How To: Disable Heads-up notifications in Android Lollipop

I have a love/hate relationship with Lollipop’s Heads-up notifications. Most of the times, I find them useful but every once in a while, one is going to pop-up while I’m doing something important and have no desire to be interrupted.

When this happens, you have to dismiss them yourself (or take action), unless you prefer waiting 10 seconds until they go away on their own. I learned to live with Heads-up notifications but this may not be the case for many other people.

The problem is, Android doesn’t let you customize the behavior of these notifications. The OS only lets you disable all notifications, but that’s hardly ideal. Even if Heads-up notifications were inspired from iOS, the latter does allow users to enable/disable each type of notification separately.

Luckily, there’s almost always a developer willing to fix Google’s mistakes and it applies in this case as well.

HeadsOff - Play Store


HeadsOff is a handy app that lets you disable the often annoying heads-up alerts, but you will still be able to get notifications. All you have to do is install the app from the Play Store, and it won’t ask for any permissions (quite refreshing, right?).

HeadsOff - App permissions

Then, open the app and tap on the first tile in the upper left area of the main screen where it says “Start the app”.

HeadsOff - Main window

This will take you to another screen where you’ll have to give the app notification access. Once you do, Heads-up notifications are disabled.

HeadsOff - Disable Heads-up & Settings

That’s as far as the free version of HeadsOff can take you, but after it was updated to version 2.0, several premium features were added. The most important one lets you disable notifications on a per app basis – something Lollipop should have allowed us to begin with.  Furthermore, you can customize how notifications are displayed on the lock screen, although you can access this option from Android’s Settings app as well.

With HeadsOff Pro you can also enable ticker text in the notification bar with the possibility to opt for an extended one. The pro version costs $2, totally worth buying if you find these options useful. Even the free version is useful, despite its limitation, but it cause have one particular annoyance. For as long as you’re using it it will show a persistent Heads-up notification which only goes away if you uninstall the app or buy the pro key.

HeadsOff – Play Store download

HeadsOff ProKey – Play Store download

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