Go onto an Android phone’s sound settings, and odds are you’ll find that ring and notification volumes are tied together. A handful of devices, including the best Samsung phones, aren’t quite so restrictive, and it sounds like Android 14 could follow that example.
Pixel users running the Android 14 Developer Preview 2 have started noticing separate notification and ringtone sliders on their phone. It’s a feature that wasn’t available when the preview first arrived, and it’s likely to make a bunch of people pretty pleased.
Old school Pixel phones used to offer separate sliders for ring and notification volumes. Google later removed this feature for reasons unknown, and there have been calls from users to reinstate it. This means Google has been paying attention, with journalist Mishaal Rahman noting that the feature has been present since the Android 13 QPR2 beta — just hidden from sight.
Google added this feature in Android 13 QPR2, as I first reported in December. The feature is gated by a DeviceConfig flag ("volume_separate_notification" under the "systemui" namespace), but it appears Google remotely toggled the flag for users on DP2.https://t.co/St2KP4AbjXMarch 17, 2023
Until now users could only access this feature by enabling the right flag. Now it seems Google has done that remotely for everyone running the latest developer preview. That suggests ordinary users may be able to enjoy the feature when Android 14 launches later this year.
Giving Android 14 users more control
There are some obvious benefits to being able to have notification alerts and ringtones running at different volumes. Super-loud notification alerts are extremely annoying for everyone around you, and usually aren’t that important. Ringtones are equally annoying, but they're rarer and have a better chance of being important as a result.
Unless it’s a scam call, of course, in which case the opposite set-up might be true. You can be aware of notifications as and when they happen, but still have the option to ignore any and all phone calls. There are a bunch of possibilities to consider, and having control of separate ringtone and notification volume sliders gives you the choice to set up your phone in a way that suits you best.
There’s been no word from Google yet, so we don’t know whether this change was deliberate or not. We’re just going to have to wait and see whether the feature appears at some point in the near future — be it Android 14, the Android 13 QPR3 beta or an upcoming feature drop.
Personally, I’m hoping that this wasn’t a mistake. I generally keep my phone on vibrate all the time, but it would be nice to have the option to change things up if I ever felt the need. After all, the great thing about using Android is the amount of choice you get — even if you choose not to bother.