Control Your Notifications With Android Marshmallow

Keep the distractions to a minimum


Android Marshmallow 6.0 featured the debut of Google Now on Tap as well as a few sanity-saving features. Marshmallow gives users better control over notifications and volume and makes your battery smarter. Here's how.

The information below should apply no matter who made your Android phone: Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc.

Managing Notifications

Ever feel like your smartphone is being a bit of a nag, distracting you from work and time with family and friends? If it were a person bugging you, you could put up a do not disturb sign. Now, Android smartphones have their own Do Not Disturb mode, which you can customize to your liking. Select Do Not Disturb from the pull-down menu, and you get three options: Total Silence; Alarms Only; and Priority Only. The first setting blocks all incoming calls, messages, and notifications, while the second one blocks everything except for alarms, that way you remain free from distractions, but you don't oversleep. The Alarms Only setting is a great way to prevent random, unimportant notifications from waking you in the middle of the night.

In the Priority-Only mode, you can choose what slips through including alarms, reminders, events, messages, and calls. You can select which contacts are allowed to call or message you in this mode and allow for emergencies, by letting through those who call you twice in 15 minutes.

You set Do Not Disturb to stay on until you turn it off, or set a specific time frame in hours. There's also what's called automatic rules, which you can create if you want this mode to turn on automatically at certain times, such as weekend, weeknight, or based on a specific event. It's one small way to take back your work-life balance.

Keeping the Volume Under Control

Second to notifications, the volume is another smartphone nuisance. Have you ever gotten off a phone call and launched a game only to have the game volume at a deafening level? Then, you turn the game volume down, but also mute all other sounds. Marshmallow gives you more granular control. When you adjust your smartphone's volume, you can access a drop-down menu for notifications, music, and alarms. This way your alarm can be loud enough to wake you, but your notifications won't jolt you out of your seat. Having a dedicated music volume is also important, especially if you're using headphones.

Give Your Smartphone a Nap

Finally, Doze mode sounds a bit like Do Not Disturb, but it's entirely different. Doze isn't a feature that you interact with; it's baked into Marshmallow. Doze puts your smartphone to sleep when it's sitting idle for a time, to conserve battery life. If you touch your phone or wake up the screen, you'll interrupt Doze mode, so it's likely in effect when you are sleeping, or any other time you're away from it for a period of time. This will prevent the "surprise your battery is dead even though you haven't used it all night" situation. Using Do Not Disturb mode will keep your smartphone from waking up too when it's unattended.

Have you upgraded your OS to Marshmallow yet?