How to Use the Notification Bar in Android

Notification Drawer

The notification drawer is arguably the most important and useful feature that Android has over iOS. Where Apple’s notifications area is primarily for viewing information only, Google has built in several contextually-driven actions that let you quickly and easily interact with these notifications and launch into the appropriate applications. This guide will help you familiarize yourself with the notifications area to make the most of your Android phone.

Notifications Menu

Notifications on Android appear in the top bar on your phone. A simple swipe down from the notification bar will pull up the full screen notification drawer, where you can view and interact with your list of notifications. If you’d like to dismiss a notification, simply place your finger on the notification and swipe to the left or right to get rid of it.

Some phones will have a button that lets you dismiss all notifications at once. In all cases, you can hide the notification drawer by dragging it back up to the top of the screen.

MORE: 12 Surprising Things Your Android Phone Can Do

Clear notifications

Several of Android’s notifications are contextual. For many applications, the notification at the top of the list expands to reveal additional actions you can perform. For example, when you receive a new Gmail message, a menu underneath the message lets you reply to the message or archive it with the tap of a button. If you take a screenshot of your device, the notification contains a share button so you can share the screen with friends. All expandable notifications can be opened and closed by tapping and holding on the notification, then dragging down to open or up to close.


Using these quick actions save you precious time since you don’t need to back out of the notification area to launch the appropriate application.

Quick Settings

In the newer versions of Android, a button in the top-right corner of the notifications menu will launch the quick settings screen. Depending on your phone, the quick settings menu will show different toggle buttons, but most will display buttons for phone brightness, Wi-Fi , cellular signal, Bluetooth, and Airplane mode, along with a shortcut to the full settings menu. These settings toggles will let you quickly and easily manage the settings on your phone to take better control of your Android.

Quick Settings

Email* (will not be published)
*Indicates required field
Submit Comments

All Product Types Accessories Cars Digital Camcorders Digital Cameras eReaders GPS Laptops MP3 & Video Players Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets / MIDs VoIP Wi-Fi
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS Averatec BenQ CTL Corp. Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Sager Samsung Sony Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 4 5 6 7 8 9
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1920x1080 1920x1200 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options