen Edges option or the LED Spot option.
  3. Return to the Style screen and select Effects to find the vibrant style you like best.
Pixel notifications: Aod pulse JR

Finally, we need to enable aodNotify’s always-on display replacement for your purty Pixel phone – the culmination of this thoughtful notification transformation.

Take a deep breath. We are nearly finished…

Part IV: Your Pixel Notification Station

Here’s how to activate your new and improved Pixel Always-On-Display replacement:

  1. Go back to aodNotify’s main settings screen and tap the switch to the right of “Notification previews” to toggle it to the on position.
  2. Next, tap the words “Notification Preview.” For full effect, make sure the first six toggles on the screen that appears next are “Show App Icon”, “Show Notification Info”, “Show Current Time”, “Show Icon Bar”, “Show Notification Title” and “Show notification text” – are all on and active.
  3. Scroll down and also check “Show contact pictures” if you want. It’s a nice touch!
  4. Last but not least, go back to aodNotify’s main settings screen, tap on “General” and then select “Don’t show” on the screen that appears. This effectively disables your Pixel’s default always-on display and allows aodNotify’s alternative to replace it. (If you ever change your mind and want to go back, all you have to do is adjust this setting or uninstall aodNotify entirely.)

And that’s it! Now every time you get a new notification and your phone isn’t actively being used, your Pixel’s screen will show the full notification information front and center for 10 seconds. It then flashes a subtle but noticeable pulsing light for two minutes. And then your screen turns off again.

Pixel notifications: Aod JR

You can adjust these times and make them longer or shorter if you like by looking in the “Notification preview” and “Notification light” sections of aodNotify settings. So if you want to show the full preview for, say, five minutes and then have the flashing light stay in place indefinitely until you swipe away the associated notification, you certainly can.

Keep in mind that your Pixel’s battery takes a hit every time your screen is used — admittedly a relatively small one, but all of those moments add up over the course of a day. The same can be said for the Pixel’s default always-on display setup. The only difference here is that she You have the ability to customize and control everything at an incredibly nuanced level.

And with that, your pixel notification transformation is complete. All that’s left is to sit back, relax, and let the notifications roll in—in a stylish, custom, and comfortably understated way.

Don’t miss an ounce of pixel magic. Sign up for my free Pixel Academy e-course and discover tons of hidden features and time-saving tricks for your favorite Pixel smartphone.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

https://www.computerworld.com/article/3651934/pixel-notifications.html#tk.rss_all A four-part pixel notification transformation

Fry Electronics Team

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