ActiveNotifications brings Moto X’s Active Display lockscreen to more Android devices


ActiveNotifications Moto X Active Display clone

Motorola threw everyone for a loop when they finally announced the Moto X but instead of following the current trend of bigger and badder internals, instead focused on things consumers can actually see, like the software features and custom color options. One of the X’s best software features was its Active Display notifications, a lockscreen on top of the lockscreen that gives its user the ability to peek at a notifications, without having to fully unlock their Android device. It was simple, intuitive and for the most part, unlike anything we’ve seen before.


Leave it to an opportunistic Android developer to open this handy feature up for additional Android devices, with Great Bytes Software’s Active Notifications now available on Google Play. Much like Moto X’s Active Display, ActiveNotifications shows notifications on the lockscreen, with apps users can quickly jump to by swiping to the respective notification.

The all-black background should provide the same battery benefits for those with AMOLED devices. The catch? Well, you’ll need a device running Android 4.3 seeing how the app takes advantage of Android’s new notification listener service.

You can grab the app for free in the Google Play Store and with an in-app purchase of 99 cents, unlocks additional functionality like sleep schedules, or privacy options.

[ActiveNotifications on Google Play]


Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Been accessing notifications through the lockscreen for the past 2 years, using Widgetlocker!

    1. Yup yup. Set the Widgetlocker background to black and VOILA! you’ve got the X’s lockscreen.

      1. Interesting that my reply got bumped down twice, without any comments as to why…LOL. Nontheless, Widgetlocker’s most recent update even allows quick access to the user’s selected apps (swipe from the left of screen), as well as quick access to the camera (swipe from the right of the screen). What’s great for me is that, this will translate to any future android device I purchase (and allows me to backup my settings, so I can move some of those customizations over to the new phone).

    2. Not only that, but with SwipePad I can access EVERYTHING from the WidgetLocker lockscreen (with a single swipe!)

      1. Can it now? Hmm…

  2. why not allow pull down notifications on the normal lockscreen(like in custom roms)? works just as great except its quicker to unlock your phone

  3. so why is the moto x special for including a few software features? touchwiz and sense both have lots of software features too. and the moto x hardware is weak either way. and the moto x is overpriced. i think its really overvalued on this site

    1. I don’t thinks so bro, i think the unique thing overvalued are the specs on paper, moto x is not the most powerfull device, but to me is, well no the best, but near of that, just diferent, with better software features that touchwiz have never had

    2. The features on touchwiz are more like bloatware, you rarely ever use them but they waste battery life and hinder performance all the time , the features on the Moto x are actually useful at little to no cost on performance and battery, not a big fan of the moto x due to specs but in terms of features and performance they got it right.

      1. The MX would have been uncontested had it had internals akin to the LG G2. Moto has always had a knack for making plastic enclosures feel premium, and the software on the X, like you said, is more useful that most of the stuff you get on TouchWiz, Sense, whateverLGcallstheirUI, etc.

        1. Specs don’t translate into performance directly, let alone into UX. The iPhone 5 has what, a 1300 MHz dual core CPU? And it’s smoother and faster in the user experience than any Android phone, AND beats its contemporary competitors in some benchmarks. Moto X reportedly (by early leaks) beats the current Android flagships (HTC One, Galaxy S4) in some benchmarks, too, but even this performance is excessive for most users, and the UX depends mostly on software at this point. TL:DR: its internals are just right.

      2. TouchWiz is chock full of numerous small enhancements to user experience. Many of them are uniquely useful. I wouldn’t even call ANY of its features bloatware (not counting bundleware of course, but that can be disabled).

  4. Correct me if I’m wrong but you don’t get the battery savings unless you are using an AMOLED screen, so the Super LCD screen of my EVO LTE would still turn on all the pixels.

    1. Correct

    2. i miss my old Evo LTE sometimes.

    3. Which is why I’m not a fan of this notification system. I also feel bad for the devs of this app as there’ll likely be many “technically challenged” users who will give it bad ratings because they’re not aware of the differences in display technology and their relation to the app’s functionality.

  5. Does the X not have a notification LED?

    1. No it does not, bad idea especially in sunlight.

      1. how is the notification LED a bad idea ever???

        just because it is less usable in sunlight does not make it a bad idea.

        1. Marsg was saying that not having an LED is a bad idea because most smartphone screens are hard to see in direct sunlight, not vice versa.

          1. lol whoops….missed that one completely

  6. Woah, woah woah!! Hold the phone!! Please!! Someone clear this up for me. Are you telling me that you CAN’T pull down your notification bar while on the lock screen? I’ve been doing this since ICS, I believe. If not, then it’s been since JB. But this is NOT new. Yes, stock Android has this.

    Can someone explain to me what’s really going on?

    1. You can pull down notifications on the lock screen in stock Android only if you’re using slide-to-unlock. I’d that what you’re talking about?

    2. u can do this but if you have a security feature enabled it does not do it. this feature allows one to glimpse notifications as they arrive. then u can unlock phone and attend to it….

      1. Okay. Thanks for clearing that up for me. I was SO confused. LoL!!

  7. Why is my Sprint Note II incompatible? ?

    1. is it on 4.3?

  8. galaxy s3 not compatible? wtf!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Which version of Android is your S3 on? App only works with 4.3+

      1. Check out I’m a subscriber , I’m on T Mobile and one of my lines is an s3 , on that sight is a link to a 4.3 ROM for any carrier of course youhave to be rooted good luck……… by the way the ROMs awesome.

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      2. is that not a GES4? not S3?

    2. It is if you flash a 4.3 ROM :p

  9. Yo dawg, we heard you like lockscreens so we put a lock screen over your lock screen so you can lock screen while you lock screen.

    1. cant tell if troll or not, but still funny, lol

      1. “Yo dawg” is a meme, so I wouldn’t call him a troll. Also trolls don’t make you chuckle. ;)

  10. Crazy I just flashed a port of 4.3 on my T MO S3 , last night , it was highlighted on high on android , Love the ROM and now I can use this app Sweeeeeeeeet

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      Interesting that my reply got
      bumped down twice, without any comments as to why…LOL. Nontheless,
      Widgetlocker’s most recent update even allows quick access to the user’s
      selected apps (swipe from the left of screen), as well as quick access
      to the camera (swipe from the right of the screen). What’s great for me
      is that, this will translate to any future android device I purchase
      (and allows me to backup my settings, so I can move some of those
      customizations over to the new phone).

  11. lol this ate my battery today. went from 71 to 44 under 20 mns lol.ill pass

    1. Do you have an AMOLED display? If not, that’s why.

      1. HTC ONE

        1. Well, that’s why. AMOLED screens can control which pixels light up on the entire display. The HTC One has the entire display light up when it shows you these things. Learn to read in the app description.

          1. This is why I don’t really dig this sort of notification system. Unless you have the proper type of display, every time you get a notification it’ll eat your battery. It’s an interesting idea to be sure, but not every phone has an AMOLED screen.

          2. Yeah, you tell TechGuy22!

          3. Yea, this is definitely for an AMOLED display, outside the battery life it just looks so much better to see a pure black screen with a little white icon.

  12. i can pull down my notification bar while in the lockscreen of my HTC one… is this not the same? i dont remember my gnex on 4.2 doing that….but could be wrong.

  13. so this is just another reason why those of us running lower than 4.3 won’t see an upgrade from Verizon, at all, until sometime like 3 years from now

  14. Sense and TouchWiz had this a long time ago. MotoGoog is just catching up.

    1. Did they really have something like this? I don’t think so, but I could be wrong…

      1. Sense has this since at least Sense 3.6 (~2011): notification icons on the screen displaying missed calls, messages, emails, possibly other stuff. I don’t remember if they’re actionable. The current TouchWiz versions also have this: notification icons on the screen you can swipe from to unlock the phone and go into the app.

        1. I have Sense 4 ROM currently on my phone, do you mean that notification count on the lockscreen app icons? If so, I think it was there since sense 3.

          1. That too. But not just that. For me, it used to display a huge notification right in the middle of the screen (such as e.g. a snippet of the message I received or a name of the person whose call I missed), from which I could swipe down to the lock ring to open the app.

          2. Strange, there is a lockscreen mod called productivity in Sense 4, but no such mod in Sense 3.6 and below.

          3. I only clearly remember having this since I’ve got an upgrade to Android 4.0 ICS on my old HTC phone. Not sure what version of Sence it was, but the actionable notification clearly was there, and I didn’t have to install an app for that. I was on ARHD (Android Revolution HD) but I doubt that it’s distro-specific.

          4. I think it’s just a Sense 4 feature, that every phone running the full version of Sense 4 gets.

    2. Alright, I checked and they don’t have EXACTLY this. In particular, TouchWiz won’t display actionable lockscreen notifications for Gmail emails (but it probably will for the default email app). But that’s probably the only thing they lack in comparison.

    3. Then why are people with sammies and htc still waking their phones to check the time and notifications?

      1. It’s not about waking the phone, it’s about having information on the lockscreen. To my understanding, the app the article works the same way: you can view some minimal information on the lockscreen, but you have to unlock (wake) the phone to review them.

  15. Doesn’t the Droid Ultra have all of the features of the Moto X with better specs? Then why is it that everyone is fixated on the Moto X?

    1. Because most of the world isn’t on Verizon?

      1. Okay, I’ll give you that, but Moto X is not the only phone with “Active Display”. Could it be that moving forward, there will be other Active Display phones available?

  16. Nice app, but I’ve stopped using lockscreens a long time ago. Easier to check out notifications without it :)

    1. You’ll regret that decision if your phone gets stolen. I guess its not too big a concern now with the remote wipe features rolling out

      1. I found a nice little app called Cerberus, allows me to track the phone, wipe, activate an alarm and tons of other features. Best thing is that is survives through a factory reset :)

        I open my phone so often the lockscreen was driving me nuts

  17. What dont people get about this system moto made…whys it so confusing…you all keep mentioning about swiping down notifications since ics and what not(using no security only) acting like its the same thing…well its not…you need to physically unlock your phone every time to do everything u guys are mentioning and the moto x skips that step…i for one am all about that u know how many times a day i press that damn button? if i could just look at my phone n see whats up and not have to do anything in real world experience thats a real nice feature…so hush please your just hating on the moto x bc you want to hate…again im not getting it bc the price so im not being a fan boy(moto dropped the ball look at the other phones out for same price who would pick the x?) but if i could get this 400 even 450 off contract id buy it sec verizon had motomaker

    1. Moto X is probably my favorite Android phone right now (although I think it’s a bit thick) so I haven’t complained at all. It’s the perfect size, great performance and screen, near stock Android and Engadget showed it has incredible battery life.

    2. That’s interesting. I don’t find the information as “hating” at all, just pointing out that Widgetlocker can do that without unlocking the phone and I’ve been using Widgetlocker with the accessible notification bar since Froyo! There might be people that aren’t aware of the Widgetlocker app, but if they are, they’d realize that you can set the notification bar to be accessible without ever needing to unlock the phone. Nothing was ever mentioned about the fact that Moto integrated that voice activation where you wouldn’t even need to press the standby button, this article was purely talking about the notifications. I’m just making sure people are informed that Widgetlocker does and has been doing this since it first came out.

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    4. I will admit that I do not fully understand what the big deal is about this “active notifications” thing. I understand that on my stock Galaxy S3, with swipe to unlock only, i can pull down my notifications and see whats going on without unlocking. I choose to use swipe to unlock only because I don’t keep any “secret” information on my phone, so it doesn’t bother me.
      I understand that with the new moto x “active notifications” you have access to notifications even with a password/pattern lockscreen, correct? Is that the gist of what makes it so great? My question is this, if I feel the need to “lock” my phone with a password/pattern, why would I want any random person to be able to pick up my phone and have quick, unsecured access to my notifications? Doesn’t make sense to me.

      1. What aren’t you guys getting…YOU STILL NEED TO PRESS THE LOCK BUTTON…you know to wake up the phone so you can actually touch the screen this avoids that process you never have to touch the phone pick it up press a button and then check your notifications you just look over tap the screen it shows you have a text it doesnt say what’s in the text it just shows you have a text and then you go right into it without ever picking the phone about the desk or physically touching the button on the side that is kind of a big deal if you think how many times a day you physically pick up your phone press that button

        1. Well, flip side, I can just press the home button on the face of my SGS3 to turn the phone on and then proceed to check whatever notifications I may have. I also have a notification LED that lets me know what type of notification I have depending on what color it lights up, without the screen having to be on. So I can do all of those things “without physically picking my phone up”, which is one of the reasons I love the physical home button, as opposed to the all capacitive buttons.
          Is there a huge difference in tapping the physical home button on my phone and tapping the screen on the moto x to turn on the screen?

          1. U wanna be a communist and support Korea thats your business

          2. LOL, really???? I truly was trying to figure out what was so great about the new active notification system, and just wanted to know what it could do that currently available phones can’t do, and that is the response I get? GEEZ!

          3. Lollllll



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