While Android enthusiasts are eagerly waiting for the operating system’s upcoming version “L,” there are currently some apps that give you a preview of some of the features that the new OS will bring along. One such app is Floatify, which lets you experience floating Android L style notifications on your non-rooted Android device. It is compatible with devices running Android 4.3 or above.
Once installed and enabled, the app displays notifications in a stacked form on the lock screen. These notifications appear for a finite amount of time which you can configure from the app settings. You can tap on a notification to open it, left swipe to suppress it, and right swipe to dismiss it.
A point worth noting is that after you tap on a notification on the lock screen, it will open only after you unlock the device. That happened for most of the notifications I tested, except for the missed call notification wherein I was able to use the “Call back” option without unlocking the phone.
Should you choose to ignore the notifications on the lock screen, they reappear after you unlock. Here again, you can tap to open or swipe to suppress or dismiss.
The app also provides another very useful feature that lets you disable notifications for selected apps. This can be particularly useful in cases when you’re watching a video or surfing the Web and don’t want notifications to annoy you.
Installation and setting up
The app is easy to install as it is available for free from Google Play, although there are some features that work only after you purchase a $2 Pro Key for the app.
Once you launch the app for the first time after installing it, you are greeted with a quick tutorial explaining how to use the app. There is also a video tutorial that you can launch from the first screen (shown below).
Once you are done with the tutorial part, the app takes you to the settings area, which is divided into five categories: Main, Notifications, Interactions, Style, and Advanced. By default, you land in the “Main” settings.
The first thing that you should do here is enable the app. Once done, click the “Autostart” option to make sure that the service remains up and running even after you reboot your device.
In the “Notifications” settings, tap the “Notifications Apps & Sounds” option to select the applications for which you want Floatify to enable notifications. The free version only allows notifications for five apps, although this information seems absent from the app’s Google Play listing as well as from the app itself.
You can also select how the notifications are displayed in different scenarios including after unlocking, on lock screen, with screen on, and more. The available options are: Disabled, All Notifications Popup, and Latest Notifications Popup.
Then there is a “Smart Blacklist” option that lets you disable notifications for selected apps, a functionality we’ve already discussed earlier.
Another thing that we discussed earlier was the need to manually unlock the phone to open a notification. Well, this section contains a “Bypass Lockscreen” option that automates the unlocking process as you tap on a notification. Unfortunately, the option is available in PRO version only.
While most of the options in the “Interaction” settings are available with the PRO version only, there are a couple of useful settings available if you are using the free version of the app. Chief among them is “Single Tap” that lets you decide what should happen when you tap a notification. The available options are Open Notifications (default), Expand to show full message, Clear notification, and more.
Moving on to the “Style” settings, as the name suggests, everything here caters to the look and feel of notifications, allowing you to change the notification background colour, type, position, animation, text, icons, and more.
And finally, there are some “Advanced” settings that let you customize various Notification Types.
- Offers some really cool features
- Very customizable
- Not all the features are available with the free version
- Requires a bit of initial tinkering to make it functional
While I won’t say Android’s current notification system is not good, I would agree that Floatify brings a sense of intelligence with its notifications, especially the way they grab your attention and the ability to turn them off while working with specific applications. The app is a must have for those who work with full screen mode a lot.