Every smartphone has a built-in flashlight, but back in the day, many Android phones featured another hardware light: an LED that shined whenever you received a new notification or alert — a gentle nudge that you needed to check your phone, but a few steps removed from the entire screen lighting up. In 2021, few phones include the hardware for such a feature, but that doesn’t mean it’s gone for good.
Since we can’t build an LED into a smartphone without some serious engineering, the next best thing is to accomplish the same thing using software. The app bringing back the LED notification light is called aodNotify. Samsung Galaxy S21, S20, and S10 users, as well as OnePlus owners, might recognise the name, as developer Jawomo first created the app to add notification lights to those devices. Now, Jawomo has also developed a version for the Pixel line.
aodNotify allows you to add a notification ring around the camera cutout on your Pixel. While this ring looks awesome on its own, you can also choose to add a light along the screen’s edge or a light in the status bar at the top of the display, the latter of which nicely replicates the LED experience on older Android phones.
Jawomo claims the app uses minimal battery life to accomplish this; the LED functionality is the most taxing, using 3% battery per hour, while other modes take up varying lesser degrees, from .05% per hour to 1.5% per hour.
The app uses the Pixel’s Always On Display to make this feature work; the OLED panel on your Pixel 6 or 6 Pro allows aodNotify to only display the notification light in your chosen location, without illuminating any other areas of the screen. That, alongside the Pixel 6’s Tensor chip, is what allows this feature to claim such low battery consumption.
Once you set it up, you’re able to customise the light. You can assign specific colours to certain contacts and apps so you know who’s messaging you which app is trying to get your attention by looking at the colour of the LED. And, of course, you can choose exactly where you’d like the light to sit on the display.
This app has been tested and is compatible with Pixel 6, 6 Pro, Pixel 5, and Pixel 4a devices. However, you should also be able to install it on older Pixel devices. Its performance may vary, and you might run into compatibility issues; Jawomo says other Pixel devices are currently in testing, so hopefully we will see an expanded list of supported devices in time.
All that said, the app itself is still in early access on Pixel, so it isn’t officially finished. Even on tested devices, you might run into issues. Keep that in mind as you attempt to relive the glory days of LED notifications. (If you have a OnePlus or Galaxy phone, however, you shouldn’t experience these problems, as that app version has been around for more than a year now.)
Follow the links below to try aodNotify on your compatible phone: