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Managing Notifications in Jelly Bean [Beginners’ Guide]

When Google introduced Jelly Bean at this year’s Google I/O event in San Francisco, one of the features that struck as us as really cool was Jelly Bean’s new notifications. With Jelly Bean, some applications are able to show interactive notifications and also expandable notifications that allow you to take certain actions straight from the notification bar.

For now, only certain applications support expandable notifications. But if anything is for certain, it’s that Google will be adding more and more of these interactive notifications as time goes by. Here’s a quick rundown of the specific apps that support the new system and what they look like. 

Gmail | Google Music | Google+ 

When an email from Gmail is received, it will display as a regular looking notification, but you can choose to preview a small portion of the email by two-finger sliding down on the notification. Also, if you have multiple unread messages in your inbox such as I do above, you will see the first few subject lines and senders in your notifications area. You can also two finger slide up to collapse the notifications or slide them away to either the right or left to dismiss it.

With Google Music, when not in the actual app and you have music playing, you can control the app from the notification bar. You’re given a skip, backwards, and play/pause button as well as album art and track info. If you collapse this notification, you will only be given options for pausing/playing and skipping music. No backtracking.

On Google+, when you’re tagged in someone’s post, it’s sent straight to your device for a “+1.” You can also choose to share things straight from your notification bar if you so choose. But do note, these notifications will only appear if you have Google+ installed and are signed into the application.

Missed Calls | Taking screenshots | Swipe Away Notifications 

If you miss a call, Google has enabled you to take action straight from your notification bar. From the notification, you can either call back that poor soul or even send them a text.

Another neat notification appears when you take a screenshot. In the notification bar, it will show you a small thumbnail of the image and allow you to share it through an app straight form the notification area when it’s expanded. When collapsed, you’ll just have to click on it and it will take you to the gallery and you can share it or edit it from there.

Last but not least, is the ability to swipe away notifications. Any notification for an app that isn’t currently running (for example, you can’t swipe away the Google Music app if it’s running) you can simply swipe it away to either the left or right of your screen. That way, instead of having to dismiss all notifications, you can do them individually. This was introduced in Ice Cream Sandwich, so many of you should be familiar with it.

And that is our brief guide to notifications in Jelly Bean. If you have any questions or comments, let us know down below.

*The rest of the Android Beginners’ Guide is a one-stop shop for all of those new to Android.

  • Is his wifi,gps,rotate,sync widget in his expandable notifications bar? If so how do you do that?

  • florious80

    Why does the toggle named “torch” in the photo makes me think that turning that on, my phone would catch on fire and self destruct??

  • BluTango

    When checking the notifications from the lock screen, any way to change the timeout time so the screen doesn’t turn off while looking through notifications. Seems to only last about 10sec then screen turns off…

  • carol swift

    Discover the latest apps and games. FREE and enjoy instantly on your Android phone or tablet.

  • cruzin_cruzing

    Woohoo! I see a Giants fan here!

  • ShadrachCA

    I really wish Google would have included delete/archive functionality for Gmail in notifications, and mark as read for Messaging. Does it drive anyone else nuts when you can see the entirety of a text in a notification, but you have to open the app so it doesn’t show up as new?

  • Mike

    Can you group notifications by whether they’re ongoing or dismissable? Gingerbread did this automatically. Now, ongoing and dismissable notifications are mixed together.

    • Shawn

      I miss that too. I guess not all UI choices are good with newer versions of Android.

  • Mclovin


  • harry khem

    Dialer is mess up on the galaxy nexus with jellybean. When I’m on speaker phone and try to use the number pad it doesn’t work. Any idea?

  • Dean

    Has anyone gotten the choose application pop-up for text messaging notification? Allowing you to chose from different messenger apps for that particular notification.

    • j1ser

      sms popup works for me. You can use any messaging app to see all your messages

  • Guest

    Don’t forget about long pressing to pull up App Info for the app that put the notification up. Bonus: that page allows you to prevent an app from posting notifications. Goodbye push-to-notification ads.

    • carlisimo

      This is why I read these. I’ve figured out nearly all of what’s in the article, but I always learn stuff in the comments. Thanks.

  • Shaftway

    Another important one. Long hold on a notification to be able to jump to the app info page. Bonus: there’s a checkbox on that page indicating whether it’s allowed to show you notifications. Goodbye notification push ads.

    • Bodhiballer

      This is an area where Android is crushing iOS – letting you manage notifications centrally or contextually from the specific app.

  • AC

    What are you using for the power toggles in your Notification bar? or are you not stock?

    • tom

      yeah… i was just about to ask this

      • Dan Lowery

        So was I! I just did a quick search to see if i was missing something in my newly acquired Jelly Bean, but didn’t find anything. I’d like to have those toggles in my notification bar too.

        • aye_winchell

          widgetsoid will do it

        • dsignori

          I use “More Quickly Panel”. Lots of options (mobile hotspot right from the dropdown) . http://goo.gl/CNQdB

          • Bodhiballer

            Yup, love this

    • Michael Forte

      Looks like AOKP’s toggles with the text option enabled.


      I use Notification Toggle and am loving it! NFC, Hotspot, and a few others make it worth while…oh, and free and totally customizable!

      • florious80

        Fantastic tip. I’ve installed it and it works wonders. So handy.

  • Garrettjrussell
    • ShiroEd

      Fantastic widget! Recommend!

    • root4life

      yep. its awesome!

    • Kevin

      Even better, on the N7 (and presumably other tablets), you can actually have it display a graph of your battery drain in the notification. It’s freaking amazing. I WILL pay for this if the dev ever releases a “pro” version. It’s considered beta now.

  • These eBay video ads that automatically start playing audio are starting to drive me nuts. It says “unmute” but it already is… whats the point?

    Back on topic… I love these new notifications. 🙂