How to view your Android messaging history and why you might want to | ZDNet

I can not tell you how many times I have either accidentally deleted a notification that I actually needed to read, or deleted one of… only to find out that I should have been aware. In previous iterations of Android, it was not easy to track rejected messages. It has changed dramatically over the years and now it’s incredibly easy to see your entire story in the last 24 hours.

You read that right … 24 hours. Although Android makes it easy to see your history, it does not retain a full backlog of messages. This is a smart move, as not only would an entire history of messages start consuming local storage space, your phone would eventually become so slow that it would be useless. Ergo, the 24-hour limit.

But even if you are limited to the last 24 hours, it is still a very convenient feature to have available, and one that I use often.

There are two ways to access your notification history, both of which are really easy. Which one you use depends on which version of Android you are using. I want to demonstrate on Android 12, but the process is also the same for Android 11.

Let’s find out how this is done.

Activating the Android notification history

To view your notification history, first enable it. Drag the notification shadow down twice and tap the gear icon below the quick tile section. Once in the Settings app, tap Notifications. In the resulting screen (figure 1), tap Notifications.

figure 1


Access the notification history in Android 12.

In the next window (Figure 2), activate the message history by pressing the power slider until it is in the On position.

Figure 2


Activating the message history.

Since you have just activated the message history, you will not find any entries in the list. You should start receiving notifications very soon, which will now be logged.

How to access the notification history

Now that it’s enabled, there are two ways to access the message history. The first is the easiest. Drag your notification shadow down once, then scroll down to the bottom of your notifications. You should now see a History button (Figure 3).

Figure 3


The History button has been added to your notification screen.

Tap History to access your latest 24 hour notifications (Figure 4).

Figure 4


All your story belongs to us!

The next method of accessing your messaging history is not nearly as simple, but it is certainly no challenge. To go this route, drag your notification screen down twice and tap the Settings icon. Find and tap Notifications in the Settings app. In the resulting window, tap Notification History (Figure 5).

Figure 5


Access the message history from the Settings app on Android 12.

This will take you to the same window as the History button from the notification shade.

If you tap one of these entries, it opens the app that sent the message. So if you tap a Gmail notification entry from the history, it opens the Gmail app. The only caveat to this is, unlike tapping a message from the message shadow itself, it will not open the specific message / email / event associated with the message. In other words, if there is a message from Gmail generated from a particular email, a tap on the message from the message history will not open that email, but rather the Gmail app itself. And in some cases (such as with Google Drive), tapping an entry will only open the notification settings for that app.

Even with the caveats, this is a great way to ensure that you do not accidentally miss a notification from any app or service on your Android device.