This is something I noticed on my Android device. When you have a notification, there's a slowly pulsing notification light when your phone is sleeping.


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This light comes in different colors, I've seen it as white, blue, and green. This seems to be something that can be controlled by the app that sends the notification. E.g. Facebook is blue, Twitter is green.

Are there conventions as to what the color ought to represent? A quick google search doesn't bring up anything specific.

  • 1
    why the downvote? this is a very interesting question!
    – Devin
    Sep 29, 2015 at 22:37
  • I found some answers, but they all refer to apps, aren't you using an app to control this?
    – Devin
    Sep 29, 2015 at 22:50
  • Likely downvoted because people follow the "if there is no standard then it's the dev's decision, meaning it was his opinion, i.e. opinion based" I've seen downvote/close votes for that more than once. Also at least for my old android you could change that color for different apps, messenger purple, missed call orange, etc. So it may actually be purely opinion or phone's defaults.
    – DasBeasto
    Sep 29, 2015 at 22:51
  • I found a reference that red indicator is shown if your phone has low battery, which makes sense. The rest of it seems to be about an app that you download to allow the user to adjust the colors. So if there's no conventions and it's truly a stylistic decision, then it's good to know. And @Devin no, there's no way to adjust this on my stock android without downloading a utility app. Somehow I'm getting those default colors.
    – nightning
    Sep 29, 2015 at 23:02

1 Answer 1


No, there is no standard for this - Google does not even refer to it in the Material Design guidelines.

In the Android Developers Guidelines:

Pulse the notification LED appropriately

The user's control over notifications should extend to the LED. When you use DEFAULT_LIGHTS, the LED will glow white. Your notifications shouldn't use a different color unless the user has explicitly customized it [emphasis mine].

It will be up to the app and the capabilities of the device as to what colour will be shown, as of early 2016, Android phones do not have a standard pattern for this.

iPhones do not have a comparable notification light - the only thing close to it is the LED flash on the back, which only flashes in one colour.

  • I don't think the fact that it is not included in Material Design is a good reason, Material Design is made for on screen UI design not these lights that are in the hardware. If anywhere in their specs it would likely be in their general design docs more specifically the Android Handheld Devices section where they note things such as the system bar and notifications.
    – DasBeasto
    Mar 17, 2016 at 15:28
  • Great comment, will update answer (although I don't think that link disproves it!)
    – Midas
    Mar 17, 2016 at 15:47
  • In other words, the guidelines say to use the standard "white" for LED. However, app developers customize the color way more than is recommended by the guidelines without explicit user request. Thanks!
    – nightning
    Mar 17, 2016 at 18:19

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