Use Android's Priority Mode So Notifications Don't Wake You Up at Night

Illustration for article titled Use Android's Priority Mode So Notifications Don't Wake You Up at Night

Among the features rolled out by Google in Android 5.0 Lollipop was a new Priority Mode that lets you set 'do not disturb' times, times when only the most important apps and people can get in touch with you. It can come in useful in meetings, on dates, and when you're asleep. We'll show you how to set it up to ensure you won't get woken up until the morning.

The beauty of Priority Mode in Lollipop is that you can set specific apps or contacts that are allowed to interrupt your slumber (you probably still want to be available in case of emergency). In many ways it replaces the silent mode that's now mysteriously disappeared from Android (bring it back please Google!) though it offers a more customizable set of options.

It's important to note that Priority Mode only affects the sounds made by your smartphone. Messages and calls will still appear in the notification drawer as normal, but you won't get any audio alerts. It's not the same as just putting your mobile into airplane mode (another alternative if you want a good night's sleep). A star icon is shown in the status bar when you're in Priority Mode.

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Launching Priority Mode

The easiest way to activate Priority Mode is actually via the volume buttons. Start moving the volume up or down (when there's no music playing) and then tap Priority on the pop-up dialog that appears. You can then choose whether to leave Priority Mode on indefinitely (until you switch it off, in other words) or have it run for an hour. Tap the plus or minus buttons if you want to extend or reduce this time period (you can choose from 15 minutes up to 8 hours).

Illustration for article titled Use Android's Priority Mode So Notifications Don't Wake You Up at Night

If you don't want to set Priority Mode manually then you can schedule it. Tap the cog icon on the pop-up dialog or head to Settings, Sound & notification and Interruptions. At the bottom of the screen, select the Days option and pick the days of the week you want Priority Mode to enable itself; you can also set the times accordingly, so when you go to bed and when you wake up would be a sensible choice.

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Configuring Priority Mode

That's how to get Priority Mode on, but you can also set which events, apps and contacts are allowed to break through the wall of silence you've built. If you look at the Interruptions screen we've just mentioned, events and reminders (from your calendar), calls and messages can all be enabled or disabled. Note that any alarms you've set will always override Priority Mode settings, which is helpful if you want to be able to wake up in the morning.

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Illustration for article titled Use Android's Priority Mode So Notifications Don't Wake You Up at Night

When it comes to calls and messages, the default is to let through communications from anyone. Tap the Calls/messages from link and you can restrict this to just the people in your contacts list or only the contacts you've starred. If you choose the latter option, you can head over to the Contacts app to get starring. This 'VIP' list of people will then be the only group that can make your phone ring or chime in Priority Mode.

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App interruptions

Individual apps can be configured too, should you want to allow WhatsApp but not Snapchat to rudely interrupt your sleep. From the Sound & notification screen, choose App notifications and then pick the app you want to allow through the Priority Mode blockade. Tap the option marked Priority and your app of choice then has the right security clearance. You might want to double-check the notification settings inside the app as well to ensure they're correctly configured.

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Illustration for article titled Use Android's Priority Mode So Notifications Don't Wake You Up at Night

As with calls and messages, notifications from apps that you haven't cleared are still shown on screen as normal, but the audio alerts are disabled. You can also set your phone to show no interruptions at all from either the pop-up volume dialog or the Interruptions screen (tap the top option); this will block sounds from everything, even your alarms, so use with caution. It's effectively silent mode under another name.

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Priority Mode is best used for making sure you can only be reached in emergencies. If you don't want to be interrupted at all (in a meeting, say) then knocking the volume level right down to vibrate, using the no interruptions mode we just mentioned, or indeed switching your phone off completely is probably a better way to go.

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DISCUSSION

iOS has a similar feature called 'Do Not Disturb.'
You can set Do Not Disturb hours (I have mine set Midnight to 9am) and you can opt to allow calls from your favorites to be let through during that time, or allow for a call from the same number placed twice in a row to be let through (because then it's clearly important, unless you're my sister who ALWAYS calls right back if I don't answer).

You can also toggle it manually from control center with just a swipe and a tap. My favorite part is that, having it set to specific hours, if I turn it on manually at, say 10pm, it still goes back to regular mode at 9am, as scheduled (this same function may annoy others, but I like it).

To be clear! I am not trolling. I am not saying my phone is better than your phone or my OS did it first! Just offering up the iOS experience for the sake of comparison.