How to Enable Notification History on Your Android (And Why You Should Do It)

June Wan/ZDNet

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve either accidentally deleted a notification I really needed to read, or swiped one away… only to find out I should have been paying attention. In previous iterations of Android, it wasn’t easy to track down dismissed notifications. In some cases it was simply impossible, meaning you could have missed something and would never know until it was too late. The meeting is over, the opportunity is gone, or the party is over. That’s changed dramatically over the years and now it’s easy to see your entire history for the last 24 hours.

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You read that right… 24 hours. While Android makes it easy to view your history, it doesn’t keep the entire backlog of notifications. That’s a smart move, since not only would a whole history of notifications eat up local storage space, your phone would eventually become so slow it would be unusable. Ergo the 24-hour limitation. There used to be trusted apps that could be installed and used to log notifications. Unfortunately, these apps are either untrustworthy, haven’t been updated in a while, are too expensive to be viable, or just don’t work anymore. Additionally, if there is a built-in function, I always recommend using it via a third-party app (for security reasons).

But even if you’re limited to the last 24 hours, it’s still a very handy feature that I have available and use frequently.

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There are two ways to access your notification history, both of which are very simple. Which one you use depends on which version of Android you’re using. I’ll be demonstrating on Android 12, but the process is the same for Android 11 and 13.

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How to enable notification history

Pull down the notification shade twice from the top of your screen and tap the gear icon under the quick tiles section to open your phone’s settings.

In the Settings app, tap Notifications to go to notification settings.

Access notification history in Android 12.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Tap on “Notification History” and tap the On/Off slider to enable the feature. Since you just activated it, you won’t find any items listed. You should receive notifications shortly, which will now be logged.

Enable notification history.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNETHow to access notification history

Now that it’s enabled, there are three ways to access notification history. The first is the easiest. Pull down your notification shade once, then scroll to the bottom of your notifications. You should now see a history button.

Figure 3. History button added to your notification panel.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Tap History to access your notifications for the last 24 hours.

Figure 4: Your whole story is yours!

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Tapping on one of these notification entries will either open the app that sent the notification or the settings for that app from which you can access the app. So when you tap a Slack notification entry in History, the Slack app will open.

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You can also access your Settings app from the options you reach by swiping down on the notification bar twice. At the bottom, tap the Settings gear icon, then Notifications, then Notification History like you did to turn it on. This takes you to the same window as the “History” button in the Notifications panel, which shows your recent notifications.

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One caveat with this, in my experience, is that tapping on a notification within the notification window opens the specific message/email/event associated with the notification, while tapping within settings just opens the app or, like Google Drive, only the notification settings for this app.

The third way to view your notifications history is to swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open your app drawer, tap the Settings cog icon and select Notifications, then Notifications history.

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However you access it, it’s a great way to make sure you don’t accidentally miss a notification from an app or service on your Android device.

Frequently Asked QuestionsIs there a way to view all your past Android notifications?

In short, no. Android only saves notifications from the last 24 hours so they don’t clutter up local storage on your phone. At a certain point, all that locally stored data would slow the phone down to the point of becoming unresponsive, hence the 24 hour limit. There used to be third-party apps on the Google Play Store that were viable options, but these are either unavailable, untrustworthy, or unaffordable for many.