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What are Android Notification Channels?

Switch Android notification channels

Notifications have been an important part of Android from the start. However, they can be both a blessing and a curse. To help you fine-tune your experience, Android has a feature called ‘Notification Channels’. They make notifications a lot better.

As smartphones and apps have evolved, so have notifications. In the beginning, the notification controls were pretty simple. You install an app and you can turn notifications on or off. As apps became more complex, so did notifications.

RELATED: How to Pause Notifications on Android

Maybe you only want notifications for one specific thing about an app. Some apps have detailed notification buttons built-in, but not all. And you should also search the settings of that app, which may be organized in an unfamiliar way.

Notification channels are intended to simplify this process and give more control to users.

What are Notification Channels on Android?

“Notification Channels”

; were introduced in 2017 with Android 8.0 Oreo. The idea is that apps can group different types of notifications into ‘channels’. Each channel can then be turned on or off by the user. This is all done in the Android settings.

For example, let’s take a look at YouTube. Quite a few channels are available. You have “subscriptions”, “live streams” and “comments and replies”, just to name a few. If you just want to know about new videos from your subscriptions, you can turn off everything else.

YouTube Notification Channels
YouTube Notification Channels

Since all of these notification options are in the Android settings, the process is the same for each app. You don’t have to find where YouTube buries the notification settings and then look up the settings in another app, which can put them in a completely different place.

The other great thing about notification channels is the ability to tweak things as soon as they come in. Let’s say you get a YouTube notification for a live stream and you realize you don’t want to be notified. You can switch off the channel “Livestreams” right away and there.

Think of it like putting a nozzle on a water hose. Rather than just being able to choose between “On” or “Off”, you have much finer controls.

Disable notification channels from Android settings

There are two ways you can adjust notification channels. The first method is proactive, while the second takes action on incoming notifications.

For the first method, swipe down from the top of your device’s screen (once or twice depending on the manufacturer of your phone or tablet) and tap the gear icon to open the Settings menu.

swipe down and tap the gear icon

Then select ‘Apps & Notifications’.

select apps and notifications

Tap ‘View all [Number] Apps ”for the complete list of installed apps.

view all apps

Find the app for which you want to adjust notification channels.

select an app

Now select ‘Notifications’.

select notifications

At the top, you still get the option to turn all notifications on or off.

turn off all notifications

Below that is the list of notification channels. Depending on the app, there may be a large number of channels or none at all. Switch one of the desired channels on or off.

turn channels off or on

In addition, you can customize how these notifications present themselves. First, tap on the name of the known channel.

select a channel

Here you can decide whether you want notifications from this channel to ring or make your phone vibrate, be silent, or appear on the screen.

notification settings

Disable a notification channel from a notification

You should receive a notification for the second method. Once you have one, tap and hold it until the settings appear.

long press on the notification

Now select ‘Turn off notifications’.

turn off notifications

A menu will open highlighting the notification channel associated with the notification you just received. Turn off the switch.

turn off the notification channel

Tap “Done” when you are done.

tap done to finish

That is it! Notification channels allow you to actually dial in how you want notifications to work on your Android smartphone or tablet. Knowing if you find yourself getting annoyed by notifications is a great trick.

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