Dec 172009
Android notification bar

Android notification bar

The top gray bar on the Android screen displays important information about your Android phone.

Along with the time, battery state, and network state icons, Android will also show icons in this bar when there is an update that may need your attention, for example a new text message, email, or voicemail. This bar, also called the windowshade because you can pull it down to cover your screen, is usually the quickest and easiest way to interact with those new and incoming events.

Here is a video from Google that demonstrates the windowshade feature:

Pull it down by touching the bar and then swiping your finger to the bottom of your screen … the bar will stretch and open up just like a window shade.

Newly installed applications will also leave a notice inside this windowshade, to give you the option of launching the application from there rather than pulling up the big menu and finding it.

Try observing your windowshade and interacting with it through the day. Android has done a smart thing by implementing this feature; rather than interrupting whatever you are currently doing when an incoming event, it will instead give a little beep, flash a notice of the new event in the gray bar, and then leave an icon there until you choose to interact with that event.

Here is a listing of the various possible notification icons you may see in the windowshade, and their meanings:

battery_charging Battery is charging
battery_charge_indicators Battery levels: full, 75%, 50%, 25%

call_in_progress Call is in progress
call_on_hold Call is on hold
missed_call Missed call
emailreceivedNew email received
textmessageNew text message received
new_sms_mms New SMS/MMS received
new_wm New voicemail received
visualvmactivityVisual voicemail (Verizon app) activity
phone_mute Phone currently muted
naviNavigation enabled
alarm_set Alarm is set
call_forwarding_on Call forwarding enabled
gsm_signal_roaming_no_signal 3G service connected, service roaming, service not connected
GPS_enabled_working GPS enabled, GPS sending/receiving data
wi-fi_service_connected_network_available WiFi connected, WiFi not connected but networks detected
content_downloaded App downloaded or updated
bluetooth_on_device_connected Bluetooth enabled, Bluetooth device connected
data_syncing Data syncing
more_notifications More notifications available
usbconnectedUSB Connected
sign_in_sync_error Sync error or PC connection debug mode enabled
song_playing Audio file playing
speakerphone_on Speaker-phone enabled
upcoming_event Upcoming calendar event
uploading_downloading Uploading / downloading software
wireless_services_off Airplane mode activated (cellular & WiFi disabled)

  29 Responses to “Notification bar on Android”

  1. Thanks for this layout of icons. I found this while trying to figure out what the Bluetooth icon was.

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  3. Thanks for article

  4. Awesome! Thanks.

  5. […] been a part of Android for a long time. I could not find a specific date, but I found this nice article from December, 2009 that talks about this neat feature. Notifications are much, much older on […]

  6. hmm my archos tablet is great but unfortunatley i didnt know what the notifications meant . this si useful

  7. have a new droid and suddenly my notification bar is gone…think i might have cleared a cache??? or downloaded a game??? Help pls

  8. How do I connect my USB? From what I understand, when I connect my phone to my computer (which is a Mac), a button is supposed to pop up asking you if you want to enable your USB syncing or something… Well, when I connect my phone to the computer, nothing pops up, and I would like to connect my USB so I can sync music from my computer onto my phone. Please help? :)

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