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Surprise! The Nexus 6 has a hidden LED notification light

Surprise! The Nexus 6 has a hidden LED notification light
Google loves LED notification lights on its Nexus devices, but it doesn't always put them to use. In fact, Google doesn't always even let anyone know that the LED exists in the device at all. That's what has happened with the Nexus 6, which it turns out has its own hidden LED notification light; although, you can't do much with it unless you're a root user.

It turns out that the Nexus 6 has an LED light in a somewhat odd place - behind the top speaker grille. It is a full RGB LED light, but as noted before, you can't use it unless you have rooted your system. And, even then, the options are basically non-existent because there is no software to properly take advantage of it. Light Flow can't interact with it correctly, and reports are saying no matter what color you choose with it, the LED displays green. However, as you can see below, other colors can be displayed. 

It should also be noted that this is nothing new for Motorola devices. Both the new Moto X, the old Moto X, and all of the DROIDs have hidden LED lights that are only used to indicate when the battery is depleted so much that the phone can't turn on the display at all. This feature doesn't seem to be part of the Nexus 6, but the light is there anyway. 


source: XDA via pocketnow

47 Comments
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posted on 21 Nov 2014, 19:42 2

1. Neo_Huang (Posts: 1067; Member since: 06 Dec 2013)


Whaaaaaaaat.....

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 19:42 4

2. downphoenix (Posts: 3165; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)


what is even the point if it's not going to be used?

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 21:08 4

15. MuddyCow (Posts: 67; Member since: 09 Oct 2014)


Easter egg, ok no...

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 21:30

18. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 12503; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)


It's an indicator for the battery being completely dead. This isn't a new thing for Moto phones.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 22:20

24. vincelongman (Posts: 4249; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)


Light Flow is great
E.g. you can set red for low battery/missed call, white for email, green for txt
So you can tell you have a notification and which type, without having to turn your phone's screen on (saving power)
I'm surprised Google doesn't have this in stock Android yet

posted on 22 Nov 2014, 05:52

32. Leo_MC (Posts: 1272; Member since: 02 Dec 2011)


How much power can one drain from glancing at the screen?! 0.000001%?

posted on 22 Nov 2014, 12:41

46. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3806; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


"How much power can one drain from glancing at the screen?! 0.000001%?"

Some Nexus 6 owners are reporting a 50% drop in battery life if ambient display is enabled. An LED is far more efficient with battery life and far easier to see across the room.

But Google wants subliminal lockscreen images to flash... to get people ready to receive the subliminal commands Google will send you in Android 6.66 :)

posted on 22 Nov 2014, 09:59

41. medicci37 (Posts: 1272; Member since: 19 Nov 2011)


Someone obviously didn't read the whole article before commenting

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 21:31

19. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 12503; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)


For the battery

posted on 22 Nov 2014, 06:18

35. UglyFrank (Posts: 1622; Member since: 23 Jan 2014)


The parts probably come with this built in but since they used active display, they've disabled it.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 19:51

5. fzacek (Posts: 2486; Member since: 26 Jan 2014)


Very interesting. My OG Moto X has this too...

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 20:35

12. Scott93274 (Posts: 4398; Member since: 06 Aug 2013)


I never noticed it... maybe because I don't have an issue with the battery getting too low.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 19:53

6. YourNickname (Posts: 127; Member since: 14 Aug 2014)


this is awesome. must use when app is available. Hate ambient display and its 25% battery drain.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 19:57 12

7. hellbread (Posts: 309; Member since: 21 Nov 2014)


Maybe even Google didnt know its there...
:-)

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 20:21 2

9. palmguy (Posts: 518; Member since: 22 Mar 2011)


I want my light to turn on now. :(
Come oon update Moto X 2013!

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 20:36

13. Scott93274 (Posts: 4398; Member since: 06 Aug 2013)


It'll come before Christmas I think. I wouldn't expect Motorola to release it before all of this year's phones receive it.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 20:22 4

10. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 3689; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)


Personally I find notification LEDs to be pointless, the only practical use I can think of is to check if you've got any notification at a glance. Moto's active display is the best implementation IMO.

posted on 22 Nov 2014, 02:17 2

30. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3535; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)


But they're cool :) Especially on the Z2 and Oppo Find 7

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 20:38 1

14. Qbancelli (Posts: 75; Member since: 11 Mar 2010)


No.
Active Display suks!

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 21:26

17. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 3689; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)


Oh really? Why exactly?

posted on 22 Nov 2014, 00:19 1

27. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)


Because after an active display shuts off you can't tell if you have a notification. It's actually one of the main reasons I can't use an iPhone.

If Moto was to match the notification light in my use case, it would need to be on until I see it, which isn't feasible because A, there is no way of the phone telling that I have seen the notification from across the room. B that would drain much more battery than the notification light blinking until I check my notifications.

But hey, if they can leave active display on until I close it with it not affecting my battery life at all I would be okay with that. But currently it goes back to sleep after what? 30 seconds?

Even still, the flashing light sometimes catches the corner of my eye better than even a phone ring or vibration.

The notification light is WAY better. It can flash all day without even using half a percent of battery life. Not everyone checks their phone every 5 minutes to catch an active display before it goes back to sleep.

If I go out for a jog and come back inside my room. I look at the phone and if I see no notification light, I shower. Once I get out of the shower and I look at the phone on my table, I ignore it unless I see a notification light.

So in that situation. I could have missed who knows how many active display notifications.

If I see the light, I pick it up and I miss nothing.

posted on 22 Nov 2014, 01:44

29. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 3689; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)


Just wave your hand over Moto X's display (2nd gen only), it will show the notifications.

posted on 22 Nov 2014, 03:13 1

31. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)


If I walk over to wave my hand over it, I might as well just pick up the phone and wake it. With a notification light I can glance over to my phone 12 feet away and know if I have to go over to pick it up or not. Huge difference.

posted on 22 Nov 2014, 05:53 2

34. mixedfish (Posts: 1164; Member since: 17 Nov 2013)


How do you know to wave your hand over the phone when you don't know you have a notification.

Dumb.

posted on 22 Nov 2014, 09:47

39. adrewfryman (Posts: 44; Member since: 09 Aug 2014)


so basically youre saying you "cant" use an iphone because youre too lazy to press a button look at your screen then turn it off again? using up 0.01% of your battery(if that)

posted on 22 Nov 2014, 10:53 1

43. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)


It's not always on me or right in front of me. It has nothing to do with being lazy. It's just super inconvenient to have to walk over to your desk to check your phone all the time for emails, texts, and calls. Unlike you, I am usually busy when I am 12 feet away from my desk. A notification light let's me know if I need to be near my phone or not. Its convienent and that's exactly what a smartphone is supposed to be. Its funny that a company who supposedly prides themselves on ease of use doesn't include one of the most convenient features of phones that came before it.

Nothing to do with being lazy. Saying your too lazy to pick up your phone and turn it off again is like saying your too lazy to go into a settings menu to access your dialer or text messaging app. If I had to go to settings to text someone its just one step but its still a deal breaker. Same with having no notification light. If I am working 12 feet away from my desk and I left my phone on the desk, I want to able to know what's happening without walking over and grabbing it. That's exactly what a notification light does.

Its especially important with a big phone like the Nexus 6 or iPhone 6 plus where its too big to have it on you at all times.

posted on 22 Nov 2014, 20:46

54. adrewfryman (Posts: 44; Member since: 09 Aug 2014)


If you buy a phone that you cant have on you all the time that's your own fault and you should probably buy a razr. and if its such an " inconvenient to have to walk over to your desk to check your phone" you kind of just described lazy.

Also if you'd like to elaborate on your second paragraph, your not making much sense. Are you promoting being able to call and text without having to open an app (which takes all of no effort to do but a slight move of your thumb) And if you had to open an app to call someone or text a person you wouldn't be able to use that phone? because that's what i got out of it, further proving my 1st statement about you being lazy as sh*t.

posted on 22 Nov 2014, 22:44 1

55. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)


Um it is obvious that you can't read. Are you telling me that you have your phone 100% of the time? What if you have no pockets in your shorts or no man purse. You have to leave it somewhere.

As for my second paragraph, it's pretty obvious if you know how to read.

What I am saying is if you have to enter the settings menu to access the dialer, which should be on your home screen, you wouldn't buy that phone. Even if it only takes a second to enter the settings menu. That is just poor design. Just like not having a notification light is a poor design.

posted on 24 Nov 2014, 07:58

61. adrewfryman (Posts: 44; Member since: 09 Aug 2014)


Because i am a human and have learned to evolve and realize that my phone is important i do have it on me all the time. I do not own any pants or shorts without pockets(that's the real poor design) and what phone do you ave where you have to go into the settings to call someone(which is still only a swipe of your thumb and takes 0.1 seconds to do and no effort what so ever) and it amazes me that you would buy pants without pockets(whet about your wallet or keys?) before you would buy a phone that you'd have to open an app to call someone. btw there's tweaks for an iphone where you can call someone from any app, and im sure theres something like that for android so the hypothetical problem you stated isnt even a legit concern

posted on 24 Nov 2014, 08:01

62. adrewfryman (Posts: 44; Member since: 09 Aug 2014)


also your description of your second paragraph pretty much mirrors my thoughts on it. So maybe it is you that cannot read.

posted on 22 Nov 2014, 16:38

50. strudelz100 (Posts: 644; Member since: 20 Aug 2014)


I hate the light for the same reason.

It blinks until I respond. Even when I do not want to respond. I don't want to be interrupted either while Im busy.

posted on 22 Nov 2014, 22:45 1

56. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)


It's pretty easy to ignore if you are too busy and pretty easy to see when you are waiting for something important.

posted on 23 Nov 2014, 03:04

59. 0xFFFF (Posts: 3806; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


"I hate the light for the same reason."

Are you sure it's not because the light turns you to stone? :)

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 21:18 1

16. networkdood (Posts: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


Cool..I get my Nexus 6 on Monday... Giggity!!

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 21:43 1

20. Planterz (Posts: 2046; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)


If you've rooted, you can use Lightflow to enable LED notifications.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 22:05

21. theguy2345 (Posts: 1212; Member since: 24 Jun 2014)


Why would they put it in there, but not use it? Doesn't make sense, unless they didn't finish adding the feature in and it will come in a future update. The notification light pretty useful, especially with displaying battery info.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 22:12 1

23. Planterz (Posts: 2046; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)


Yeah, that's a bit of a head-scratcher. Kinda like the band 4 LTE modem on the Nexus 4. Maybe Motoroloa (or Google, who knows?) expected that custom ROM developers would want a notification LED in case the Active Display wasn't portable. If that's the case, it's excellent foresight. That would mean that they're well aware of the independent mod/dev community and support their efforts - after all, 5.0 Lollipop borrows features from custom ROMs like CyanogenMod and Paranoid Android.

posted on 21 Nov 2014, 22:22

25. theguy2345 (Posts: 1212; Member since: 24 Jun 2014)


I bet they can activate it later. By the looks of it, lollipop was rushed and maybe they didn't have time to add it in. But only time will tell

posted on 22 Nov 2014, 11:27

44. caustictoast (Posts: 31; Member since: 07 Aug 2012)


They probably use it as a diagnosis light for any problems before the screen is put in. That or it came standard on the board and they didn't really want to make an entirely new one just to remove one component. It would be far more expensive to use a custom motherboard then one you have with 1 extra piece. I highly doubt it'll ever be activated by Google.

posted on 22 Nov 2014, 00:23

28. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)


Not adding one in the Nexus 9 was stupid too. Google really messed up this year.

posted on 22 Nov 2014, 08:29

37. ZombieHunter (Posts: 46; Member since: 13 Oct 2013)


It's an LED light folks... relax... it's only a light....I'm sure you can go 12 minutes without checking on your facebook notifications and those important spam emails.

posted on 22 Nov 2014, 09:56

40. Epicness1o1 (Posts: 268; Member since: 30 May 2013)


Maybe we will find a sd card slot too :D

posted on 22 Nov 2014, 10:27

42. simpleas (Posts: 196; Member since: 30 Apr 2014)


Exactly, Epicness1o1, since the phone is a failure, lets hide a led light and maybe that'll lighten them up... and it did as you can see in the comments.

posted on 22 Nov 2014, 12:30

45. smdpa (banned) (Posts: 25; Member since: 06 Oct 2014)


Woow! What an "innovation", Giggle and Motorola! A LED light indicator, how clever! By the way, did you guys checked, that Nokia with Symbian and now with Windows phone has this like 10 years ago, it is much more clever and it's called "GLANCE"?! :))))) Hahahaha! I really feel sorry for the poor Handroid mass out there, switching on their phones every time they need to see the time or a missed sms or a call. Pathetic.

posted on 22 Nov 2014, 13:00 1

47. Planterz (Posts: 2046; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)


You've completely missed the point, bub.

posted on 22 Nov 2014, 23:34

57. paragkarki (Posts: 29; Member since: 09 Nov 2014)


and blackberry did that ages before..

posted on 23 Nov 2014, 05:48

60. 3abr86 (Posts: 4; Member since: 26 Sep 2014)


it would have been nice if the LED glowed in a linear fashion like Oppo Find7 rather than a dot..!

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