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How to get silent mode on Nexus 5, Nexus 6 and Nexus 7 with Lollipop

Sometimes Google giveth, and sometimes Google taketh away. That’s definitely been the case with Lollipop. For all its many joys, the upgrade to Android Lollipop hasn’t been a joyous experience for everybody, especially Nexus owners. That’s because some features people had gotten used to have been removed, and one of the most obvious removals is silent mode. Here’s how to get silent mode on Nexus devices such as the Nexus 5, Nexus 6 and Nexus 10.

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Now you see it, now you don't: silent mode isn't in Lollipop on most Nexus devices. / © ANDROIDPIT

What did silent mode do?

You’ll be amazed to discover that silent mode was a mode that was silent. On pre-Lollipop devices, turning the volume down to zero would put the phone into vibration mode, where the ringer was off but the vibration was still enabled. Pressing volume-down once more would turn off the vibration too. You’d still get notifications, but they’d be purely visual. No beeps, no buzzes, no chirps, no chimes.

And it’s gone?

Yep. It has kicked the bucket. It has shuffled off its mortal coil. It has run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible.

AndroidPIT Nexcus 5 Android 5 Lollipop silent mode toggle
There are already a few workarounds to regain silent mode on Lollipop. / © ANDROIDPIT

Where did it go?

It appears to have gone to the same place odd socks and pens go. Google’s new Priority Mode notification system has taken its place, and while it’s good at what it does it isn’t good at giving you a proper silent mode.

Instead you can do two things: you can change the notification mode to “none”, which gives you all the notification power you’d get from a phone you’d switched off, a phone you’d broken or a small potato with “Nexus” written on it.

Or you can set the phone to vibrate, which is only silent if you’re nowhere near the phone or you’ve put it in a soundproof room. Otherwise the vibration goes NURRR NURRR NURRR, and that isn’t silent at all.

AndroidPIT Nexus 5 Android 5 0 1 Lollipop no notifications
 Killing all notifications is the only way to get Silent Mode on the Nexus 5 right now. / © ANDROIDPIT

Is losing silent mode a problem?

We know that losing silent mode can sound a bit "WAH WAH WAH FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS" but while the removal is a relatively little thing it can still make a difference to many users. For example, some workplaces mandate silent mode - and by silent they mean silent - not vibrate - so not having a true silent mode is a real problem in such environments. 

The lack of true silent mode doesn’t just apply to workplaces, either. You might have your phone nearby while you record music, or place the very final playing card on a house of cards you’ve spent hours building, or play Operation. So what can you do when your phone won't shut up?

nexus 9 keyboard
Not all Nexuses are affected. Nexus 9s didn't lose silent mode. / © GOOGLE

Get a Nexus 9

Here’s a thing. While silent mode was gone on almost every Android Lollipop device, it’s still there on the Nexus 9 and manufacturers of other devices have found ways to resurrect it too. To us, that looks like a great big hint that the removal of silent mode wasn’t actually deliberate.

It looks rather like Silent Mode was something Google accidentally broke or had completely forgotten about and hoped we wouldn’t notice. And if that’s true, then surely the return of silent mode in a future Lollipop update is even more likely than Hollywood making yet another Spider-Man reboot.

ANdroidPIT Galaxy Note 4 Android 50 Lollipop notifications sound interruptions
Not everybody gets the choice of vibration or no notifications at all: Samsung owners get a proper silent mode too. / © ANDROIDPIT

How can I get silent mode back in the meantime? Downgrade Android?

You could do that, yes, but then you’d be missing out on the many good things Android Lollipop offers. The good news is that while we all wait for Google to see the light and give us silent mode back, there are a few apps that can bring it back without you having to downgrade your operating system.

True Silent Mode for the Xposed framework (there’s a video tutorial here) brings back silent mode to stock Android, while the SoundHUD app volume replacement panel offers a range of actions including, you’ve guessed it, silent mode. SoundHUD isn’t free - it’s $1.29 after the first two weeks - and reviews of its other features on Google Play are a little mixed, but that’s nothing compared to the joy of getting silent mode back without messing around, rooting or anything else time-consuming.

AndroidPIT Sound HUD lollipop silent mode
SoundHUD gives you some great control on Android Lollipop. / © Great Bytes Software

Once you’ve installed it and configured it, pressing the volume-down button will turn off the ringer and put your phone on vibrate - but unlike stock Lollipop, a further press will turn off the ringer too. Which is exactly what it should have done in the first place. Bad Google!

SoundHUD Install on Google Play

Is silent mode’s disappearance a problem for you? Have you found other workarounds that do the trick? Let us know in the comments!

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  • Mugen H Aug 3, 2015 Link to comment

    Why did you have to write in such a cryptic way? I'm at work and trying to disable the sound. I spent about 5 mins constantly re-reading this:

    "Where did it go?
    It appears to have gone to the same place odd socks and pens go. Google’s new Priority Mode notification system has taken its place, and while it’s good at what it does it isn’t good at giving you a proper silent mode.

    Instead you can do two things: you can change the notification mode to “none”, which gives you all the notification power you’d get from a phone you’d switched off, a phone you’d broken or a small potato with “Nexus” written on it.

    Or you can set the phone to vibrate, which is only silent if you’re nowhere near the phone or you’ve put it in a soundproof room. Otherwise the vibration goes NURRR NURRR NURRR, and that isn’t silent at all."

    This doesn't really give us any info on what to do.. :*


    • Mugen H Aug 3, 2015 Link to comment

      Even later on in the article when you're talking about either reverting back to the previous Android version or getting a new phone - both are extremes and it's just a waste of time to read this whole article.

      In the end your solution is to tell us about a paid app. Bull$hit! I can bet there will be a number of free apps that accomplish the same thing.


    • David P Jan 20, 2016 Link to comment

      Suggested article for Mugen:
      See phone. See phone not silent. Download app to fix phone. Install app. See phone silent. Return to stressful job that makes you no fun.

      Seriously, why bash a humorously written article because you don't have time to read it at work? Shouldn't you have fixed this problem BEFORE you got to work?


  • Anne H Jul 11, 2015 Link to comment

    I 100% agree. I got a device with Lollipop last month and one of my top-5 immediate concerns was being able to quickly and imperceptibly silence it (I work in a field where phone noises are inappropriate). At first I was very confused that turning the volume all the way just turned on vibrate-only. Surely it's a universal expectation that zero volume = silence?

    Some commenters said that messing with priority notifications is a "solution". That is setting blocks of time when you do not want to be interrupted, like from 11pm to 6am on weekdays, not a simple I'm-at-the-movies-and-the-theater-is-telling-me-to-silence-my-phone solution. Unlock phone-->open widgets-->open Settings-->open Sound & notification-->Interruptions Allowed : NONE. Someone who is suggesting that, please explain to me how it is an efficient alternative.


  • For those which have problems, my app (without ads) makes the workaround.
    It's called WLHF (What Lollipop Has Forgotten)
    you can find it into the Google Play ;)


  • This app just sets priority mode on essentially... There's still no equivalent to pre 5.0 of having my phone be SILENT and getting notifications on my android wear device. What's the point of the device if that's not possible? I do still get notifications on my pebble at least -.- It's the superior solution to android's OWN platform for this.

    (The biggest reason this is an issue for me is that my Nexus 6 has the loudest most rattly feeling vibration motor, with the HTC One M7 I had before I probably wouldn't have even minded)


  • *..or a small potato with 'Nexus' written on it.*
    I snorted very loudly while in class. So thanks. :D


  • When used correctly, priority notifications work way better than just turning off your volume and vibrate. Not sure what this guy is talking about. When I first got my Nexus 6 I was confused just as this guy apparently is.


    • Since Lollipop you can't turn off volume and vibration without turning off the notification light too. That's a major problem for a lot of people. That's just one change in Lollipop that drives some people nuts.


    • But there still is a problem that you cannot get full silent mode and still have your alarm clock functioning.

      I use my phone as my alarm clock, so I have it near my bed when I sleep. I don't want to be disturbed when I sleep, so I want full silent mode, but still have my alarm clock go off when I need to wake up. Currently there is no way to accomplish this with the stock lollipop settings.

      You can set the phone to full silent, but that will also disable your alarm clock.
      Or you can set the phone to priority mode, have everything turned off in the priority settings, turn the volume all the way down (so it is on vibrate). This will work for the most part, but there are still apps that make your phone vibrate on a notification.

      While I agree the priority settings are useful, it's plain stupid you cannot do a simple thing like I described above. I've also seen multiple people that got the lollipop update that are totally confused about the settings.


    • Jonl Mar 9, 2015 Link to comment

      I agree priority (none) works like silent. I think the writer of this article doesn't have an Android at least not 5.0


  • Below are the few solutions:
    1. Just uncheck "also vibrate for calls" in settings and set the ring volume to zero.
    2. Use "interruption" in settings.

    Hope that helps...


  • Jonl Mar 9, 2015 Link to comment

    Priority none works very similar to silent.
    Your phone still works and you still get notifications on your screen ect. You just don't hear any noises even alarms
    Whoever wrote this article obviously doesn't have a phone with Android lollipop!!
    None doesn't render your phone useless


    • But since lollipop you'll turn off the notification light too when you turn off volume and vibration.


    • Very similar, but some notification still cause your phone to vibrate, even if you have every priority setting turned off.


      • Jonl Mar 9, 2015 Link to comment

        What notifications cause phone to vibrate when none is used? I've been using lollipop since it was rolled out to my Nexus 4 and have never had my phone vibrate when priority none is on

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