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Reminder: The Nexus 5 has a Beautiful Multi-Color LED Notification Light, Take Advantage of It

nexus 5 notification light

One of the most underrated features we have come to love over the course of the last 3 Nexus phones happens to be embedded just under the glass, centered in the chin area of each device. Yes, we’re talking about the multi-color LED notification light that Google is also quite fond of. Yes, it’s also present on the Nexus 5. With that big beautiful light in play, there are apps out there that will let you decide how and when it is displayed. Do you want Sky Blue to show for emails? Red for calendar reminders? Purple for Twitter DMs? Yellow for Hangouts? You name it and it can happen. 

nexus 5 notification lightnexus 5 notification lightnexus 5 notification light

To take full advantage of the multi-color light, you’ll need an app like Light Flow. There are free and paid versions of Light Flow, with the paid version dropping in at $2.49.

Light Flow has been our go-to for a couple of years now thanks to its ever-growing features list, continuous support from the developer, and timely updates for new versions of Android. First and foremost, the app allows you to specify colors for individual notifications depending on the app, which we have shown you here. But if you want the most powerful notification tool for Android that we have seen, this is probably your best bet. You can customize everything from notification sounds to vibration patterns to contacts.

Oh, and if you own a Nexus 5, be sure to check the box in Settings>Display for “Pulse notification light.”

Play Links:  Light Flow lite | Light Flow ($2.49)

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  • Fais

    Not working on my Nexus 5. Tried going into settings>Display> Pulse notification light… Still not working. Help please?

  • disgusted by d bags

    Is it just me, or does anyone else get sick of the bashing of devices on threads like these? In my opinion, tips and tricks threads like these, are to help people set up their devices to their liking…however, people screw it up all the time. If you don’t have any input on the particular product that is being discussed…don’t comment. Now all you little losers go ahead and vote my comment down.

  • socalrailroader

    I have one on my my LG Optimus G Pro too, but it’s not just a light, it’s an entire button :) It has a lot more colors than that too.

  • blindexecutioner

    AS long as there is a light or some visual indicator I am happy. I don’t care if it is active notifications, which requires an oled screen, or a simple light. Not having some way of notifying is an absolute no go, however.

  • renGek

    Light flow is a pain especially if you have multiple devices. I get text notifications on both my n7 and GN. I read the text on my N7 but it doesn’t clear the notification onthe GN. I’m constantly double checking if iI had already read the message or calendar reminder. the light stays on if you clear your notifications but didn’t actually look at your calendar event. So when you get that phantom light you have to open your calendar or maybe it wasn’t that so you double check your text. Pain! Then there are the light flow bugs. There was a period of many updates where each one fixed and /or break the light. With every update even now there is a whole procedure you have to go through so that the lights work properly.

  • Simon Belmont

    Ironic that this was posted. I was wondering for a while if the notification LED was going to be RGB or just plain white like the 2013 Nexus 7 and I JUST saw the iFixit teardown of the Nexus 5 and showed it has an RGB LED.

    I assumed it was going to be RGB because the Nexus 4 was made by LG and its notification LED was RGB. Glad that it is (got my Nexus 5 yesterday, but hadn’t tested the colors yet on the LED).

  • J Dub

    Do you ever see app sales on LightFlow? Should I buy it now or wait until custom ROM’s come out the notification control built in?

    • Simon Belmont

      Never see app sales for LightFlow. Just buy it.

      It’s worth it for how well it works with an RGB LED. I used it on my G’Nex and I’ll use it on my Nexus 5.

  • acrobatsausages

    A “beautiful” notification light? Hyperbole much?

  • TC Infantino

    I thought the most powerful notification tool for Android was Active Notifications. Having just a blinking light would be a step back. Please Android, make Active Notifications the new standard across all OEMs.

    • Allan

      That would force all OEMs to use an AMOLED display. And that certainly will not happen.

      • TC Infantino

        Ah yeah. Totally forgot that it requires an AMOLED display. It would be nice though, but you are right, it will never happen.

  • http://facebook.com/nyvz9lyvz Jamison Harvey

    Dafuq is a notification light?
    -posted by Droid Maxx

    • dizel123

      So much this!

  • Michael Romano

    Wish they added this on the Nexus 7 (2013)!!

  • Jonathan Smith

    In going from 4.3 to 4.4, we lost a lot of sound notifications that I have come accustomed to with my Light Flow notifications. Does anyone know how I would be able to import the 4.3 sound notifications into 4.4? Thanks

  • Tim

    So how do we call the illumination notification bar from sony? ugly huh?

  • JDMendiola

    holding my two babies , my all white moto x one hand , and all black nexus 5 on the other .
    im such a proud father right now . two sexy babies

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      Got the N5 one thing I really love about the Moto X though is that it just feels perfect in my hand.

      • JDMendiola

        i keep on pulling my N5 out of my pocket and looking at the screen , just to realize I have to click on the power button -_____-

        • zurginator

          Gravity Screen. 😉

    • a3uge

      Does the black version have a white ear speaker as well?

      • kselby


      • JDMendiola

        its not a white ear speaker accent , I believe that’s only for the white version.

  • mjb

    Actually may be the only one shocked that every (yes I am looking at you iPhone) phone manufacturer doesn’t give their users the option of using a notification light. I have no idea why Apple has unilaterally decided it is against their design aesthetic. Having used just about every major phone released on CDN carrier in the past 4 years, I can’t see how anyone would contest the inclusion of an optional notification light. Makes NO SENSE.

  • Adam

    Do you have to be rooted for LightFlow to work?

    • ddh819

      i don’t think so for most phones, but there’s a note in the play store that you might need root some functions on htc phones

  • jim

    just one of the million reasons that Verizon sucks ass ,,,,,ive had 8 gnex phones trying to get a good one, started in Dec 2011 to April 2012, well I was sent 6 refurbish and 2 new ones, so when I kept the last one of the new ones and gave up getting a perfect one, they changed my upgrade date to 4-4-2014 , and said I agreed to it, so I told them, write this down april 4 2014, I and the wife will be leaving , told them to kiss my ass, didn’t even realize it till I checked my update date

    • crazed_z06

      Highly doubtful you got 7 or 8 bad phones

      • jim

        Well if were on here last April, I posted a pic of all the boxes they were shipped in, plus other things that came with them, its the truth,

        • Sean Plantz

          I had 4 of them before I traded for a Maxx HD, I def believe you got 8… 2 were refurb 2 were new.

  • joejoe5709

    I know I’m in the minority here, but I almost always turn off the notification light. It’s more of a pain than it is helpful.

    • Hilman in Edmonton

      I love glancing at my phone and knowing if there are any notifications and if so what kind it is due to its color, curious how this is a pain?

      • joejoe5709

        Or at least Light Flow is kind of a pain to get all setup. But without Light Flow, where’s the fun in a notification light? Anyway, I guess it just always seemed inconsistent to me and blinking lights bug me. Plus light flow sits in the background and on a GNex you gotta limit that stuff. I know it’s totally subjective, but something like Active Notifications seems more useful to me.

        • Simon Belmont

          Never had an issue with LightFlow running on my G’Nex. It hummed along without an issue or battery drain.

          Considering the Nexus 5 doubles the RAM of the G’Nex, you have even less to worry about. My two cents.

    • JoshGroff

      I just use dynamic, but before I did use the multicolor LED so I could see what type of message it was. I found it more useful than annoying, but it did bother me a little.

  • Joshu

    So I guess I’m the only one that can’t get Light Flow to work at all on my Nexus 5?

    • Andrew

      I’ve just pushed out an update that should fix more nexus 5 issues.

      • Joshu

        It is working now, thanks!!

  • azzieftw

    Anyone else having problems using it on the Nexus 5? The performance of it has been inconsistent for me since i installed it.

    • envoy510

      Yes, it doesn’t work well on the N5. I contacted the developer and he said he’s working hard on an update. Hopefully this week, he said.

  • volvo2402jz

    From the camera shots and battery life of the nexus 5 so far, I’m gonna just keep my GNEX and sell the Nexus 5 …. All these people getting a hard-on over nothing. Did you guys do a camera and battery life post and test yet?

    • jbdan

      My N5 battery life is very impressive so far. The camera is a hair shy of the GS4. Acceptable for sure. I’ve heard of upcoming software updates to the cam as well

      • volvo2402jz

        Nice, I just have my old Gnex and a iphone 4s to compare too, might go in to a store and play with other phones cameras. I feel like I blew my load off in a broken condom and Im stuck with the Nexus 5 now….

        • jbdan

          You could return the N5 if you don’t like it, no? I I have read varied opinions on the cam it’s weird

          • volvo2402jz

            I don’t no if I want to, I will craigslist it for $400-450 and get it that real quick from some tard

          • Jeff

            You sound like a real winner. (in reference to the name calling of people you don’t even know)

    • guest

      get a moto x!!

    • a3uge

      Is this sarcastic? You’re going to keep your Galaxy Nexus because the CAMERA and BATTERY LIFE?

    • T S

      do you really have a GNEX and are complaining about the Nexus 5 battery life?

  • Scott

    I forgot about that. It’s not even listed as part of the specs.

  • a3uge

    “I have a notification!… oh wait, that’s just the white ear speaker on the phone…”

    Maybe I’ll have to check out LightFlow and train myself to ignore white circles on the front of my phone.

    • Lwabbit22

      I also have to retrain my eyes for this exact thing!!

      • ElectricCow

        Black permanent marker pen. Problem solved!

        • Allan

          I’m seriously considering this. That would be the best option right? I’m just scared the color will look off… but then again the white already looks off.

          • Tomáš Petrík

            My words…

    • Simon Belmont

      I actually like the white earpiece of my Nexus 5. It’s a nice symmetrical mirror of the RGB notification LED.

      Besides, your earpiece doesn’t pulse or glow in the dark, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble discerning the difference. My two cents.

  • Tony Pettinato

    I must be one of the only people who prefers a notification LED over Active Notifications…

    • jbdan

      I think I prefer it too although I’ve not owned a MotoX. I like the fact I can see it across the room and whether or not I need to reply/read/listen immediately or wait

      • guest

        well you can see active notification too across the room when they pulse ..its pretty easy make out notifications based on the Icon

        • jbdan

          No, I mean like across the room, a big room lol. But I see what you’re saying 😉

          • Weber

            Why is your phone across the big room? Go get it before someone takes it, man!

          • jbdan

            Lol! Well unlike most here (I’m assuming dangit!) I don’t keep my phone on me 24/7. While I love gadgets I know when it’s time to put them down and enjoy the “real” pleasures in life 😀

          • Jeff Helget


          • veeman

            Why did you put real in quotes? Are they not actually real?

    • Shane Redman

      But have you tried active notifications? (not trying to be a douche here, serious question) And why?

    • Guest

      Nope, you’re not.

    • Seiga

      You’re really not. It’s really a preference. Some people like it, others don’t. I view it as a like though :).

    • Simon Belmont

      Nope. I absolutely rely on the notification LED of my G’Nex (and now Nexus 5).

      It may just be a light, but the fact that it can show any color makes it very useful. It’s also very subtle, but conspicuous enough to be noticeable.

  • http://people.ign.com/mrfrodo24 mrfrodo24

    Wish the Nexus 7 could do different colors. I can only get it to do white with AOKP on it.

    • Simon Belmont

      I think it’s a white LED. You can’t make it do other colors no matter the ROM.

      It’s weird because every other Nexus device that had an LED light had an RGB one. Oh well.

  • BTLS

    Reminder: You don’t have a beautiful nexus 5, because verizon is taking advantage of you…

    • Scott

      Of course.

  • AndrewScottRox

    This is, without a doubt, one of my favorite things about my phone. I would hate to have phone that didn’t have this feature.

  • Droidzilla

    I can’t ever see not wanting a notification LED on my device, but I haven’t yet tried a device with active notifications. Maybe you can do a comparison, Kellen?

    • Weber

      Active Notifications ftw imo. The pulsing LED does its own thing. Active Notifications will show up as soon as you pull it out of your pocket. If it’s out of your pocket, say, on a table, then it pulses like the LED light. Except with the colored LEDs, you don’t know who messaged you or what email was sent to you. You have to unlock the phone to see it. With Active Notifications, you can just touch your screen and boom. All the info right there. I used to own a GNex, and putting all things negative aside, I prefer Active Notifications. Just my $.02.

      • Damien

        LightFlow allows you to specify a LED color, notification sound with custom volume settings, and a custom vibration pattern for a specific contact if you wish. On my phone, all notifications from my girlfriend are set to a purple LED. Combined with app specific unique notification tones, I immediately know which method of communication my gf is using to reach out to me (whatsapp, bbm, text, email, twitter…). With contact specific notification, I can then use lightflow settings to allow notifications from VIPs to override sleep, silent, or vibrate only modes on my phone.

  • Seiga

    Once you go Active Notifications, There’s no turning back. :).

    • Albert

      After using the Moto X, the notification light on my nexus 7 actually pisses me off because it blinks all the time, haha.

      • jbdan

        Can’t you turn off pulse notification?

        • Albert

          Not that I know of on stock.

          • jbdan

            I’m on a different “stock” then 😛 settings> display> pulse light

          • Calvin Williams

            The cool thing about roms is everyone uses something different.
            The bad thing about roms is everyone uses something different.

          • Albert

            Haha didn’t even think to look under display. Thanks.

        • Seiga

          turn the phone upside down. I haven’t been able to find an option, but typically what happens is that whenever the phone is in your pocket, active notifications stop even if it keeps flashing. It uses the light sensors. So if there is light, active notifications will flash.

          • jbdan

            Thanks. I was talking about the LED on his N7

      • Adam Truelove

        You know what really pisses me off? Being 2 Android versions behind.

        You can dress up Windows XP all you want, but I’d rather have Windows 7.

        • Albert

          Not for long though. Besides there is nothing special about 4.3 for the Moto X. Soon enough we will have it all though.

          • Adam Truelove

            Then you’ll still be behind. Android is on 4.4.

          • guest

            moto will get 4.4 soon probably this month ..then obviously moto x > nexus 5 with all the goodies from kitkat + moto x’s awesome innovative features!!

          • Adam Truelove

            There is NO WAY the Verizon Moto X gets 4.4 this month, not even this year.

            Also, that would be short lives as the Nexus moves onto 4.5 then 4.6.

            BTW, I am in NO WAY ripping on the Moto X. It is an amazing phone. But updated Android > fancy features as far as I’m concerned.

          • guest

            will see!

          • Eric

            LOL! Clearly you don’t know how Verizon works.

          • Albert

            I bet we get it before the end of the year for sure. My money is on sooner. The Moto X experience is nearly stock with the exception of the additional apps such as active notifications. Since the core of Android remains mostly unchanged, these apps will be easily ported to 4.4. We will wait longer for Verizon to give it to us, than Motorola.

          • Adam Truelove

            I say again, there is NO WAY the Verizon Moto X gets 4.3 or 4.4 by the end of the year. There was zero porting of features that had to happen with the Gnex on Verizon and it took them months to release updates for it. I have no idea how long it will take Motorola to release updates for the other “real” Moto X phones, but the Verizon one will be sitting on 4.2 for a while.

          • guest

            well gnex never got updates on vzw because google dropped the ball, google wanted full control of updates and verizon wouldn’t allow it without going through there 4-6 weeks cycle, if google would have worked with verizon like any other oem, GNEX would have recvd updates at least 4 weeks behind other phones ..but google decided not to bend to verizon and screw the gnex customers instead

          • Adrynalyne

            Is that why Google dropped 4.3 binaries for Verizon Gnex, because they decided to screw gnex customers?

            The Gnex not having 4.3 ABSOLUTELY is Verizon’s fault.

          • Adrynalyne

            Two downvotes…we got some Verizon lovers in here, LOL.

            Truth hurts, kids.

          • Adam Truelove

            I doubt they’re Verizon lovers, they’re just Moto X lovers that happen to be on Verizon so they have no choice but to defend their situation. Those same people would have Nexus 5s instead if they weren’t limited to Verizon.

          • Seiga

            So true in every way! I would have jumped on the Nexus 5 if it had Verizon support. But I’m certainly not complaining about the Maxx I have.

          • LionStone

            Or they smelled the coffee and wised up :-)

          • Seiga

            Actually… It’s TI’s fault.

          • Adrynalyne

            Its TI’s fault that The Gnex on Verizon doesn’t have 4.3?

            Thats an interesting theory. Incorrect, but interesting.

          • Seiga

            It’s not incorrect. Look it up. When TI stopped support on the TI-OMAP processor, Binaries completely stopped being produced. That haulted updates directly from Google. TI held everything up. Now, verizon is another story as they take forever too. It’s like a sandwich for Google with TI and Verizon being the buns.

            This is the number 1 reason why the Verizon Galaxy Nexus never saw an official 4.3

          • Adrynalyne

            What are you smoking? The 4.3 binaries are on Google’s developer site. They have been there since 4.3 hit AOSP.

            The only hold up is Verizon.

          • Adam Truelove

            Were you in on those meetings? Sounds like speculation to me.

          • Seiga

            Not true at all. Google didn’t drop the ball at all. Texas Instruments dropped the ball. When TI stopped support for the TI-OMAP processor for the Nexus, support for the device completely dropped.

            Verizon is the other culprit. Carriers determine certification of updates. If the certification is denied, then Google has to re-write the code so they do get approved.

          • lgreg64

            I am 100% sure that the moto x on verizon will see 4.4 before we see the nexus 5 on verizon

          • Adam Truelove

            Haha, well that’s definitely true, which is why I’m done with Verizon.

          • Seiga

            You’ll never see the Nexus 5 on verizon unless they re-work the hardware. No support for Band 13 which is the primary data band for Verizon.

          • ranlil

            I guess it will be time for me to unlock and load…

          • kixofmyg0t

            I can’t wait to say “I told you so”.

            I’ll be able to say that soon. I can’t say the day, but soon.

          • Dhimitraq Jorgji

            I would like to point out you were wrong 😛

          • Adrynalyne

            How much we betting?

          • usaff22

            There’s already been a leak of 4.4 for the Moto X. Before the end of the month, all those features will probably work. Let’s say 20 days for testing (which is more than enough). It will definitely get it by the end of the year.

          • Adrynalyne

            An engineer build…for the Tmo version. Hardly indicative of anything other than, “they are working on it”

            That build is NOWHERE near beta quality, much less testing.

            Anyone catch a compile date of it in the build.prop?

          • usaff22

            Which is why I indicated it was a test build by saying “all those features will work by the end of the month”. 20 days for testing would be AFTER the build being fully functional, thereby still fitting in before the end of the year.

          • Adrynalyne

            Test build…for developers. It has to be RC quality before it ships to testers, which is an easy 3 weeks. Then the carrier will likely go through 1-3 revisions…you are looking at 6 to 8 weeks, if you are lucky. I’d say it would be closer to 90 days.

          • usaff22

            Carriers are not involved in Developer Edition phones, so the carrier is not involved in shipping out updates, as these are handles by Motorola themselves.

          • Adrynalyne

            If you have a Dev Edition, great. Most do not, so its a moot point.

          • Adam Truelove

            Are we talking ROMs or official updates? ROMs are one thing, but an official release after proper testing is another story.

          • xpyroxcorex

            i feel like thats a personal problem that you decided to stay with verizon….

          • Adrynalyne

            Or solution considering that he decided to leave them.

          • Seiga

            Agree on the 4.4 not coming this year. Pretty sure we’ll see it sometime in Jan or Feb.

            Disagree with the updated android > fancy features. To an extent. New O/S’s always tend to have new features, so that’s a given, but certain hardware can excel from specific devices over stock. Just depends on what features they are.

          • jack

            Verizon has been the first to roll out updates for some phones like the galaxy s4

          • EddieMAC

            I guess you were wrong on this one…

          • Niral Ramesh

            all moto x devices got 4.4 in November. Don’t flame me, I’m just pointing out the facts. I have a Nexus 5 and prefer it because of its sheer speed.

          • Shane Redman

            That’s not that bad….what would be bad is if you’re on 4.2 waiting on 5.0 (hypothetically of course)

          • Adam Truelove

            That absolutely could happen on Verizon. I’m mostly kidding, but it is possible.

          • wade_county

            I’d argue that the Moto X is still the better Android experience than KitKat.

          • Adam Truelove

            Only if you value those features the Moto X gives you. Personally I’ll take the performance boost and new Google Now integration over the Moto X features.

        • Gabernasher

          Windows 7 is one version or so behind, depending on what you call 8.1…terrible point.

    • Booyah


    • fartbubbler

      preach it brutha.

    • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

      Missing them already!

      • Seiga

        Really? To me it’s like going from SD to HD. Now that I experience HD, I don’t want to go back to SD :).

      • Jim890

        The note 3 has a beautiful notification light too, what’s so special about this one on the nexus 5? I think DL is just hyping this phone up way too much.

        • LionStone

          What’s so special about a N5? It’s NOT a Samsung… :-)

        • Tyler

          Location of the led on all galaxy phones is at the top where as on nexus phones is on the bottom. This allows you to pull only the bottom of your phone out of your pocket to see the light and on loose pens you can see the light without pulling your phone out.

          • tu3218

            just put your phone in your pocket the other way and bam! You only have to pull your phone out just a little lol

          • Tyler

            Let me rotate my phone EVERY single time put my phone in my pocket and pull it out.

          • tu3218

            I think you’re making that out to be a more difficult task then it needs to be. Not hard. But, I will say that I’d rather have it in the middle on the bottom, but I don’t think its a big issue.

          • Tyler

            Its the same sort of idea as headphone jack on the bottom. Does having a phone with it on the top make it inoperable, no but its more convenient to have it on the bottom. Rotating the phone just seems less practical is all I’m saying, why add the extra step considering you cant use the phone upside down unless you rom. To each his own i guess.

            Edit: also 180deg screen rotate doesn’t make sense for phone without onscreen which is mostly nexus and a couple moto phones.

    • redthunda69

      As a former Moto X user, I respectfully disagree. It was certainly a useful feature, but I much prefer a multicolored notification light. I only need to pull out the bottom of the phone to see the light, and the color tells me what notifications I have much faster than an icon would.

    • Collin Chapin

      To be honest active notifications kind of annoyed me. I really wanted to like it but there’s just something pleasantly minor about a tiny little LED on my phone lighting up different colors.

    • A Big Nerd That Eats Toblerone


      • Seiga

        Really… Shut up? Are you that stupid to not know what an opinion is? Here’s something… MOVE TO AMERICA THEN!!!!! Actually, don’t move to the America. Don’t need someone in this country that can’t value opinions. You sir, made yourself look bad just now.

        And if you want Active Notifications, there’s an app out there.

        • A Big Nerd That Eats Toblerone

          The app is terrible though. And I can value opinion, im angry that the Moto X isn’t available in Europe for me to try out active notifications properly. Furthermore, im not challenging his o opinion in the slightest, I’m making a statement, and then saying shut up as I am unable to view his opinion.

  • jbdan

    Nice. The Lightflow dev posted that sms/hangout has a bug. I can confirm it will still blink after reading the message until you go to lightflow. He’s working on it

  • Albert

    Active notifications are revolutionary in my opinion. Unfortunately not all screens are Amoled, so its not feasible. But I think the active notifications are real innovation at this point for notification delivery.

    • LeDerp

      aka DynamicNotifications app

      • Albert

        Sure, I used it on my Galaxy Nexus before I got the Moto X, it doesn’t quite work as well with the sensors as it does on my Moto X stock active notifications.

        • JoshGroff

          I haven’t used it on the X only my G-Nex/S4/Note 2, and it did all I needed it to. What features am I missing out on?