How to access and read dismissed notifications in Android

How to access and read dismissed notifications in Android
Android users, have you ever dismissed a notification by instinct without reading its contents carefully? Don't worry – most of us have done that at some point, and it is no big deal if you think about it. After all, figuring out which app required your attention should be pretty easy. In some rare instances, however, you might not be able to tell where the notification came from. That's when your phone's notification log might comes in handy in case you want to bring the missed notification back.

Now, don't worry if you've never heard about the Android notification log. As a matter of fact, it might not be accessible on your phone at all – only select Android devices, among which are those phones and tablets running stock or near-stock Android, allow it to be opened without additional apps or modifications. And the way it is accessed is far from obvious. For some strange reason, opening the said log is done from the stock Android Settings widget.

To reiterate, the Settings widget, which acts as a shortcut to the notification log, does not come pre-installed on all Android phones and tablets. That's why the method described below might not work for you, unless you have a Nexus phone or a device running stock Android. 

With that out of the way, here are the steps you need to take to access all your recent notifications:

  1. Long-press on an empty spot anywhere your phone's home screen until a menu appears. Select "Widgets".
  2. Find a widget called "Settings". It has a size of 1x1 and it has a cogwheel for an icon. 
  3. Drag and drop the "Settings" widget on your homescreen. When released, a list of possible targets for the widget will appear.
  4. Find "Notification log" in the list and select it. At this point, a shortcut the said log will appear on your home screen.
  5. Press on the shortcut you just created to access and read your dismissed notifications.

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11 Comments

1. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

That...actually seems like a really useful tip. Thanks PhoneArena

3. lalalaman

Posts: 638; Member since: Aug 19, 2013

It was a feature of kitkat and I must say,its useful

4. AfterShock

Posts: 4146; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

Sweet, thanks PA!

6. araxala

Posts: 12; Member since: Jan 18, 2015

Works for my xperia z1 :) But instead of widgets select apps>shortcuts>settings>notifications

7. curtdragon

Posts: 22; Member since: Nov 13, 2014

I am able to get this widget but when I click on a notification all it does is open up the app info (like if you long press an app in the drawer and select app info. Nexus 6 with CM12

8. AfterShock

Posts: 4146; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

It's your notification history by app. I find that handy, goes back a ways.

9. ibap

Posts: 867; Member since: Sep 09, 2009

I'm running a Nexus 5 with a Cyanogenmod ROM, version just prior to Lollipop (which was causing me some trouble). It doesn't show up under Widgets, but if you choose Shortcuts and add the Settings shortcut, you can also choose the target.

10. maddy996

Posts: 126; Member since: Jan 06, 2014

NYc stuff PA ...it's working on Moto g

11. herewidnote3

Posts: 5; Member since: Jan 19, 2015

Not working on the note 3 (n900)

13. a961009

Posts: 120; Member since: Aug 04, 2011

On G3, there's setting widget but there's no notification log...

14. Diego1983

Posts: 1; Member since: Jul 21, 2015

I can't find the Settings widget shortcut on Android 5.0.2 Samsung S6, do you know where how I can reproduce your suggestion for Andriod 5?

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