How-To Customize Notifications on Your Android Device

From talking with friends over instant messengers or voice calls to updating spreadsheets and playing the latest games, smartphones and tablets are capable of performing a wide variety of tasks.

When it comes to managing all the information and updates on your phone, notifications are the key. From status bar updates to on-screen notifications, these customization tips will have you using your device like a pro. Any app that utilizes notifications will typically allow you to choose how, when and why notifications are displayed. This can often be found within the app’s settings.

Configuring message notifications

1. Open your app drawer and tap Messages. Tap the Menu button and select Settings.

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2. Tap Notifications.

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3. Tap Notification Preview to enable or disable message preview on Lock Screeen or Status Bar.

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4. Tap Notification Sound to change your sound alert. Choose your desired notification tone and tap Apply.

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Configuring Google Play Update Notifications

Just like a computer or laptop, keeping your Android device up to date is essential for smooth operation and security. To help with this, devices supporting the Google Play app store will display notifications when you have updates available for your apps. With the speed at which apps are released and updated, you will likely see this notification frequently.

1. Open Your App Drawer and Tap Play Store.

2. Tap the Menu button once the page has finished loading and tap Settings.

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3. Tap Notifications to enable or disable this feature.

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Using Notifications like a Pro

While notifications are convenient simply for providing information, most notifications are also interactive. This allows you to perform a wide variety of tasks and activities directly from your notification drawer. Though the options available will vary by notification type and app.

Dismissing the Notification

To remove a notification from your drawer, tap and hold the notification and swipe to the left or right. Some apps disable this ability by default. In that case, the notification will shake instead of swipe away.

Responding to the Notification

Tapping a notification within the drawer will typically launch the app that sent the notification. This makes it simple to respond to emails, messages, phone calls and more. Instead of hunting through your apps, just tap the notification and go.

Clearing Your Notification Bar

If you wish to clear the notification drawer, simply open it and tap the clear button in the corner. This will remove any notifications that are not locked with a single tap. This is great for clearing out update notifications or other large groups of notifications.

That’s it!

Notifications make interacting with your Android device quick and simple. While the stream updates might seem intimidating at first, with a few customizations and tips, you will wonder how you ever used your device without them.

How To: Backup Your Android Device

If you have ever broken your Android device for any reason and needed to get a new one, you might have realized too late that none of the stored data was saved. Luckily there are plenty of ways to backup your data so you’ll never have to worry about losing your data.

Lets break down the options:

Backup Your Data to the Cloud

One of the main benefits of an Android device is that it automatically connects to your Google accounts. This connection makes it super easy to backup your data to Google Drive with your devices built-in settings.

Step 1: Go to the Privacy Settings on Your Android Device
You can easily find the privacy settings by going to Settings > Backup & Reset

Step 2: Check off the Backup Settings Option
Once you are in the Backup & Reset option you’ll see a checkbox next to “backup my settings.” Check off this box as well as the box for automatic restore.

Step 3: Sync Account
Once you have completed all the steps, go to Settings > Accounts & Sync, tap on the account you want to sync and check all available options. This way, you can easily access your data through your Google account.

Backup Photos to the Cloud

If you happen to be using Android 2.2 or higher, you can easily backup all your photos and videos thanks to Google’s Instant Upload service. All photos and videos will automatically upload to a private folder on your Google+ profile.

Step 1: Enable Autobackup on Google+
Go to Google+ > Settings > Camera & Photos. Click on Enable Autobackup and move the slider on the upper right hand corner to ON.

Step 2: Manage Autobackup Settings
In the Autobackup menu, you can choose how you want your device to backup your photos. You can choose While charging only and, if you haven’t backed up your data yet, you can choose to back everything up immediately.

Backup to Your Computer

If you want to make sure that the most important items on your device are doubly protected (like pictures and videos) you can always backup this data to your PC as well as the Cloud. You can move over all items saved on your SD card to your computer.

Step 1: Connect Your Device to Your Computer
Connect your Android device to your computer with a USB cord and it will then show up on your computer as an external drive.
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Step 2: Navigate to Appropriate Folder
Go to your device hard drive from your computer and find the appropriate folder. You can browse the different folders and find the items that you want.

Step 3: Move Files to Your Computer Hard Drive
Once you have found the files that you want to save, simply drag and drop them to your hard drive. This will make a copy of them to your computer.

Backup to SD Card

Many Android devices come with an internal SD card or an expandable microSD slot. Images and videos are automatically stored on this device, but you can move over select apps and contacts over to the SD card.

Export Contacts to SD card
Although Google will automatically save all of your contacts to the cloud if you choose to backup all of your data, you might have peace of mind saving the contacts to your SD card as well. It’s a simple process and only takes a couple seconds.

Step 1: Go to your contacts menu
Find your contacts app and then go to menu.

Step 2: Export your contacts
Once you are in the menu select Import/Export and then a menu should pop up where you can select the option to Export to SD. This will export all of your contacts to your SD Card.

Export Apps to the SD Card
Exporting apps to the SD card is a great way to free up space on your device. Unfortunately, you cannot move all apps over to the SD card. If you have a lot of apps, it might take a while to scroll through all of them to find the ones that you can export. It’s a fairly easy process from there once you do find the ones that you can export.

Step 1: Manage your apps
Go to Settings > Applications > Manage Applications. Your app list will then populate with all of the available apps.

Step 2: Move App to SD Card
Click on an app that you want to move and you will then be directed to a menu that gives you more information on the app. The option to move to SD card will be lit up if you are able to move the app. If it is available, click on the button. Rinse and repeat this process for all apps you wish to move over.

Conclusion

There are plenty of ways to backup your data and they all only take a couple minutes of your time. The next time you drop your Android device without bricking it, be sure that you have all of your data backed up just in case the next time you aren’t so lucky.

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