Pixel phone with hidden notifications.

With so much of the Android expirience revolving around notifications, it’s very frustrating to realize you missed one. What if it was urgent? What if it was really important? We’ll help you find some of the reasons why this happens.

This usually happens under the guise of “battery optimizations.” Some manufacturers are more guilty of doing this than others. Samsung, for example, is one of the biggest offenders. Google Pixel phones, on the other hand, pretty much don’t do it at all. Let’s take a look at what might be happening.

Notifications are Turned Off

Toggle channels off or on.

This may seem obvious, but it’s like making sure your computer is plugged in before calling tech support. Let’s get the simplest explanation out of the way first.

Android notifications can be complicated. You could easily turn something off without realizing it. Apps can send a wide variety of notifications to your phone—the different types of notifications are organized into “channels.”

Before you start diving into the other solutions, do a quick check to see if all the notifications you want to get are enabled. Taking some time to do this will greatly improve your experience.

RELATED: How to Customize Notifications for Android Apps

The App Is Being “Optimized”

Now select "Optimize Battery Usage."

All Android apps and games are put into two battery-related buckets—“optimized” or “not optimized.” High-priority apps like the Dialer and SMS messenger are automatically set as “not optimized.” This means they will never be killed in the background to save battery.

Third-party apps are typically put in the “optimized” bucket. This means they can be killed if they haven’t been used for a while. However, what constitutes “a while” can vary greatly from device to device. Samsung is much more aggressive about it than most others.

Thankfully, you can manually disable these optimzations for any app or game very easily. In most cases, this will solve any problems with missing notifications.

“Adaptive Battery” Is Too Aggressive


Android 9 introduced a feature called “Adaptive Battery.” It uses some fancy technology to learn how you use your phone and prioritize the apps you use the most. Apps that aren’t used often are restricted in the background.

This feature improves over time, so if you’ve noticed issues with battery life or missed notifications with a brand new phone, it may just need some time to adjust. However, Adaptive Battery is certainly not perfect. You may wish to simply turn it off.

To disable Adaptive Battery, open the Settings app and search for “Adaptive Battery.” Toggle the switch off to disable the feature.

RELATED: How to Search the Settings Menu on Android

Do Not Disturb Is On

Do Not Disturb on a Google Pixel

Even if you have notifications enabled and all the battery optimizations disabled, you could have another notification-blocking feature to think about. “Do Not Disturb” mode often blocks notifications, depending on how you set it up.

“Do Not Disturb” is a broad name for a suite of tools designed to limit distractions. It can be set up to block notifications from some apps, but allow them from others. This could be the reason why you’re missing some notifications.

The “Do Not Disturb” settings vary by device, but we have guides for Samsung Galaxy and Google Pixel phones. The steps will be similar for other Android devices as well. Follow along with the guides and pay close attention to which apps are being blocked.

RELATED: How to Set up Do Not Disturb on Samsung Galaxy Phones

It’s annoying when phone manufacturers sacrifice usability for the sake of battery life. Most people wouldn’t choose to miss notifications for a few extra minutes of juice. Hopefully, with these suggestions, you’re able to clean things up.

RELATED: How to Turn off 5G on Android (to Save Battery Life)

Profile Photo for Joe Fedewa Joe Fedewa
Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has been covering consumer technology for over a decade and previously worked as Managing Editor at XDA-Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
Read Full Bio »