Have you ever wished you could see all of your Android notifications on your desktop, so that you didn't have to keep moving back and forth from device to desktop over and over again? Well, that time is now with the help of an Android and Chrome (or Firefox) 1-2 punch called Desktop Notifications. The one caveat to this is that you will see every single notification that appears on your Android device — even battery warnings (fortunately, you can filter what apps push notifications to your desktop). If, however, you really want to see those notifications on your desktop, this might be the trick you need.
To take advantage of this system, you must install the Android app and the browser extension. Let's walk through this process and then see how Desktop Notifications can be used to make your daily grind a bit easier.
To install the Android app, just follow these steps:
- Open the Google Play Store on the device
- Search for Desktop Notifications
- Locate and tap the entry by hcilab
- Tap Install
- Read the permissions listing
- If you're okay with the permissions, tap Accept
- Allow the installation to complete
Next, we'll install the extension on Chrome. Here's how:
- Open Chrome
- Navigate to the extension page
- Click the Free button
- When prompted, click Add
Now, it's time to connect the two. Follow these steps:
- Open the Desktop Notifications app on your Android device
- In the first-run screen (Figure A), tap Open Notification Settings
- Tap Desktop Notifications to enable (Figure B)
- Tap OK when prompted
- Tap the device home button and then re-open Desktop Notifications
- If necessary, tap the back button (upper left corner) to get back to the main window
- Scroll down to find the Connect string (a 16-character string)
- Click the Desktop Notification icon in your web browser
- Enter the code from the Android device
- Click Apply
That's it! Your notifications should immediately start appearing on your desktop.
Both the Android app and the browser extension have options (though most of the configurations are taken care of on the Android end). If you click the Desktop Notifications icon on your browser, you can hide the notifications (immediately, 8 seconds, 25 seconds) and you can enable a sound to play when a notification appears.
On your Android device, you can reach the app settings by tapping the overflow menu button (found on the Desktop Notifications main window). From the settings window, you can configure the following:
- Send notifications on Wi-Fi only
- Send title and content
- Send ongoing notifications (such as download progress)
- Filter apps (you can enable/disable apps that make use of the notification system — Figure C)
Desktop Notifications on a Verizon-branded HTC M8.
If you happen to leave your smartphone behind frequently, and you still want to get these notifications, make sure Wi-Fi only is turned off.
That's it. It's a one-trick pony that does its trick really, really well. If you'd like to leave your smartphone at home (or in your purse or car), Desktop Notifications is a handy tool that puts your notifications right before your desktop-gazing eyes.
What do you think about the Desktop Notifications app? In what creative ways could you use Desktop Notifications to make your daily routine a bit easier? Share your thoughts 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.