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Don't like Lollipop's Heads Up notifications? Here's how to get KitKat-style Ticker Text back

Ticker Text is the scrolling notification preview that used to roll across the status bar when a message came in on Android KitKat. As of Android Lollipop, Ticker Text was replaced by Heads Up notifications. While Heads Up notifications are great for some, a few of us still long for the good old days of Ticker Text. Fortunately, it's a simple matter to get KitKat-style notifications in Android Lollipop. Here's how to do it.

How to get rid of Heads Up notifications

There's a great little app called Heads Off can not only disable Heads Up notifications, it can also restore Ticker Text to Lollipop devices. What's more, you don't even need to be rooted. Just download the app via the install button below.

HeadsOff - Disable heads-up Install on Google Play

Now, the free version can only disable heads up notifications. Just launch the app and tap the Start the App button. If you want Ticker Text you'll need to pay for the upgrade to the Pro key. It's only 2 USD but it will give you complete control over individual apps, so you can customize things exactly as you like.

AndroidPIT Heads Off notifications lollipop heads up ticker text
Heads Up notifications (left) and Ticker Text (right)./ © ANDROIDPIT

Note: you might need to check the box in the settings for Force Ticker Text if it doesn't work straight away. Also, because Heads Off writes over the top of the screen, you won't be able to swipe the notifications shade down until the Ticker Text has finished doing it's thing. It's not a big deal to me, but some might find it annoying.  

AndroidPIT Heads Off app settings
Heads Off is a simple app that gives you lots of control over notifications. / © ANDROIDPIT

Google, Y U no like options?

Those of you that have been playing around with the Android M developer preview have probably noticed that you have the ability to turn off Peeking in the app notifications section. Sadly, that won't bring back the good old days of KitKat-era Ticker Text though and Google has confirmed it won't appear as an option in Android M.

Not surprisingly, developers are quite vocal in their dislike of this refusal (just check the comment stream in the link above), so perhaps we'll see an official reversal, or at least an option to choose between Heads Up or Ticker Text in a future release. Until then, though, we can be grateful that folks like the devs behind Heads Off are willing to give the people want they want: choice.

Which do you prefer: Heads Up or Ticker Text? Would you like to be able to choose?


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  • Mark G. 2 months ago Link to comment

    My my you lot are creatures of habit!
    Heads up notifications work just fine for me, a quick swipe and the notification is gone. Or its important and needs immediate attention then a quick tap opens the appropriate app.
    All easy, simple and effective ...

    I know for some change can be a scary prospect, but we have to move on....

    Peace ✌

  • When my S4 with KitKat reached the end of its life span due to the dreaded SIM CARD NOT DETECTED error, I picked up what I thought was the next best thing, an S5, but unfortunately it did its OTA upgrades, first to lollipop, then directly to marshmallow. It took me days and loads of online research to figure out that the notifications are not broken in marshmallow, just poorly designed. Gone are the extremely useful tickers that showed up on every screen, along with the flashing LEDs of green for phone calls, blue for emails and texts. To be fair the blue LED still blinks a little, periodically for some emails and texts, but the phone LED is completely missing. The new notifications are horrible and virtually useless. Reminds me of my very first smart phone with gingerbread and no notifications.

    Rubbish... I hope and pray that Android brings back the notifications in a future release. Until then I'll have to deal with the stupid pop-ups and missed calls, messages and emails.

  • Sean G. Aug 16, 2015 Link to comment

    Yea, heads up is constantly getting in my way and I have yet to come across a situation where they are more useful than the older style. For my z1c there is no good root without bootloader unlocking.. I may downgrade to kk or lp anyway.

  • Hate the heads up. Keep the originality and at least offer the option for ticker style notifications. No need to try and be like Apple. The drop down is annoying.

  • I previously updated my xperia z3 compact to Lollipop and been using it for a month. I found that the head up notification is quite annoying, so I downgrade back to kit kat. We should be given the option to choose either type of notification for Android M.

  • Mark G. Jun 22, 2015 Link to comment

    I've just upgraded from a GS3 (4.3) to GS5 (5.02). I have to admit I prefer Lollipop notification, though it's more that I'm imeresed in Lollipop and forget how Kitkat used to be.

    BTW im loving my S5 💥

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