I’m sure that everyone has accidentally swiped away a notification before they got a chance to read it fully. You’re then left checking half a dozen apps to see if you missed an important message. That can be a frustrating experience because you just don’t know if you’re missing out on something important. What you may not know is that Android has had a built-in notification log for many years now, since Android 4.3 Jelly Bean in 2012, in fact! Unfortunately, Google never made the notification log accessible in settings, so its Holo UI looks wildly outdated compared to Google’s more modern Material Theme. The feature has effectively been abandoned for years now, and many OEMs even remove access to it! However, it looks like Google is finally giving the feature some attention, as they’ve not only tweaked the UI of the old notification log, but they’ve also implemented a brand new “Notification History” page in Android 11!
First, let’s start with the Notification Log. As seen in the screenshots below, courtesy of XDA Recognized Developer Quinny899, this shows a pretty basic timeline of all the notifications that arrived on your phone. The UI has been cleaned up a little bit for Android 11, but it’s the same idea. You can see the notification title, app, some contents, and the time it arrived. Pretty simple, but valuable information.
The more interesting discovery is a brand new “Notification History” page in Android 11. To our initial surprise, this is a completely separate page from the Notification Log that’s been around for years. The Notification History page is more polished and looks like something meant for consumers to use. It shows “Recently dismissed” notifications at the top that you can scroll through as a list. You get the same information about the notifications that are shown in the Notification Log, but this UI looks a lot nicer.
If you’re interested in seeing this feature for yourself, you can create a shortcut to it using the activity launcher in the custom launcher of your choice (eg. Nova Launcher, Action Launcher, etc.) or you can use the dedicated Activity Launcher app from the Google Play Store below. Just find “Settings” and then scroll down to “notification history.”
We hope Google surfaces this feature in a later Developer Preview or public Beta release. Any potential privacy concerns can be addressed by the fact that someone has to already have physical access to the unlocked device in order to view this page. Adding this feature to the Settings app of Android 11 would mean users won’t have to manually launch either the activity for Notification Log or Notification History.
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