Android 14 is inching closer to its full release and developers have uncovered a handy new feature that'll stop apps and games from hijacking your screen with notifications or ads.
As spotted by Android commentator Mishaal Rahman (below) and Android Police, Android 14 contains a new option to turn off full-screen notifications in your settings. It seems this will be under a new settings option called 'Manage full-screen notifications'.
You'll then be able to turn these notifications off by app, while leaving some of the more important ones – like alarms and phone calls – switched on so you don't miss any crucial alerts.
In Android 14, you can manually revoke the USE_FULL_SCREEN_INTENT permission from apps so they can't send you full-screen notifications. Later this year, Google Play will auto revoke this permission from newly installed apps that don't provide calling or alarm functionality! pic.twitter.com/plCSZDz94fAugust 9, 2023
But Google apparently won't be stopping there. In its Android developer release notes for behavior changes in all apps, Google says "at the end of 2023" it'll stop all apps from being able to serve up full-screen notifications, unless the apps provide calling functions or alarms.
Google says that this is because "full-screen intent notifications are designed for extremely high-priority notifications demanding the user's immediate attention", and some apps have seemingly been abusing this feature to provide lower priority messages.
That said, you'll still likely need to manually turn off the permission for many apps, even when Android 14 lands. This is because, as Google says, the full-screen notification permission "remains enabled for apps installed on the phone before the user updates to Android 14".
Android goes big on privacy
Android 14 may have some more attention-grabbing features like improved lock screen customizations, but these notification controls are part of some welcome user experience tweaks that'll collectively have a big impact on your phone (if it's among the supported devices).
For example, in the same release notes, Google says you'll also be able to give apps only "partial access" to photos and videos, which means you'll be able to select specific files rather than giving an app the keys to your entire library.
Clearly, Google is on a mission to boost the privacy within Android 14, which should launch in its final release soon. We recently saw the arrival of an unexpected fifth beta for the operating system, which delivered some big fixes for issues like its Wi-Fi scanning using too much battery juice.
But unless there's a sixth beta – which seems unlikely given that Android 13 had just four, and Android 12 had five – you can expect Android 14 to land in September, mostly likely before the expected iPhone 15 launch on September 12.
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Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on Stuff.tv, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.