If you are anything like me you probably ignore the vast clutter of notifications that gather at the top of your Android phone- or Android tablet's display. Even those that live on the lockscreen can be more of a hindrance than a time saver. And useless email notifications or OTA software update notifications are there to be dismissed.
In this article we explore how to clear app notifications and how to clear OTA software update notifications updates. We also explore how to disable notifications from apps and services, so that you don't need to be troubled by this stuff ever again. (To get the most out of your Android phone or Android tablet, check out our Android tips page.)
If you have any other tips relating to Android notifications, do be sure to let us know in the comments below. We would love to include them in this story.
How to clear notifications in Android
The simplest - genuinely simple - way to clear the notifications on your Android phone or tablet is to pull down the notifications bar from the top of the display. You do this by tapping and dragging down from where the notifications appear at the top of the screen.
On that screen, about halfway down, you will see the word 'NOTIFICATIONS'. Right next to that is a red button that says 'CLEAR'. Hit that and all of those notifications will disappear.
Well, almost all. For some carriers the voicemail notification will remain on your phone icon until you check your voicemail. You could choose to switch off voicemail (and it does cost money) but that relies on your contacting your carrier. Also, your email and GMail apps will continue to record the number of unread emails you have in your accounts. I have yet to find a way of clearing that without reading or deleting all those emails (and I have more than 1,000).
Finally, even if you clear your notifications, OTA software updates will remain in there (until you update the software). Not everyone wants to update the OS on their phone. (See also: How to transfer iTunes library to Android.)
How to clear OTA software notifications in Android
There is a fix for this, but it is quite involved. In essence, it requires you to disable updates from the Google Service Framework without disabling the Framework itself. This is relatively straightforward if you have rooted your Android, but for those that have not - and we don't necessarily encourage it - you can get a similar effect by using a tool called Debloater.
We wouldn't recommend even using Debloater to anyone who is less than confident getting down and dirty with their Android. But if you are willing to mess with your phone's system settings it will disable OTA software notifications.
The principle is that you install Debloater on a PC and connect your Android via USB. Once your Android is connected and synched, hitting Read Device Packages will show a list of all the installed software processes on your phone. You can get rid of the nagging OTA notifications by disabling app that are responsible for checking OTAs and downloading them.
We did say it was involved! (See also: How to play YouTube videos in the background on Android phones.)
How to clear notifications with an Android app
If for any reason the first method didn't work and you just wish to disable notifications, you can install one of many notifications apps available on Google Play and it will do the job for you. Notifications Auto Clear by Necta is one such app. It is free, and gives you the ability to chose which notifications to automatically remove from the notifications bar. Of course, with a little legwork of your own you could do that anyway...
How to clear notifications in Android: Android poll
How to disable notifications in Android
It's actually pretty easy to disable notifications on an app-by-app basis. And a good thing to do if you want to use the notifications bar only for useful things.
On your Android, go to Settings, General, and scroll down to select Apps.
Now select the app from which you don't want to receive notifications, and hit its icon. Underneath the 'Force Stop' and 'Uninstall' buttons you will find a checkbox for 'Show notifications'. This is checked by default, simply untick it to stop getting notifications from that app. Messages will still come in, updates will still happen, but you won't be prompted from the home page to go find them. (See also: How to use Periscope on Android and How to stop pop-up ads on Android.)