A Quirk, In Facebook Messenger Notification Settings

Even though I understand that Facebook Messenger is not secure, from any privacy or encryption standpoint, I still like using it. And one reason why I do, is the fact that regular SMS Texts, which I feel I need to keep configured at their defaults on my phone, are equally not encrypted, and because my SMS Messenger settings are loud. It is my meaning, that if somebody send me an SMS Text Message, they are saying ‘Pay Attention to me Right Now!’

As an alternative, I often give my friends the advice to use FB Messenger instead, because my receiving the message in a public space can be made more discreet.

But the way notification settings work between FB Messenger and Android 7 as it stands – and some of this is establishing a standard – those FB Messenger notifications were not discreet anymore, and I’ll explain why.

In the FB Messenger app, I have the option to disable Notification Sounds, but to keep Vibration and the LED-blinking enabled. However, If I do this, then Android 7 just substitutes its own Default, Notification Sound, whenever this one app generates a notification.

Now, there are two easy ways to get around this in the settings, but neither is ideal:

  1. We can tell the app to play its own, user-selected, per-app Notification Sound.
  2. We can override the app’s behavior in our Android Permissions, only to allow Silent Notifications.

While it might sound ideal, solution 2 just happens to have a slight drawback: It also disables Vibrations. I would like for a Vibration-Pattern to take place, and after reaching for my phone, to see the LED blink, so that I’ll know which app sent me a Notification, but just not to disturb my neighbors with the Sound. Option 2 shuts off the Vibrations as well. I’d only notice that the app has sent me a message, if I happened to glance at the phone – at least, by default.

Now, there has been a way for me to get around this in the past:

  • Certain Apps allowed me to select my per-app Notification Sound, and offer Silence as one choice. This ‘sound’ overrides the Android Default, But then nothing is heard.

The FB and FB Messenger apps do not presently offer this feature in-app. However, with a bit of know-how, I was able to implement this idea myself:

  1. On my PC, open my favorite Audio Editing Application – for the sake of argument, ‘Audacity’.
  2. Create / Insert a Track with 2 seconds of Silence, which is in Mono, but sampled at 44.1kHz, at 16-bits PCM.
  3. Export this creation as a uniquely-named Microsoft .WAV File, as Signed, PCM.
  4. Use my Android, SMB File Sharing Client from the phone, to download this sound-effect onto the phone via my LAN – And make sure it’s Copied To both the Notifications and Ringtones folder.
  5. Make sure that in the Android Permissions for each app, ‘FB’ and ‘FB Messenger’ are allowed Access to my Storage / File-Folders.
  6. Within each app, set up this custom sound as my Notification, and as my Ringtone.

VoilĂ !


(Edit 06/15/2017 : )

There is an additional piece of information which the reader should be aware of, before considering this posting as advice.

Android 7 has as feature, that if several apps have as permission, to monitor the notifications of other apps, so as to send those notifications to the user in their own way, then those apps also have the ability to suppress the usual pathways in which those notifications arrive to the user.

For example, I have and use a Fitness Tracker, which has as added feature, to vibrate and display text-notifications on my wrist, as long as it’s paired. It’s currently tuned-in to Facebook Notifications etc…

This means that the Fitness Tracker currently vibrates, but that my phone does not.

I have seen this arise as an issue with some Android users, who complain that their phones no longer display a blinking LED. The tech-support people are unable to determine remotely, whether those users have additional apps installed, that monitor notifications. And therefore, the tech-support people are reluctant to pursue this as an Android 7 bug.

I also cannot guarantee, that using a DAW, either on PCs or on tablets, will allow my reader to receive notification-vibrations again, if the reader also has such additional notification-monitoring apps.


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