Have you ever wanted quick access to turn off your Android device's Wi-Fi (or other services) but didn't want to clutter up your home screen with widgets or icons? If you've ever longed for such feature, I've found the perfect solution for you. With the help of an app called Notification Toggle, free from the Google Play Store, you can quickly toggle:
- Wi-Fi (turn off/on Wi-Fi)
- Bluetooth (visibility, tethering, settings)
- Connectivity (flight mode, NFC, mobile data, etc.)
- Sound (silent, vibration, music — next/previous/pause, etc.)
- Display (brightness, wake lock, rotation lock, etc.)
- System (GPS, battery, data usage, etc.)
- Other (flashlight, camera, alarm, etc.)
Each of the possible toggles are accessible simply by dragging down the notification bar and tapping the toggle in question. You can even add apps to the Notification Toggle or (by buying the $1.49 unlock key) shortcuts, such as direct dial.
Notification Toggle is an amazing little app that will go a long way to making your busy day more productive and simple. Let's walk through the process of installing and using it on your Android device.
As you've grown to expect from the Android platform, the installation of Notification Toggle is quite simple. Just follow these easy steps:
- Open the Google Play Store on your Android device
- Search for Notification Toggle
- Locate and tap the entry for Notification Toggle (by J4velin)
- Tap Install
- Read through the permissions listing
- If you agree with the permissions, tap Accept
- Allow the installation to complete
Once you've installed the application, you should see an icon on your home screen. If not, open up the application drawer and search for Notification Toggle.
When you tap the application launcher, you get access to the configuration options. Slide the welcome screen to the left to reveal the heart of the app (Figure A).
Notification Toggle running on a Verizon-branded HTC M8.
On this page of the app (there are five total), you add various toggles to the notification bar. You'll notice two columns of checkboxes. There are two toggle bars — first and second. The first toggle bar is on top, the second toggle bar is on bottom (Figure B).
Both notification bars in action.
You can also add apps to the Notification Toggle bars. Here's how:
- Open the Notification Toggle main window
- Swipe left to the third screen
- Tap add app
- Tap the apps tab
- Locate and tap the app you want to add
- Tap the device back button
- Tap the check box for either the first or second toggle bar (Figure C)
Adding apps to the Notification Toggle bars.
Notification Toggle also has a few notable options to examine. To get to the settings, tap the settings icon directly left of the overflow menu button. Once you're in the settings window (Figure D), you can configure the following:
- Priority for the toggle bars (to keep them at the top of the notification area)
- Status bar icon (select an icon for either battery level, battery temperature, or day of the month)
- Second status bar icon (select an icon for either battery level, battery temperature, or day of the month)
- Temperature unit (celsius or fahrenheit)
- Toggles per line (how many toggles to allow per bar)
- Collapse notification bar (collapse the notification bar only on a shortcut click)
- Brightness toggle values (the steps used for brightness values)
- Hide second notification (hide second notification on the click of a toggle or device shutdown)
- Keep flashlight on (keep the flashlight on, even when screen goes off)
- Alarm app (open alarm app with the alarm toggle)
- Music app (select default music app)
- Backup & restore (saves settings to SD card — if available)
As with any app, such as Notification Toggle, because of the variance in the Android landscape, not everything will work as you might expect:
- Not all toggles will work on all devices
- Depending on your device, some toggles will take you to settings (instead of toggling the action)
- If you have a task killer running, you'll need to whitelist Notification Toggle
- The app cannot remove the built-in notification toggle on Samsung devices (but it does work on these devices)
- If your device is rooted, you can install the app to /syste/app to gain direct GPS toggling, direct NFC toggling, and direct background data toggling
I'm a big fan of efficiency, and Notification Toggle goes a long way to helping bring that to the fore on your Android device. If you've grown tired of navigating through the waters of menus, app drawers, and apps to get to certain services/configurations, give Notification Toggle a try and see if you don't find yourself working easier and more effectively.
Is this the type of access you prefer on your Android device, or do you like sticking with the stock options? Let us know if there's another toggle or notification app that you prefer. Sound off in the discussion thread below.
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.