Mute

It’s a regular Tuesday morning in January, 6.47 AM. It’s cold and dark outside. I should be in the car already but instead I’m slowly waking up to the sound of someone starting a car to commute to work. “Fuck”, I silently shout to myself, “that damn Android phone”.

Lollipop

Back when I was still an avid user of Apple products I knew how the ‘Do not disturb’ mode worked. And it worked every time without failing me ever. I had my iPhone set to mute for most of the day and, at the end of the day, ‘Do not disturb’ would suppress every other noise or visual notification that might leak through.

Some time ago Google released Android Lollipop which brings a slew of improvements like material design, performance improvements and new notification types. But the one thing that infuriates me about Lollipop is how they implemented ‘Do not disturb’. It’s one thing to copy a feature from a competing platform, it’s another to improve that feature. And I think Google did a really poor job.

Do not disturb

The absolute worst thing Google did: they removed the ‘mute’ function. In previous versions of Android you could press ‘down’ on the volume rocker to go from sound to vibrate to mute. In Lollipop they changed this behaviour. You can now only set your phone (or tablet) to sound or vibrate. The ‘solution’ Google came up with is a ‘Do not disturb’ mode which makes absolutely no sense.

When you enable ‘Do not disturb’ you get three options:

  • Until I turn it off manually
  • For n amount of hours
  • A set time (example: between 9 PM and 7 AM)

Because there’s no mute switch on my phone anymore I manually set ‘Do not disturb’ to the first options. I don’t want my private phone to make noise while at work. I also have a time schedule for ‘Do not disturb’ set up between 10 PM and 5.45 AM. But because I have set it to the first option manually, Android will just ignore your time schedule. And then, when I forget Android is in ‘until I turn it off manually’ mode, my alarm won’t go off in the morning. This has made me oversleep a couple of times already.

VIP

It has come to my attention that there’s an in-between option called ‘Priority mode’. It’s like ‘Do not disturb’ but it doesn’t suppress your alarms. I thought it would be the solution to my problem but I can’t for the life of me figure out how ‘Priority mode’ works. The UI doesn’t specify which calls, texts or notifications will come through. Again, iOS is much more clear on this. You can specify a few people who are VIP’s, like your mother, and in Priority mode only the VIP’s can call/text you.

Wish

My wish for 2015 is that Google will bring back the mute switch rather sooner than later. I want to be able to put my phone to mute and let my ‘Do not disturb’ schedule do the rest.

The decision to remove the mute switch almost makes me go back to iOS. And I don’t want that to happen, ever.