With Android Lollipop, the notification priority system arrived to little hoopla—users didn't want a complex system for the simple act of placing their device on silent. When Marshmallow came out, the priority system started making perfect sense. Android users wondered how this feature would evolve in Nougat. I'm here to say the developers have added just the right tweaks to improve the priority system in exactly the right ways.
One such improvement is the ability to prioritize individual notifications. Instead of it being "all or none" or "starred contacts," you can now set the priority for individual apps.
Say you want to set incoming SMS messages to not be silenced or blocked, but you want to silence all Facebook messages—you can do that. Or, you want to silently show the notifications from Twitter, Allow Phone and Email to notify you without any change, and you want to completely silent Facebook—you can do that, too.
How? It's very easy, which is another plus to the new priority system. I'll show you how simple it is to manage the priorities with Android 7, so you can finally tweak the Android notifications to your exact specifications.
Getting to the settings
When a notification comes in, if you slide it slightly to the right a gear icon will appear (Figure A).
Configuring Nougat priorities in a Verizon-branded Nexus 6.
When you tap the gear icon, a new popup will appear asking what priority you want to give to that particular app (Figure B). Tap Show Notifications Silently, Block All Notifications, or Don't Silence Or Block. Tap Done.
Configuring notifications for Facebook Messenger.
Certain notifications such as System UI notifications do not offer all three options. For example, the notification for screenshots only allows you to Show Notifications Silently or Don't Silence (Figure C).
Setting priority for a System UI notification.
Undoing a preference
If you set something for total silence, how can you change that setting to allow the notifications to come through? Simple. Go to Settings | Notifications, and you'll see a complete listing of every app you installed. Go through that listing, locate and tap the app you want to unblock from notifications, and then unset the Block All option (Figure D).
Unblocking Authy from the notifications.
Once you unblock the app from notifications, more options will be available (Figure E).
An unblocked app with more settings available.
Along with the regular priority features, you can also override Do Not Disturb for an individual app; this is a great feature if you happen to use a collaboration app with a team and need to ensure those notifications always appear.
Android keeps getting better and better
With every iteration of Android, the improvements continue to make the platform more flexible, more powerful, and more of a must-have—the priority system is a perfect example. No matter what level of user you are, Android can make your mobile life better, easier, and more reliable.
- Android Nougat winners and losers: Will your phone get an upgrade to Google's latest OS? (ZDNet)
- Android 7.0 Nougat: Small changes that make a big difference in UX (TechRepublic)
- How to delete photos from your Android device and retain them on Google Drive (TechRepublic)
- BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Policy (Tech Pro Research)
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.