With Android 11, Google revamped media controls by introducing a unified design in a central place — in the notification drop-down, below the quick settings toggles — and letting most apps use it by default, whether they're playing music or videos. Beta after beta, the design and functionality improved, and the ability to swipe the controls away was added, but that only hid them by dropping them lower. With the December patch and Feature Drop, you can finally remove the media controls for good when you're done listening.

The feature is as simple as tapping and holding on the media card of any app then choosing Dismiss. Playback stops and the controls go away. It works on a per-app basis, so if you dismiss YouTube, you can still keep Spotify front and center. It also works in both of these situations:

  • when media playback is ongoing and you can see the controls in your regular notification drop-down (left screenshot below)
  • when you've already swiped away the player but can still see it if you double drop-down to reveal all quick settings toggles (right GIF below). This is usually where media controls sit when idle, waiting for you to pick up playback again.

Of course, if you prefer that the controls disappear completely each time you stop, you can tap the Settings button and turn off Media player in Quick Settings. This'll make sure the media notification goes away as soon as possible.

Personally, I'd prefer if the opposite was possible, i.e. if I could just pin my favorite music app there and never see it go away. Sadly, in my experience (and that of others) the controls sometimes disappear without rhyme or reason, even mid-playback in a few cases, or as soon as the system kicks their app out of memory.

  • Thanks:
  • Diogo Hayakawa