How to control Android Pie alarms and sound

Jack Wallen shows you how to gain control over your sound options in Android Pie.

Controlling Android Pie alarms and sound Jack Wallen shows you how to gain control over your sound in Android Pie.

Recently my Essential PH-1 was upgraded to Android Pie. It's great. Seriously great. In fact, Android Pie has been the best upgrade to the platform that I've experienced. And for the most part, it's been a very effortless transition from Oreo. There is, however, one aspect of Android Pie that has been somewhat of a learning curve. Sound. Prior to Pie, muting the device was simple: You pulled down the notification shade and tapped the Do Not Disturb button. That action would mute all sounds (unless otherwise configured in the Do Not Disturb settings). With Pie, it's not quite so simple.

In fact, the other night I was in the middle of something that demanded silence of all participants and, out of nowhere, the media on my phone started playing. I pulled the notification shade down (as I'd always done in such situations), to find the Do Not Disturb feature was on. And yet, the sound continued. It took me a moment to realize what was happening.

I want to show you how to gain control over that volume, before you find yourself in a critical meeting and the sound on your phone brings that moment to a screaming halt.

SEE: Job description: Android developer (Tech Pro Research)

Two locations for control

There are now two locations to control sound. The first is obvious, Do Not Disturb (DND). And you can still configure Do Not Disturb in the same fashion as you did with Android Oreo. Go to Settings | Sound | Do Not Disturb. In this screen (Figure A), you can configure DND behavior, exceptions, and schedule.

Figure A

Figure A

The Do Not Disturb configuration window.

Oddly enough, my DND configuration options didn't change between Oreo and Pie. What did change, however, was the addition of a second sound control. If you tap your device's volume control up or down, you'll notice a new pop-up (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure B

The new volume toggle popup menu.

From this new pop-up, you can do the following:

  • Mute sounds
  • Mute sounds and vibration
  • Control media volume
  • Open the Sound settings window

Here is where the trick is: Even with Do Not Disturb enabled, you might find that some media sounds will continue to play. If, however, you tap the mute button (the bell at the top of the pop-up) until you have completely muted sounds from this menu (Figure C), your Android device will finally silence.

Figure C

Figure C

Sounds completely muted.

What you'll notice is that you can have Do Not Disturb enabled (from the notification shade), and the sound pop-up mute button will still indicate sounds are not silent. You can also tap the mute button to enable or disable all sounds and vibrations, but the DND button does not change in the notification shade. If you find yourself confused, your best bet is to always go with the volume pop-up mute. With sounds muted from that menu, they will be silent--regardless of your DND setting.

The lesson

The only lesson here is that DND isn't quite as guaranteed as it once was. Yes, it still works and works well. However, now that there are far more sounds creeping into our mobile lives (such as advertising and more), you never know what might sound-off from your device beyond the boundaries of Do Not Disturb.

I've relied on DND for some time now, but since that one fateful meeting, I have now turned to the volume pop-up mute button. It's not quite as intuitive and flexible as DND, but it's more of a sure thing--and when silence is golden, that sure thing beats flexibility any day.

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Image: Jack Wallen