Shrinking screen bezels have played a big role in the disappearance of the subtly breathing notification LED from our modern phones. An always-on display is a fine middle ground that lets you stay on top of your notifications right from the lock screen, but OnePlus hasn’t been able to perfect it for general availability. While you wait for the feature to see the light of day, the only way to get a notification indicator (well, kind of) on your OnePlus 8 right now is through the aodNotify app, but it brings along with some unwelcome implications.
As you might’ve guessed, aodNotify works by lighting up a few pixels on the phone’s lock screen in the layout you pick within the app. There are a bunch of indicator styles for you to choose from, like a ring around the camera cutout, a simple dot, and edge lighting — all of which are customizable. You can use these elements for showing either your app notifications or the phone’s battery status. Inside the app, you can dive deep and pick separate colors for individual apps and contacts, among other settings.
On the first start-up, the app will ask for several accessibility permissions, after which you can start playing with all the options. Do bear in mind that not all features are available in the free version and some require you to make in-app purchases; even some essential ones like the interval mode for power saving and LED dot are behind the paywall. The app maker has tested aodNotify for the newest OnePlus 8 but reports compatibility even with the older OnePlus 7.
Both: Several grayed-out paid options. Right: Notification indicator around the OnePlus 7's notch.
The biggest downside of the app is its severe impact on the battery life, which the developer is forthright about. Depending on the custom combination you’ve set, the app can suck up to 7.5 percent of battery every hour, though with increased interval and the eco mode, the drain can be brought down to 2.5 percent. Perhaps the app’s early development stage could also be contributing to this lack of battery optimization, which might hopefully be improved in subsequent updates. An alternate option for battery indication exists in the form of the Energy Ring app for both the 8 and 8 Pro.