Screen based Notification

Version 3.54.2 of Light Flow introduces a new method of getting notifications which is handy for phones that don't have a notification LED where you still want to get a visual notification of a notification.

Older version of Light Flow has a "Switch screen on" option for notifications, but it was a bit unreliable and only switched the screen on for approx 5 seconds without any control. It also caused some issues on phones where it switched the phones default screen timeout incorrectly.

This has all been replaced with a much more reliable method - now it's possible to set choose from a list of different lengths of time to switch the screen on for.

To use different switch on times first you have to grant Light Flow an administration right that allows it to instantly lock the screen. This can be access from

Light Flow->Settings->General settings and is the the option shown in the screenshot below

You will be promoted to enable the setting in android's system menus and then should have access.

Then to enable the "Switch screen on" option, go into Light Flow->Notification Settings and select a notification you want the screen to come on for.

At the bottom of the "Notification" tab you'll see 5 options which are described below:

  • Switch screen on - this switches the screen on when the notification first arrives.
  • Full Brightness - by default the screen will wake in a dim state, but you can change to full brightness. Note the brighter the screen the more battery will be used.
  • Screen on Length - allows you to select how long the screen should stay on for. Shorter times will use less battery.
  • Wake screen when in pocket - with this you can save some battery power by having the screen not switch on when it's in your pocket, in a case with the screen covered or when the phone is face down.
  • Repeating - this allows you to keep the screen flashing until the notification is cleared. As the repeating cycle of notifications is generic across all notification types the timings are set for this in another page described below.
Repeating notifications
If you select a repeating notification in notification settings you can change the settings for how often the screen switches on and for how long. This is accessed from Light Flow->Settings>Notification control style. As shown below

There are three settings for this

Cycle speed - How frequently the screen will switch on when the phone is locked to help you spot the outstanding notification. The faster this is set the more battery will be used as the screen will be on more often.

Wake screen when in pocket - if this is enabled then the screen will wake up even when in your pocket, face down or in a case with the screen covered and will therefore use more battery. 

Screen on length - the length of time the screen will stay on for. Note these timings are short to ensure not too much battery use. While testing some phones won't wake the screen on the shorted duration of 0.3 seconds and required slightly longer duration to give the phone time to switch the screen on before it's off again.

Live wallpaper
Up until now all the settings only switch the screen on. This can be handy for knowing you've a notification, but if you have the phone on a table across the room or on your desk you'll probably still have to go over to the phone to see what type of notification it is to decide if it's important enough to look at now.

We spent a while evaluating how to get a good visual notification onto the screen. We looked into lockscreen overlays but these enforce you to have an extra step before getting to your lockscreen which felt incontinent. 

After a bit of experimenting instead of showing an overlay on-top of the screen is seemed better to show something underneath the lock screen details so you can still view and unlock the phone as normal without any extra steps. A live wallpaper seemed the best approach to this.

There's a link in light flow's nav bar to access the live wallpaper or you can access control of it via the normal phone's wallpaper selection options. Once you've chosen Light Flow you can see the settings page:

The top section will show a default wallpaper but you can just select any images on your phone as an alternative picture.

Scrolling background - this should work on all devices but not all homescreens - some HTC and Samsung home screens will ignore this setting. The scrolling happens to move the wallpaper slightly as the homepage screen is scrolled fro one to the next - similar to on Nexus Devices with any wallpaper.

Lock screen notification display style
When you've got several outstanding notifications all set to repeat this option determines how to display them. You can either have one notification color show each time the screen wakes (ie cycle around each outstanding notification) or all colors show every time the screen wake.

Lock screen layout
This section determines how to display the outstanding notifications visually. 

Horizontal stripes - display a list of color bands across the screen horizontally for each outstanding notification (or just one notification if set to cycle colors)
Vertical stripes - as above but with the bands vertically
Side notifications - just show a color down the side of the screen and black for the rest of the screen

Below are a couple of examples:

Vertical stripes

Side notifications

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