Google removed this long-press shortcut in Android 14, and nobody even noticed

With every new Android update, Google adds a ton of new features. But the company also has a tendency to remove a function or two. Just a few years ago, Google took away a handy shortcut to the Clock app from the notification shade in Android 12 only to re-add it with Android 14 again. Well, you win some, you lose some: the new Android release removes another quick action, in a change that has somehow gone largely unnoticed until more than a month after the stable launch.

When Google was in the process of creating Android’s home screen app shortcuts, quick actions that you can access by long-pressing icons on your home screen, the company thought of one other way to make use of this menu. Likely in an effort to ease the transition for those coming from iOS, Google also added a notification dot to app icons, complete with a small preview of notifications in the long-press menu to accompany it with Android 8. This was supposed to make it possible to only see notifications from one app at a time, omitting the need to pull down the notification shade to see everything. It also created a natural connection between the dot on the icon and the notification in question.

A long-press menu on an app icon showing quick actions and notifications on Android 8

Source: Android Developers

Android 8 introduced notifications to the long-press menu

This system had its flaws, though, beginning with the issue that you could find all these same notifications right up there in the notification shade and ending with the fact that the preview space within the menu was rarely big enough to show sufficient notification content. It looks like that may have led to Google simply discontinuing the feature altogether in Android 14, as covered by 9to5Google. That’s right: you will no longer find notifications in the app icon long-press menu, which is something we’ve only realized now that the system is stable. This could reflect just how little the feature was used.

Now, to set the record straight, there are always some people who rely on a feature and are miffed when it’s taken away, and that’s the case here. One of our writer’s family members loved the notification shortcut, and said writer actually noted that it was gone after Android 14 was released in stable. At that point, I thought it was much too late to cover, though.

We usually find new features in Android versions as soon as the developer previews and betas roll out, so we thought that there is no conceivable way that this wasn’t covered already. In fact, some people took to Reddit to talk about the missing feature as early as October 7, when Android 14 just launched in stable. But by the time we found out, I didn’t think it was newsworthy anymore. It also doesn’t look like the removal garnered a lot of negative attention, with only 13 upvotes for the post and the highest ranked comment stating, “huh. it appears so. however, I would never had noticed if you didn’t mention it.” This seems to be the gist of the reactions, with many people noting that the feature was messy from the get-go.

Android 14 no longer shows notifications in the long-press menu

In fact, it’s not even clear if Google at large noticed that the feature is gone. In the Android Developers documentation that discusses notifications, the company talks about app icon badges and those notification previews discussed here, only to state that they’re available on “supported launchers on devices running Android 8.0 (API level 26) and higher” (emphasis ours). Now, this is technically still true: third-party launchers can still hook into the API to show notifications in the long-press menu on Android 14. But it sure seems like Google itself isn’t interested in the feature on Pixel phones anymore, given the removal from the Pixel Launcher. Thus, Google is advertising a feature that will not work on its own phones by default, which still isn’t a good look. I suppose it’s not a big deal, since these notifications are no extra work for app developers — it’s just a different way the system can present notifications that developers don’t need to support explicitly.

That’s not to say that nobody genuinely liked the feature or regularly used it. A few people on the Reddit thread noted that they’re miffed about the removal, with some having to tweak the way they use their phones because of it. Ultimately, the removal of the feature may just remove a little more friction and unnecessary duplication. After all, do we really need yet another place to check our notifications? Especially given that more often than not, notifications from a single app are already bundled in the notification shade anyway.

We’re always quick to (righteously) condemn Google for shutting down products prematurely, but in this case, there are likely only a few people who are truly affected. Instead, Google frees up resources and makes navigating the interface easier for the rest of us, so for once, a removed feature like this might indeed be a good move.