When Google showed off Android L during Google I/O last week one of the major aspects that Google focused on was notifications. Android L handles notifications quite differently from Android 4.4 KitKat and previous versions, both visually and in how you interact with them. That’s great and all, and with the small amount of time I’ve spent with Android L, they look better and the lockscreen benefits from this fresh approach as well. In L, it’s perhaps easier to figure out if a notification is going to be worth your time or not, and then swipe it away. One thing was missing from the Developer Preview of L though, and pretty much everyone that’s tried it is more than likely wishing for its return; the clear all button.
Thankfully though, the enterprising Koushik Dutta – you know him as Koush – has developed a simple app that brings this functionality back to Android L. Simply dubbed ‘Clear’, this simple download brings a clear all button to the top of all your other notifications, allowing you to quickly dismiss those notifications en mass. These days, it can be pretty difficult to cut through all the noise and if you’re active on Google+, Facebook or Twitter (or all three of them), link a couple of email accounts to your device and use SMS and other messenger apps then you’re notification shade soon gets pretty crowded. For years now, the clear all button has offered sweet and instant relief to these pesky icons. Koush’s app can be downloaded here bringing that sweet relief back.
We’re not sure why Google didn’t put this functionality in the preview, and there’s no telling if this is a permanent change. Besides, the L Preview is just that, it’s a preview. Things are going to change and we’re sure Google is reading all the feedback they’re getting and being careful with what changes make the final cut in the Fall. When redesigning an interface like L does, it’s hard to remember that it’s not all about looks. How something works makes a big difference to the overall experience and if being able to blitz your notifications makes things better, then we’re sure Google will consider reintroducing the future.