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Android 5.1: Muting your Lollipop phone overnight just got a bit easier

It's a long-running complaint with many Android Lollipop phones — you want to mute your phone, but that option's just not there anymore. Instead you have to deal with the slightly confusing interruptions system and decide whether you want to mute absolutely everything — including alarms — or set up "priority" mode and decide what you want to let through.

Now, thankfully, in the new Android 5.1 release, there's there's an easier way.

First, a quick note

This guide is for phones running "stock" or unmodified Android 5.1 Lollipop, like Google's Nexus devices. Phone makers can (and likely will) change some of this stuff once Android 5.1 starts rolling out to manufacturer-customized Android phones.

Android 5.1

Muting your phone until the next alarm

You can now shut off some or all interruptions until the time of your next alarm

Among the many changes in Android 5.1 Lollipop are some welcome tweaks to the way interruptions (all, priority or none) are handled. Just like like Android 5.0, you can press the volume rocker to bring up the volume slider and interruptions menu, giving you a choice between the same three options. And you can still set a timer for "priority" or "none," after which interruptions will return to normal.

As of Android 5.1 however, you can now choose to set interruptions to "priority" or "none" until the time of your next alarm. To see this option you'll need to have an alarm set in the next 12 hours — so if it's not there, that's probably why.

What's great about this is it almost brings back the old way of doing things — muting absolutely everything, but still having alarms fire off at the appropriate time. You'll just need to remember to set this before going to sleep.

Setting 'priority' or 'none' until the end of your downtime

None of this is as simple as a proper 'mute' switch, but it's an improvement

Like the first release of Lollipop, Android 5.1 lets you set periods of downtime, during which your phone won't interrupt you quite as much. In addition to letting you choose between "none" and "priority" modes during downtime (it used to be just "priority"), Android 5.1 lets you switch between these on the fly.

During downtime, the interruptions menu will show an extra option: "until your downtime ends." This means even if you set your default downtime setting to "priority," you can easily change to "mute" without digging through menus — or vice versa.

None of this is as simple as just pressing a button to stop your phone making any noise except alarms, but these changes do make Lollipop's interruptions feature easier to use. For more on what's new in the Android 5.1 release, hit the link below!

Read More: What else is new in Android 5.1 Lollipop?

Alex was with Android Central for over a decade, producing written and video content for the site, and served as global Executive Editor from 2016 to 2022.

88 Comments
  • Interesting, I use an app called Agent (from the people that do Trigger) that silences all my incoming alerts accept for a white list of emergency numbers between midnight and 7am every night. Does the job for me and I don't have to think about it every day.
  • You know you can do this automatically with priority right? Set auto priority times, star the contacts you want to allow. No app needed. Via the AC App On Verizon Nexus 6
  • Yep, but I use my starred apps as favourites on my dialler and they're not the same as the people over night people I want to white list
  • Ok, I could see that. But just so people know, in most use case scenarios it can be achieved with priority. So many people complain about the new sound settings. I think it's a welcome and powerful change. I use it all the time and love it. I used to use third party apps to achieve what I can now do natively. Via the AC App On Verizon Nexus 6
  • My problem is that system sounds still come through. I haven't found a way to use priority and not have my phone tell me that the battery is fully charged while still allowing my kids to contact me.
  • I've never noticed system sounds other than low battery, which is kind of important to know about when muted. I'll have to pay attention to listen for battery full. Via the AC App On Verizon Nexus 6
  • I'm with the people that don't like the new sound 'bug.' I know some will call it a 'feature,' but it broke the way I had been using the phone. I just got a new Razer NabuX wrist band. Works(ed) great! I set the phone to the original silent, but still received a nice blinking light and a slight vibration when a new message came in. I don't want my phone to vibrate while it is in my desk. I loved having the ability to see what type of notification I was getting, Call, Message, Alarm. Sure it has room for improvement, but for the price it was a great fit. The sound change is lame if the vibration can not be turned off independently.
  • In a Galaxy phone with 5.0.1 we can't (Note 4). They didn't include a timer option in the interruptions or priority settings... So the Agent app does the job for some of us.
  • That might be something that Sammy removed because it is included in stock Via the AC App On Verizon Nexus 6
  • If I'm reading the article tittle correctly, "Android 5.1: Muting your Lollipop..", and "First, a quick note
    This guide is for phones running "stock" or unmodified Android 5.1 Lollipop, like Google's Nexus devices. Phone makers can (and likely will) change some of this stuff once Android 5.1 starts rolling out to manufacturer-customized Android phones."
    HTC has had muting similar to this since KK.
  • This would be fine if it worked (though HTC One was easier to set up and had better options before the "improvement"). I have priority notifications set to favorites only. Stock e-mail app (!) still notifies in general during downtime. Fail.
  • My use case is slightly twisted. I meditate and want to block all calls but maybe an alarm in next 10 minutes or alarm from my timer.
  • Lol with 5.0 I had to take my old alarm clock out of the attic no joke Posted via the Android Central App
  • Apparently setting priority is hard for some. Posted via the Android Central App
  • And trolling is just so easy for others Posted via the Android Central App
  • Priority mode was bypassed by a lot of apps. I think they fixed that now though. Before Textra, for instance, would still make notification sounds in priority mode even if messaging wasn't a priority.
  • this is how i got around the new BS. - Adjust the vibration setting sliders to none, set your volume before you go to bed to vibrate only. Alarms still work, no other audible distractions. Volume down all the way to mute, then up one. I never use the actual "vibrate only" anyway. Its still a pain, but easier than the priority thing, I change my sleep hours all the time and cant be bothered to adjust the stupid priority hours.
  • Agreed. Why does Google have the "ultimately more elegant" feature which is actually a pain to wade though? And, if they must have it, why force it on all of us? What is so difficult about the actually more useful "silent"??
  • Thanks for these information.
    (patni vashikaran mantra )
  • So basically "None" is the equivalent of "Do Not Disturb" on the iPhone, except that any alarms set to go off in the next 12 hours will still sound? Posted via the Android Central App
  • No. If you set it to "none" then it'll stay that way forever. If there's an alarm set within the next 12 hours, you'll see an additional option to set interruptions to "none" until whenever that alarm fires.
  • I wish that 'until next alarm' option was always there so setting an alarm wasn't a two step process, but I'll take what I can get!
  • Plus, it forces you to use the default system alarm - if you're using a different alarm app this option doesn't show up! So now I have to manually adjust the "none" timeframes every night, depending on what time I go to bed and what time I wake up. Because on priority you can't turn off the damn vibrate. This made it worse. Much worse.
  • So Alex Dobie, are you saying if I want everything off until my next alarm, I set that but can also say put it back to None after the alarm? Essentially, the old Pre-Lollipop mute I had on my S5 where really I had everything silent all day and only my alarm made noise to wake me up in the morning? That would be exactly what I need. Also, I saw LEDs can still fire, that would be awesome as I used to just have sound for Alarm, everything else was quiet but I like the LEDs telling me when I have new messages. 5.0 sucks on my S5 because it doesn't do that!
  • Still not sure why they haven't tried to implement the "bed side mode" Blackberry had. It's similar to Moto Assist except is only activated when docked or charging. Therefore, if you're not in bed yet, you can still get notifications and not have to worry about setting it when going to bed.
  • As in, for example, that one time when I was not asleep but was picking up my husband at the airport. And my phone was silent so I could not hear his call to me. How is that better?!! I held the phone in my hand and watched to see if he was calling. NOT "more elegant."
  • Ok, so why can't the idiots working at Google just bring back plain ol' silent mode?
  • Because they know you'll get used to change. Posted via the Android Central App
  • U answered ur own question. They're idiots. Posted via Android Central App on The Nexus 5
  • I brought back silent mode by downgrading to Kit Kat. Much happier now. :)
  • Its about time! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yeah, the interruption mode thing was poorly executed at the outset. On my Galaxy S5, the way I've been handling it to date is to only go to Vibrate, and turn on only allow priority interruptions for 8 hours. That basically gets me what I had with silent mode before. I would be happy with the feature to set silent until my alarm.
  • Some of us are awoken by vibrations though.
  • Whyyy google whyyy??? I suppose all this advanced profile settings can be useful from time to time, but 99% of the people, 99% of the time just want their phones to ring + vibrate or just be on mute.
    So, OBVIOUSLY the proper way of implementing this is an optional setting in the sounds menu called something like "Advanced Sounds Profiles". If the user wants to activate it, cool he/she has the option.
    I already know a few people who basically said that they HATE the new modes, they don't work for them and will switch to another OS (we know which one) ASAP.
  • Those people are what we thinking humans call lazy. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's not lazy. Ur phone is supposed to make ur life easier, not more complicated. Posted via Android Central App on The Nexus 5
  • You speak the truth. I work as a tutor. I just want to have a quick way to make my phone silent. Not vibrate. Nothing. Silent. Not interrupting my work. And I don't want to figure out some complicated series of options, just make it silent.
  • Can't wait for 8 months time when I get the 5.1 update on my Moto G 2nd gen to try this out Posted via the Android Central App
  • People hated NFC, fingerprint recognition, face unlock, smart watches, etc etc etc. If you don't like innovation and you want technology 3 years after it's adopted go buy an iPhone. I love the new settings and for those that wonder why Google why, it's because people requested these changes. There are hundreds of apps that did this previously, I owned a few. Now it's much simpler, baked in and with an open mind to change, it just works Via the AC App On Verizon Nexus 6
  • Innovation and changing just to change are two different things. Real innovation would not remove options and instead would improve on them, like how Apple innovates. Google almosts perfects something, then for some reason completely changes course and ends up removing options.
  • Apple innovates? Oh dear... I'm by no means a fan boy of Android, or a hater of iPhones, but you sir are delusional. Oh wait, they did innovate a square with rounded edges, my bad. Via the AC App On Verizon Nexus 6
  • I don't understand how to use the interruptions feature of this latest update on my HTC one. I've read three articles on the topic including this one and all I can see is a bunch of totally baffled users, including myself. I'm not interested in arguing how great or awful these new features are, I simply can't figure out how to accomplish what I need to accomplish, which is allow certain calls in, silencing others, blocking calls but not texts on certain days and all sounds except alarms on all evenings. Is there a way to do this?
  • Do you really feel like they hit the mark with a feature that requires more clicks/steps to turn on silent mode, and still allow my alarm to sound and wake me up? That's insane! All I had to do was go to silent before and I was confident my alarm would go off. Now there's more work, or I don't even go into silent mode, and just deal with the fact that a vibration might wake me up in the middle of the night.
  • It's complicated, klugey, and annoying. Why not a quick "go silent, phone"?
  • It's oh so close to the old silent mode now. If it just stayed in "None" after that alarm it would be the same thing. Yet, look how confusing and messed up it is. Before simply holding your volume button down did the same thing. Way to be confusing Google.
  • That and the fact that the LED continues to function within None and Priority is awesome. I'm content with notification settings now.
  • Unless you own a Nexus 6 with no stocks enabled LED lol Posted via the Android Central App
  • so what's the point of android wear??? I got a moto 360 cuz I don't want my phone to vibe or make a noise, period! just bring back mute Google. Posted via AC app on my X 14
  • does the 'mute phone while wear is connected' option not work for you?
  • it works for notifications, but if I get a phone call, my phone rings...so every time I have to put my phone on vibe and it drives me crazy. I want it like KitKat my phone does nothing Posted via AC app on my X 14
  • I don't like some of the arbitrary time periods they've programmed in--why can't I set None for 30 hours? why can't I set Priority until an alarm next Tuesday?
    Also, I want a fast way to get into the interruptions menu without altering the current volume. Why is it not accessible from quick settings panel? an icon at the top left above or next to time would be perfect. otherwise I like the new system.
  • Why is it so difficult to imitate the awesome "Bedside Mode" that BlackBerry has (had?) This is just an overly complicated "solution" to an imaginary problem. These changes are overly complicated and extremely confusing, especially when apps are able to bypass them. The ONLY thing I want my phone to do while it's charging at night is to wake me up when my alarm goes off. No vibrate, no LED, no calls. It's crazy how difficult this is to attain on 5.0
  • What? On 5.0 simply set auto priority in your settings. Alarms will still fire and unless you set contacts or apps to priority your phone will stay silent all night long. In 5.1 do the same or manually using none with alarm activation. It's very easy and not complicated at all. Via the AC App On Verizon Nexus 6
  • Where is "auto priority"? I tried using Priority mode with calls/messages/events turned off and was still getting random notifications
  • Settings > Sound & Notifications > Interruptions > Downtime Section Set days of week and time for on/off. Also, it should be noted that 5.1 does fix some apps not honoring priority on some devices. On the Nexus 6 I haven't experienced issues with rogue notifications.
  • Oh, that doesn't work for me, as every day would require different times.
  • Most likely then you have a device that had issues in 5.0, whereas apps weren't honoring priority. This should be fixed for you in 5.1. You'll just have to manually set priority every night before bed since your times are always different. Via the AC App On Verizon Nexus 6
  • Thats stupid. Not everyone goes to bed and wakes up at the exact same time every single day, every week.
  • You amuse me. Are you complaining because Android hasn't figured out a way to automatically detect when you're asleep and then read your mind to figure out when you want to wake? C'mon... I didn't think I'd have to do this but let me explain my use case. My phone goes to priority automatically at 10pm and turns off at 7am. My alarm in the morning is set to 5:30am. I go to sleep every night after 10pm. I wake up every morning at 5:30am. So yes this means that every night after 10pm I have no alerts other than those that have priority or my priority contacts. I really don't care about Amazon local deals, spammy newsletters, Facebook friend suggestions or anything other than those that have priority. In the morning I really don't care for notifications until I get to the office at 7. I have other more important things to do in the morning. Maybe sometime soon, they'll make an underwater notification system so that you never miss a notification while swimming. Or maybe satellite capabilities so that I can get notifications while snowboarding atop Heavenly. My point... Unless you're on call for work or manage critical infrastructure, it's just not that important. Android dev is moving forward to accommodate as many people as possible in a variety of use case scenarios. This is just another step in that direction. Not everyone likes change, get used to it. Via the AC App On Verizon Nexus 6
  • Wire Flare
    I see what you're saying. But you aren't listening to others who don't use a Nexus device. It's NOT simple to make our phones completely silent at night with the exception of the alarm clock anymore. It's either have NO sounds or vibrations at all and have to buy a traditional alarm clock (or use my old phone that I now keep plugged in on the nightstand as my alarm) or have to wake up to every app that vibrates at night or to the pings of notifications just to make sure we can hear our alarm in the morning. THIS is our complaint. There is no other option. I have tried everything in every menu, and tech support says "sorry that's just how it is now." We arent saying that they shouldn't have made these new options and priorities for people who want them, but they shouldn't have abandoned the basic fundamentals of how sound notifications have worked on most smartphones since their creation. I'm sorry if you think that's stupid, it's not that we hate change, it's that we hate that we no longer having an option to use our phone the way we always have, not even by digging through 12 settings lists or using 5 apps we never needed before.
  • You live in your own world if you believe it's very easy and not complicated at all. ESPECIALLY when compared with "go silent, phone." That is one easy, uncomplicated command. I have been frustrated by my phone a number of times, implementing this "ultimately more elegant" feature. Hogwash. It's klugey, complicated, annoying.
  • I'm mad we don't have block mode on note 4... It was much better for me... I rather certain calls not go thru Posted via the Android Central App
  • Am I really the only one that doesn't understand the problem? If you want your mute function, leave priority on default settings and priority will be the same as mute. The only problem I'm having is Skype ignoring priority mode.
  • if you ignore the alarm issue then Priority is only the same as mute if you are not using priority mode as it was intended (you haven't set up priority notifications). You have to wonder what Google are thinking, I set alarms for a reason, if I don't want an alarm to go off I won't set one.
  • Just download Shush. Best damn utility ever. Dirt simple. You set volume to zero, a popup asks you wne you want it back on, you twirl a dial thing to set the time (way easier than any scrolling hours, minutes and seconds and you're done. When time is up, the noise comes back on to your original setting. It's just purely awesome in it's simplicity and elegance. And its free, No ads, no begging, no weird rights, nothing. Perfect.
  • +1 Shush is fantastic! Posted via Android Central App
  • Solutions I don't need for problems I don't have. That's the Chicago way.
  • I don't fundamentally don't understand the problem everyone has with Priority mode for bedside alarm. Just set Priority mode interruptions settings to allow no events, calls or messages, and you'll only be be interrupted by the alarm the next morning. It works for me. I honestly don't understand the problem everyone has with using their phone as a bedside alarm with Priority mode. Posted via the Android Central App
  • For muting of phone during meetings, try the recent SilentMe android app. It's automatically syncs with your calendar and puts the phone on silent so you never have those awkward moments. https://www.androidcentral.com/e?link=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.anrdoezrs.net%2F...
  • Priority mode is rubbish and doesn't do what beside mode did. It's now impossible to turn off vibrations and sounds over certain times but still allow notification lights. Driving me nuts.
  • I agree that the "until alarm" feature is great. But you make it sound like enabling alarms as a priority interruption is sooo hard. You tap a couple icons and it's configured. Extra steps to configure basic settings is the trade-off for having the ability to change those configurations in the first place. If you want a phone that dictates how you will use it, get an iPhone.
  • I still find the whole muting - notifications/priority/all/none incredibly confusing. Im glad I stlll use an app called Notification Toggles that still has a volume toggle switch with vibrate and silent that seems to work to mute the phone but still have my alarm work. I don't understand why Google has to make it so complicated.
  • Why does Android continue to make it so complicated. I just want a simple toggle option.. Volume on, off or vibrate... Is there even a vibrate mode in this convoluted system?
  • Lollipop is garbage IMHO. I have an HTC and just got it and its a mess. I use my HTC for work so I get corporate emails. My family text me at various times and I get calls all the time. Using the "shut off" feature of priority doe snot work since I can get calls from various numbers that are not in my contacts list. I cannot turn off the annoying vibrate that I get when priority interrupt is triggered. Android reminds me of the companies who all said they will "kill" Cisco and many of them are out of business. I predict Android will be the same in a few years. While I am not totally in with Apple, I have to admit IOS is a more user friendly OS for many of us. I use IOS personally and I wish I could move my corporate to an Iphone. For now I have to junk my HTC and go back to a Galaxy S4 which I left for the HTC. Google is pathetic. BTW, I switched to Android for personal use in 2013 after years of IOS, I went back to IOS in 2014 because Android stunk for personal use.
  • For those which have problems, my app (without ads) makes the workaround.
    It's called WLHF (What Lollipop Has Forgotten)
    https://www.androidcentral.com/e?link=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.anrdoezrs.net%2F...
  • i wanna say fuck you android for this fucking update. phone is fucking vibrating endlessly for my whatapps messages. Mind your own fucking business and not interrupt my phone and yea interrupt my fucking ass. fuck you android.
  • Same here!! so annoying. Priorities is rubbish, doesn't work at all.
  • When I put my nexus 6 into 'priority' or 'none' mode, i still get the drop down notification when a call comes in. There is no ring tone but i still get the notification and chance to pick up the call. I think this is not how 'none' should work.
    Does anyone have this problem or a solution please.
    p.s. all the priority settings are set to none too. weird.
  • the priority mode is a disgusting joke. it shows how simple minded the nerds who came up with this crap are. the priority interruptions mode will not disable system sounds (like low battery) . huh?
    google keep notifications wont show up?
    I do like my notification lights (they don't bother me to the least) and if they do bother then I might just put the damn phone face down.
    I know many agree with me.
  • Why change what was tried, tested and valued by users? When I'm in a meeting and need to put my phone on mute or vibrate discretely the old way was ideal. I don't want to worry about what programmes may or may not follow the phone settings or fiddle about with my phone unnecessarily. Why complicate things? I don't see why they couldn't offer the option to use the old or new method depending on the users preference.
  • I am frustrated by Lollipop. There is no way I could find to get to the configuration I want, but it only took seconds to do it in Kit Kat.
    I want the "bedside mode", which was completely removed. Priorities is something entirely different.
    It's now impossible to: Turn off vibrations and sounds over certain times but still allow notification lights.
    If you can recommend an app that will do that, please let me know! All configurations I tried either cause vibrations (even though vibrations are set to off in system menu) or they switch notification lights off (even though notification lights are on in the system menu).
    Utter rubbish
  • Convoluted. I liked the old volume controls better. Not saying anyone is wrong for loving this, its just not for me. I'm not interested in any white listing, I just want to set my volume and go.
  • What about the siient mode with vibration on..there is only three options on it..None(mute), Priority, All(Normal)...can u help me to set the vibrate mode
  • I love the blackberry, they solved this a decade ago: volume high
    --press down arrow
    volume is medium
    --press down arrow
    volume is lowest
    --press down arrow
    volume is off, only alarms can be heard
    --press down arrow
    COMPLETELY MUTED, NO ALARMS! Even feature phones had this issue solved eons ago! Also, I love the blackberry's low-power sleep feature. But such a feature would require a tighter integration between the hardware and software than may be possible with android. Google, just buy blackberry already, so that something that's so simple and obvious but is probably patented can be used by android. And we can have those nice keyboards that feel so great in your hands! Have you ever found a bluetooth keyboard as good as the blackberry's? I didn't think so. Stop reinventing the wheel. It's only since 2011 that keyboards such as swype and smart keyboard can type as fast or faster than the beloved berry's. Thank you, and have a nice day.
  • I'm not happy with this so-called improvement. I must "mute" my phone at my work and it was very easy to hit the "Sleep Mode" and go. It was just a simple touch. Now I've got to take extra steps to keep my phone from letting "interruptions" come through. I do not understand why they must take things away that work so well. Seriously... if it's not broken... don't fix it!
  • I can't believe how stupid and complicated this new system is. I want to go to sleep without being interrupted by vibrations from notifications . I want the alarm on simple as that all this blah blah blah over one simple stupid feature they totally screwed up
  • Question. So, I have the priority set to ring at 5:30 a.m. when I am hoping to get a call for a job. Not to mention, shudder, my alarm has just gone off and I'm up. But, HEY, it's a break week, so I set the phone to silent. And it said "how long" and I said "indefinitely" which, foolish me, I thought meant "until I say to make sound." So, I woke up and turned it to sound on and.... I get no sound. The calls and texts that have come to me today have been SILENT. No ring, no vibrate, nothing. And the volume is set to high. WHAT? How am I supposed to get my sounds back? WHY DOES GOOGLE THINK THIS HOT MESS IS "ULTIMATELY MORE ELEGANT"?!!!
  • I think that Sound Off Reborn is better than built in Don't disturb. It is much easier to see what I scheduled for mute.