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Light Flow Update Teases New Version of Android, May Require Persistent Notifications for Some Tasks

lightflow update

Now that Google I/O is over with and a potential Android 4.3 release date is in the wild, the hypebeasting of features will undoubtedly start to pick up. The first to kick off the fun is one of our favorite apps, Light Flow. For those not familiar, Light Flow is the best notification manager in the business, as it provides you with more tools and options for notifications settings than any other app. It’s also designed incredibly well and always seems to have a major update around the corner.

So what does Light Flow have to do with the next version of Android? 

In their latest update that was released this afternoon, they are claiming to have made a change towards a mandatory persistent notification icon because Google has requested this become a standard in an “upcoming version of Android.” Their description for this new requirement mentions that any app running in “foreground mode” must place a persistent notification icon in the notification bar. I’m assuming this is a lot like how Pebble works when it’s paired to your phone – there is always a Pebble icon showing that you are connected.

The update also includes support for Hangouts, including pushing text to DashClock, and fixed notifications with Chat Heads for more devices.

But the big mention here has to be with the “upcoming version of Android,” which we are all expecting to be Android 4.3. I know this doesn’t give us much, nor is it a feature that anyone will run and show off to friends, but this potentially adds to the thought that we will see the next version of Android at any moment.

Cheers MG and Evan!

  • This is my second visit to your content. I did not leave a comment before, and required to tell you i really like your article.

  • j

    ROMs better cook this option OUT. I cannot stand persistent notifications for any app that doesn’t need user input while running, i.e. google music.

  • bionicwaffle

    Are we sure it’s “left-side” notification that shows in the notification drop down or just a persistent icon on the right sight of the bar by the clock and signal strength. I’d be fine with the later but I think the former would be very annoying and a waste of real-estate in the notification drop down.

  • i do`n no

  • Unified notificaton center maybe?

  • stephen C

    Transparent icon. Ain’t no thang.

  • fallsgable

    Will my stock OG Droid be getting 4.3?

    • Willard Potter

      Upvoted just for the laugh I got from that. Good way to start my afternoon, thanks. lol

    • Tyler

      I think you meant 2.3 there sir. 🙂

  • flosserelli

    I am meh about Lightflow…but I do like the sound of “upcoming version of android”

  • jaffo

    I had to uninstall this on my Note 2. Couldn’t get it to run right. Bummer.

  • Michael G

    Woo hoo! I got props! lol

  • Andrew Moore

    Ok. I can understand where they are coming from. Technically running in app in the foreground is for things like music apps where you don’t want android to come along and kill it while listening to music when your phones memory gets a little low.

    I’d added the option into lightflow because on some low end devices the app can potentially get killed of quite frequently which means in the time that android restarts the app (can take about 5 to 10 seconds) if a notification comes it, it’ll not notify you.

    This isn’t really a problem on more recent phones really as they have enough ram to handle it.

    In lightflow if you go into the app and uncheck the “run in foreground” option it’ll disappear. It should have done that automatically with the upgrade, but I think there must be a situation where it hasn’t.

    The app will still run in the background ok, but will be marked slightly lower in the hierarchy for apps to be killed when memory is low.

    As for the google version update, I wish I knew more, but all I’ve been told is that there’s a security loophole that they plan to plug with a future update. They’ve been checking up regularly to see if I’d published a version over the last few days, so given the rumours of a new release of android and them checking up on progress with this…well, I’ll leave you to come up with your own conclusions (kind of as I have!)

    • Hey, that’s pretty great of you to have found this post and given us a real update and info… thank you! And Light Flow is Awesome, keep up the great work!!

      • Andrew Moore

        I’m just hoping that with that remote clearing of notifications they talked about using cloud services that they add an event to the accessibility service to handle it too. It’d only be a few lines of code for them.

  • anezarati

    What is running in foreground vs running in the background?

  • People will always find something to complain about.

  • Jeremy Edwards

    I don’t know how this is news. The functionality was introduced in Eclair (2.0). Here’s the function. http://developer.android.com/reference/android/app/Service.html#startForeground(int, android.app.Notification) before that there was a setForeground function that developers used to elevate a service to foreground status but that was deprecated and then removed.

    Click the link for reason why they enforce this.

  • TheWenger

    I guess it’s a good thing you can get some of the functionality of Light Flow from the settings in AOKP/CM10.1/etc.

    • Yep. When I switched from BB to AOKP, I said goodbye to Light Flow too. It is a very well made app though.

  • Eric

    Persistent icon is a step in the wrong direction.

    • 4n1m4L

      I agree. Maybe have it mandatory to be enabled by default, but not flat mandatory.

      • I feel like that’s what they mean. Im sure you can still decide as the user to disable them.

    • Eric Richardson

      You can hide notifications from apps now.

    • SlenderSniper

      See Fernando Landaverde’s comment and the replies.

  • Adam Emshwiller

    That sound terrible….. Why would we want persistent notification icons for apps? I’m confused. That just adds clutter in my notification bar that I don’t need. Any ideas?

    • Michael Ta


      1. Google probably has something on it’s own.
      2. Read number 1.

      That’s all i can think of for now.

    • SlenderSniper

      See Fernando Landaverde’s comment.

  • Why would anyone want a persistent notification that can’t be cleared?

    • Bryan Paul

      I think the concept behind that is so malicious apps can’t hide in plain site. If something is running, it should tell you it’s running.

      • Made sense. And “keeps them in memory” also. But does that mean every running app will have a notification shade entry?? There must be a better way to do it.

        • Justin Foster

          It says, “when running in foreground.” It’s not for every app running, nor for apps running in the background. It’s for apps that are currently being used directly.

          • Simon Belmont

            Actually, apps can be marked as “in the foreground” so they’re on the highest hierarchy of not being killed when RAM is low. The persistent notification shows that an app is “in the foreground.”

            An app that’s actually being shown on the screen is also technically in the foreground, and obviously it doesn’t need a notification icon because, well, you’re looking at it already. Most phones and tablets today don’t need to do this because there’s plenty of RAM to spare and the apps likely won’t be killed even if they’re running in the background. Marking an app as “in the foreground” is still useful, however, if you need a persistent indication of it running. Like the music app example.

    • It keeps the app in the memory so it’s always active. You can then hide the notification.

    • Kane Stapler

      You can always long press on the notification and deselect show notifications.

      • zachjen

        Doesn’t that turn off all notifications for the app? I would still want to be notified by the app when there Is something to be notified of, i just wouldn’t want the app notification to always be sitting there in the tray.

    • Pengwn

      You can turn it off in the settings.

      • John Burke

        Foreground is only a “hack” he built into LightFlow for low-end devices.
        High-end devices don’t need to worry much about this.

    • Devin

      Agreed. I hate persistent notifications. I even have a Pebble and it drives me nuts that icon is always there.