Samsung devices running Android 5.1.1 upwards

Please note that the below document is applicable to version 3.55.2 of Light Flow and above.

Quick summary of settings required

  • Make sure "Led indicator" is on in your phone settings, sounds and notifications
  • Enable Notification Access and Accessibility when prompted in Light Flow
  • Enable the Samsung workaround when prompted
  • Switch off the notification led option in apps which allow it such as Facebook, twitter, Whatsapp in their app settings
  • If using SMS/Messenger go into lightflow, notification settings, sms and on the first tab set the last 4 options to:
    - off
    - on
    - off
    - on
  • Read below for more details


When Samsung pushed out 5.1.1 to their phones they made a change to how their LED control works. Previously it worked like other Android phones, but now it's non-standard there seems little logic to how it's controlled.

I'd been getting reports of the LED not working and just flashing blue so decided to buy an S6 edge to specifically look into it.

It took a couple of weeks of writing sample apps try and get any understanding of how the control was working, but eventually I worked out a pattern.

One part of the issue is regaining control of the LED once it's turned blue and I'd had to do similar on the S3 for the USA version when initially released so I knew of a method that I thought should work. Sadly since I'd last used that, android permissions have changed around a lot and now only system apps could use this trick. I then spent a week trying several different ideas which all lead to dead-ends on gaining control.

Another week of late nights and I worked out a method to gain control which I've now implemented into Light Flow

Recommended settings

Rooted users
Firstly, if you've got root access on your phone, then that's the simplest.
Go into Light Flow, settings->device settings and root
And enable:
  • root mode
  • Samsung root mode 
Then go into your phone settings, sounds and notifications and switch off "Led indicator".

Standard users
If your phone is not rooted, then the following settings are required:

  • Notification Access must be enabled when prompted in the app to enable it.
  • Accessibility must be enabled when promoted by the app
  • "Enable workaround" must also be enabled.
Any apps that have the option to display a notification LED in them should be set to off.
Apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Snapchat and twitter all have this option. This allows Light Flow to keep control of the LED.

Some apps don't have this option but there are similar apps that can be used instead which have the option.
  • For example, Gmail doesn't have the option by "Inbox by Gmail" does.
  • Messenger doesn't have the option but many 3rd party texting apps do.
For apps where there's no alternate app with more control or where you don't want to change app Light Flow will control the LED for them, but it'll have a few side-effects on the actual notifications which are listed below.

Side-effects of the workaround

There are a few side-effects for Light Flow controlling apps where the native app is raising a notification.
  • You may get duplicate vibrations and sound if using the native app to control them instead of Light Flow
  • Some apps may just show a "star" in the notification bar when the notification arrives. See below to help with this issue if running Android 5.1.1. With Android 6.0 upwards it's now possible to automatically set the correct icon (Light Flow version 3.61.12 upwards)
  • If the notification is expandable and has buttons then if the button doesn't launch the app then the notification will persist. For example Gmail shows an "Archive" and "Reply" button. If you press "Archive" the archive process will happen but the notification will still persist. Just swipe away to clear it. For the "Reply" button, when it's pressed enters Gmail to reply and therefore clears the notification automatically.
  • If an app can normally remotely clear a notification (for example when you view a Gmail on another device) this notification won't automatically clear.
Note that all these side-effects only happen for apps without the option to switch the led off that would normally show one.

Help changing the "Star" notification into a real one

The workaround to keep control of the notifications is quite complex and there's no automatic way to change this to the real icon as a change needs to be made to Light Flow for each notification type if running Android 5.1.1
Getting the icons required for this for several thousand apps would be far too time consuming, but you can help.

If there's an app that shows you a "star" where you'd normally see the real icon, Light Flow will have automatically created a backup of that icon and placed it into a /lightflow/app_icons directory.

If you email the files in this directory to then I'll add them into the next release.

Future plans

I plan to keep looking into different ways to get things working with fewer side-effects and also to chase Samsung regarding their inconsistent approach to LED control that they have introduced.

Copyright Reactle Ltd