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How to remove stuck notifications on Android smartphones

Received a notification on your phone that appears to be stuck and just won't go away? Whether it's a voicemail icon or the ghost of an email, there's an easy way to make your phone dismiss the notification from your screen. Follow our short guide below to solve the problem!

Removing a notification

There's little that's more annoying than a notification that just won't go away, even when it's no longer relevant. Fortunately, there's a simple way to get rid of those troublesome icons with just a few quick taps on the screen – but the method varies slightly depending on which version of Android your device is running.

Removing a stuck notification from Android Marshmallow and Lollipop

Android Lollipop shows your notification icons at the top left corner of your screen. Swiping down from the top of the screen will expand the notifications area and you can take a closer look at what the messages are telling you. Sometimes these messages can get stuck – so read on to find out how to get around this issue.

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  1. In our example, we're trying to remove a stuck email notification. You should be able to swipe it to the side to dismiss it, but unfortunately this doesn't always work quite as it should.
  2. If the notification won't swipe away, touch and hold your finger on it. This line will then change to show you the name of the app and its icon. There may also be symbols at the right-hand end of the line, but those aren't relevant for now.
  3. Once you have made a note of which application is giving you the troublesome notification, drag the notification panel down even further to view your Quick Settings panel.
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  1. Tap on the cog icon in the top-right corner of the quick settings panel to jump straight to your Settings menu. In order to remove the stuck notification, we need to access the application management settings – so scroll down this list and tap the Apps icon. (Sometimes this may be listed as Applications or Application management.)
  2. Once inside the Apps menu, swipe from right to left across the screen to view the 'All' list, then scroll down to find your frozen app. Tap on it to continue.
  3. The app info screen will open, showing you information about the particular app. Tap on the Force Stop button near the top of the screen.
  4. A warning will appear, advising you that forcing an app to stop could cause problems. Tap OK to dismiss it.
  5. The Force Stop button should now be greyed out. You don't need to worry about starting the app again – that will happen automatically when it's needed. Tap the Home button to return to the home screen, where you'll notice your frozen notification has vanished!

Removing a stuck notification from Android KitKat (or earlier)

Android shows your notifications at the top left of your screen, on the not-so-surprisingly named Notification Bar. Swipe down from the top of the screen to open them up and take a look at what the messages are telling you.

In our example, we're looking at the email notification telling us we've got an unread mail message. Normally you could tap the notification to read the mail message, or swipe the message away to dismiss it – but things don't always go as planned!

  1. If swiping it away doesn't work, touch and hold your finger on the notification for a couple of seconds and an 'App info' shortcut will appear.
  2. Tap App info to view the application management information.
  3. You'll now be taken to the information page for the app responsible for the stuck notification. Many options are available at this stage – but we only need to use one: force stop. Find the Force stop button, then tap it to continue.
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  1. You will see a warning that the app may misbehave if you force it to stop. Press OK to dismiss the message.
  2. Once the app has shut down, the Force stop button will turn grey and become unusable. You don't need to worry about forcing the app to start again as it will start automatically when you next need it.
  3. Check your notifications to confirm whether the message has disappeared or if it's still lingering. In some cases, like with persistent voicemail messages, you may need to contact your network provider after peforming the steps above if the notification still won't leave you alone.
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That should sort out your issues – but if you're still having problems with notifications not disappearing when they're supposed to, our Agents are available 24/7! Why not check out our support options, then give us a call on 0800 049 6190.

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