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android lock screen notificationsDo you want to know something ridiculous? The awesome lock screen notifications Apple iOS users have been enjoying for years were, until recently, almost impossible to get on your Android device. This is ridiculous because of the insane number of apps that can practically change your life, yet not give you lock screen notifications?

First we’ll look at some of the awesome things iOS let’s you do (or rather, does for you) and then we’ll figure out once and for all how to level the playing field. Have your own dream app that you’re still waiting for? Be proactive and design it yourself with this top-rated Android 101 class on Android development for beginners.

Push (And Shove) Notifications

Clearly the rivalry between Android and iOS is fierce, but there’s really no excuse for this strange disparity, especially when the blame is 100% on Google for restricting push notification abilities from developers. Not until the most recent versions of Android (I believe 4.3 and 4.4) has Google finally allowed applications to attempt to use notifications. But it’s almost too late, because it still does not happen seamlessly and automatically like it does with iOS.

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The Beauty Of Push Notifications

Apple opened up the flood gates for push notifications years ago and the result is awesome: pretty much any app can be programmed to send you lock screen push notifications. If for some strange reason you don’t know what push notifications are, they are little messages that cause your otherwise dormant phone to beep, light-up and display, on the lock screen, a brief and concise notification. You don’t have to do anything except move your eyes to see what is going on in your cell world.

Just A Swipe Away: But it gets even better (at least, for iOS users). Let’s say Gmail sends you a push notification. Your phone beeps, lights up, and shows the message. You lazily cast your eyes downward and discover that you want to respond to this message. All you have to do is swipe sideways on said message and it takes you directly to it within the app. It’s that easy.

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Configuration: Other apps function differently (if you want them to), but just as sweetly. Snapchat, for example, displays a banner at the top of your phone, telling you who just sent you a Snap. Touch the banner and it takes you right to the Snap.

There’s no way around it: push notifications on a lock screen are a pleasure to use, even long after smartphone-shock wears off. And needless to say, all of Apple’s apps (message, phone, etc.) automatically use push notifications.

Getting It For Android

Being an Android user, you don’t want to mimic Apple exactly. But you basically want the same exact thing. Sure, you have the notification bar you can pull down, but the whole idea behind push notifications is it takes it a step further, into complete automation.

While a number of apps have recently been developed, many of them still require some form of interaction (Dynamic Notifications is a prime suspect) or even if they don’t, they fail to satisfy a certain aesthetic necessity (LockerPro, I’m looking at you).

LockerPro Responds

The same guys and gals who brought you the ugly LockerPro app picked up their game and released SlideLock (4+ stars and 9600+ reviews). Just like I mentioned when discussing iOS, SlideLock allows you to “slide” or swipe your notifications and in turn it takes you right where you need to be within the app.

It has some cool features not even iOS thought of. For example, you can more easily remove notifications, especially if an email thread quickly adds 50 notifications to your screen; just swipe the “Dismiss” button and you’ve got a clean slate.

Pros And Cons

The pros lie primarily in being able to customize the app. It’s also free, so there’s nothing to stop you from taking it for a spin. You can control which apps send you notifications, how they’re displayed, how the lock screen looks, when you do (or do not) want notifications to interrupt you, etc.

The one big con is security. While you can do things like “hide text” or “hide content,” you have no real security protection (that is, through the app itself). But unless you’re a corrupt politician, what’s there to hide?

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Page Last Updated: May 2014

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