How to add LED-style alerts to your Android

Wish your phone could display a visual alert when you have a new message?

A lot of Android smartphones don't have an LED that can display color-coded alerts like the G1 or Nexus One. It's pretty handy to simply glance at your phone and already know if the alert you were out of earshot for is actually something important to check. NoLED is a useful little app that allows you to see a small colored dot or icon on your screen which will identify your different alerts received.

Note: It's recommended that you only use NoLED on AMOLED screens because it is not as battery-friendly on SLCD screens; however, it can be used on most handsets.

Step 1: Download and install NoLED from the Android Market.

Step 2: Enable NoLED on your phone.

After the app installs, you will need to either power cycle your phone or add the widget for NoLED to one of your Home screens. To add a widget: long-press on a Home screen with open space, choose Widgets, and then NoLED. Make sure the "Switch NoLED on" check box is marked when you open the app.

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma

Step 3: Customize your color notifications and icons.

When you open the NoLED app there will be choices for Icons or Colors in the main menu. You can then choose which icons to use and which size you'd like, along with the colors assigned to individual alerts.

Choose which alerts will display as actual icons. Screenshot by Nicole Cozma
Choose the colors of the dots and/or icons. Screenshot by Nicole Cozma

Once you're all set up, your results will look like one of the following:

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma

Other features this app offers:

Battery-saving features: Timeouts can be set for notifications, the brightness of alert icons/colored dots can be adjusted, along with other options.

Sleep times: NoLED can be programmed not to display alerts between certain times of the day, especially when you're... sleeping.

Audio Reminder: If you miss alerts often, this is yet another fail safe to make sure you get your messages. The timer can be adjusted to sound off a custom-picked ringtone to let you know you missed an alert.

This app will even allow you to pick where the dots or icons will appear, and other settings associated with their movement and display on the phone's screen--and it's all free!

You may be wondering if this app will drain your battery. The simple answer is yes, but all apps will drain battery power the more you use them. Rendering an all-black screen with a small colored dot or icon doesn't drain as much as you'd think on an AMOLED screen, and is not likely to heavily affect your daily battery life.

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About the author

Nicole Cozma has an affinity for Android apps and devices, but loves technology in general. Based out of the Tampa Bay Area, she enjoys being a spectator to both sunsets and lightning storms.



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