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How to change the LED on Android

Have you ever wondered what the blinking LED light on your smartphone means, whether a Nexus 5 or a Galaxy Note 2? The manufacturer of your Android phone pre-installed software which causes the LED light to blink different colors in different patterns and lengths to represent various notifications. Instead of trying to figure out what the heck your smartphone is trying to say, you can easily control and customize these with a single app called Light Manager - LED Settings, which has all the various apps and settings in one easy to access overview.

nexus 5 led
/ © AndroidPIT

There are many apps that will do the trick but two of the best are Light Manager and LightFlow. Today we’ll take a closer look at Light Manager - LED Settings, the free version. The paid version simply removes ads and costs 1.50 USD from the Play Store. This app will only work on certain smartphones, so check out the Light Manager's FAQ document to see where you stand. The reason why a device wouldn't support an app is because different LED hardware or firmware are sometimes not compatible with the Android LED control API.

First install the app from the install button below.

After installation is complete, you must give the app access to the notifications settings of your device. You can do this by going into the Settings, then Security, Notification Access and finally check the box for Light Manager.

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The list of notification types to customize with your own LED color is extensive!  / © AndroidPIT

Light Manager’s main page offers:

  • the application settings for the actual Light Manager app
  • the LED settings for notifications from different apps, like missed calls, SMS, MMS, Hangouts, Email, Gmail, WhatsApp (devices with Android 4.1 - 4.2 require root for some apps)
  • the battery (when low, charging or charged) 
  • network connections (no signal / 3G or 4G or Wifi)
  • system status (for example airplane, vibrate, mobile data modes on/off
  • the last part is miscellaneous under which you find the option to test the LED and to see FAQs about the app itself.
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...this is the overview, continued! / © AndroidPIT

The depth to which you can customize the notifications for your various apps and system settings is pretty impressive, and you can create a whole new universe of blinking LED lights in various colors that are unique for you. You would have to take the time to discover all the ins and outs.

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You can customize color and flash rate among other things. © AndroidPIT

For example, if you are a WhatsApp user, you can enable LED light for notifications, determine the flash rate and color, and add a keyword of contact names of group and set its notifications. In the case of missed calls, you can have different LED colors per contact. If your main squeeze called you, you know it’s him or her before even touching your device. What’s more, you can also add (and remove) all your applications to Light Manager.

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One of the cool things you can do is customize the notifications for your different contacts. / © AndroidPIT

Do you know of any other apps to customize the LED? Have you done this yourself?


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  • Interesting article. Any idea if this app drains the battery?

    •   24
      Deactivated Account Jun 18, 2014 Link to comment

      It shouldn't drain the battery any more than the "normal" LED setting. LEDS in their nature are very energy efficient ;)

    • You could always try it out for a week or so and check the battery consumption too. I find that different devices can show different results so I tend to find out for myself.