The Android notifications menu sometimes fills up so fast, it's easy to clear it without properly checking it. If you've done this, and think you might have accidentally swiped something important into non-existence, you can still get it back. Stock Android users can recover lost notifications on their Android device by finding the Android notification history. For devices with a different UI (such as Samsung's TouchWiz), this approach might not be available, but there is an app-based solution.
The notifications log was first introduced all the way back with Android 4.3 Jellybean, and is still accessible from Android Lollipop through Android Nougat and Android Oreo.
The Notification Log enables you to view deleted notifications (in fact, you can see all system notifications), but it is only accessible through an almost-secret widget. On many phones, it seems that you need to enable the Developer Options first to unlock the widget and retrieve your lost notifications.
To unlock the developer options, go into your phone Settings > About Phone and then tap on the Build number several times. After 3 or 4 taps, you'll get an on-screen notification letting you know you are now a developer (it also adds a new section in your Settings menu).
How to recover lost notifications on Android
1. Long-tap an empty space on your Android home screen then tap Widgets.
2. Swipe left or scroll down the widget menu until you get to the Settings shortcut widget.
3. Long-tap the widget until your home screens appear, then drag it to a home screen of your choice.
4. In the Settings shortcut menu that appears, scroll down and tap Notification log.
5. A Notification log shortcut will appear on your home screen. Just tap this, and you’ll have access to your notification history and be able to retrieve those missed notifications.
Once you're in the notification log, you'll see active notifications in white and notifications that you closed in gray. You can tap the gray notifications just as you would normally, and you'll be taken straight to the source of the notification.
Notification History Log
The above solution works fine for stock Android users, but we were disappointed to find that it wouldn't work on phones that had a different UI setup, such as is the case with Samsung phones. Fortunately, there is a useful app that will work on all phones that allows you to effectively recover and manage your notification history.
Notification History Log by ikva eSolutions is well-designed app that keeps a log of all notifications (up to one day old, but you can pay for a more far-reaching history), and after you activate the 'Advanced History' settings, it allows you to bring up the app responsible for those notifications. You're able to blacklist certain apps and customize what gets recorded for recovery. All in all quite useful, even with the free version.
If your phone's UI deviates too far from Android stock, you might want to consider installing a new launcher instead. While we have a list of favorite launchers available for your Android phone, Nova Launcher is always a favorite and comes particularly recommended for this purpose.
Thanks to Karl Bell, who commented with this tip for retrieving your notifications using Nova Launcher: From the Nova launcher widget itself, select Activities and then Settings. In the options presented under Settings, you should find the Notification Log.
Have you ever accidentally deleted your notification history? How did you try to recover it? Let us know in the comments.