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Question Setup: Notifications while inactive on 5a/5g Android 12

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Rich_Palermo

Member
Jun 22, 2018
23
3
I bought a Pixel 5a/5g unlocked from Google and installed Android 12 during setup. I am currently using an LG V20 on Sprint/T-Mobile (USA) and have to upgrade the phone to be compatible with T-Mobile starting in 2022, hence the Pixel purchase. The phone is not rooted and I don't have the skills to do so.

Currently, I am evaluating the phone without a SIM card for usability, features, etc before deciding to keep it or return it. I can do email but not texts.

Installed Nova Launcher 7 (Free) to recover look-and-feel of the V20 homescreen.

Issue: I am having trouble getting notifications when the phone is inactive.
- "Always show time and date " is enabled so the lock screen will show that for a while: When I get emails, I will often (but not always) get a sound, the time display gets smaller, and an envelope icon appears
- After some time inactive, the screen goes dark. At that point, incoming emails don't ever show an icon alert. I only know they've arrived by making the phone active, going to the home screen, and waiting for it to contact the email server
- As far as I know, alerts are enabled for the mail app within the mail app and also in Settings for the mail app


The V20 had none of these issues. I'd get alerts on the "Second Screen" without any problem.

1) Any recommendations for how to get alerts to show consistently?
2) Is it possible to get notifications to show on the top of the screen next to the front facing camera or to the right of that where the wifi and battery icons display? I don't want to incur a battery penalty by having the date and time constantly displayed in large format

Supplementary info:
With the V20 and Pixel both on, the V20 alerts to every email within a few seconds. The Pixel alerts at best 1-5 minutes later and sometimes not at all.

[Edited for clarity]
 
Last edited:

Rich_Palermo

Member
Jun 22, 2018
23
3
Thank you. I've enclosed a screenshot of what I think you said to do and will run my tests again. If it is not the correct setting, I'd appreciate knowing. I've used Android phones for a long time but each version of the OS takes a lot of getting used to.
 

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Rich_Palermo

Member
Jun 22, 2018
23
3
Go to settings -> apps and turn off battery optimization for any app you need. I personally have no problems with notifications with battery optimization off for my email app...
This has improved the situation to some extent. I got email notifications for five consecutive test messages sent at intervals on the Pixel without any missed ones over about 90 minutes. But, it still takes from 1 to 5 minutes whereas the V20 responds within 15 seconds and always faster than the Pixel.

Any ideas on the latency? (I also just found a setting to allow Unrestricted Data and I set Blue Mail my mail app to have that privilege)

Are there any mandatory Google services for push notifications to work? I generally disable any apps I don't use and can't remove but maybe there is something in Android 12 that I've overdone.
Currently, Gmail, Google, Google TV, and Youtube are disabled.

Additional observation:
Once the Pixel issues the alert of incoming mail, if I access the account through a separate client and mark the mail read, the icon on the Pixel disappears immediately. It is definitely hooked into the account but the notification part is slower than it ought.
 
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dkryder

Senior Member
Sep 26, 2013
465
113
Google Pixel 3a
Google Pixel 5a
one consideration may be how your pixel is interacting with whatever wifi you are using. also it seems to me a good test would be on a level playing field so turn off mobile data on the v20 so it is using the same wifi. if it's a hotspot off the v20 then use another wifi source.
 
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Rich_Palermo

Member
Jun 22, 2018
23
3
I'll try that and report back. The V20 is not a hotspot . It is on the same Wifi network as the Pixel. The V20 did have cellular data enabled on the prior tests but AFAIK, the cellular data is not used when the unit is on Wifi.

Am I correct in expecting the Pixel to have an alert time comparable to the V20?
 

Rich_Palermo

Member
Jun 22, 2018
23
3
one consideration may be how your pixel is interacting with whatever wifi you are using. also it seems to me a good test would be on a level playing field so turn off mobile data on the v20 so it is using the same wifi. if it's a hotspot off the v20 then use another wifi source.
I disabled mobile data on the V20 and compared it with the SIM-less Pixel 5a/5g. Both are connected to the same Wifi network in my house and are next to each other on a table.

I sent 6 separate messages over about one hour to an email account (not Gmail) setup on both phones on the BlueMail app configured for Push notifications. Messages were sent on the minute mark and all devices were time synched to within a couple of seconds presumably based on a network time server. 3 messages sent from an iPhone using cellular data with Wifi off, 3 sent from my laptop using Gmail. Laptop is on the same wifi network.

In all six cases, the V20 responded in ~20 seconds almost to the dot.

The Pixel "beat" the V20 one time out of six - alert came almost instantly. The other five were 2, 3, 3, 4, and 4 minute intervals (aggregate, not all in a row) and almost always on the minute mark.

I used a macOS mail client to mark the messages as read and the alerts on both devices cleared instantly.

So, unfortunately, it is not the Mobile Data.

But, the minute mark delays make me wonder if the Pixel is polling or requires other configuration to do true Push notifications. e.g. something other than battery saver that tells the Pixel to be continuously alert for pushes.

According to this link, that isn't how Push works but the observations are what they are.

Does Android have a method to dump all the phone settings to a file? It is possible I tweaked something on the V20 a long time ago and forgot about the setting.
 

Rich_Palermo

Member
Jun 22, 2018
23
3
Additional data:

Prior runs done with both phones on battery.

Noticed Adaptive Battery was still on for some reason and toggled it off. Thought I had done that earlier. No effect to alert times.

Plugged both phones in and repeated:
1) Pixel behaves oddly. On battery, lock screen continuously shows the clock. On power, the lock screen locks after 2 mins for a while, then stops doing that but the clock brightens and dims every 30-45 seconds
2) When the Pixel screen is blanked, messages seem to be downloaded but either a sound plays with no display alert or no sound plays and no display alert

Again, marking messages read on another client takes effect immediately on the Pixel mail app.

I have no idea if this is hardware, the OS, or some weird interaction between them. I don't think there are any other battery panels to check. I received the phone on Saturday 27 November and have no idea how to contact Google for an exchange. They say they're very busy and to use their Forum which obviously won't do swaps or refunds.
 
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dkryder

Senior Member
Sep 26, 2013
465
113
Google Pixel 3a
Google Pixel 5a
i noticed under gmail settings/account settings there is an inbox notifications. and then a selection to notify for every message. i would think that this would be a default setting but looks like if you want to be notified for every message you have to select it. i normally have these notifications turned off so i guess i'm not the one to offer understanding of the ins and outs but this thing with 2 separate devices not getting almost identical notifications when desired does sorta interest me because i would think they should. i think setting battery usage to unrestricted is correct. another thing i might suspect is the adaptive connectivity selection on network connections. like maybe if you use it then wifi is not continuously on when the device is mostly idle.
 

Rich_Palermo

Member
Jun 22, 2018
23
3
i noticed under gmail settings/account settings there is an inbox notifications. and then a selection to notify for every message. i would think that this would be a default setting but looks like if you want to be notified for every message you have to select it. i normally have these notifications turned off so i guess i'm not the one to offer understanding of the ins and outs but this thing with 2 separate devices not getting almost identical notifications when desired does sorta interest me because i would think they should. i think setting battery usage to unrestricted is correct. another thing i might suspect is the adaptive connectivity selection on network connections. like maybe if you use it then wifi is not continuously on when the device is mostly idle.
Ok, thanks for this.

I think I will have to exchange or return this Pixel 5a/5g. I believe I have everything set up correctly in BlueMail. I have my own domain and IMAP mail service so I don't use any Gmail settings.

On top of all of the connectivity issues, the camera shows some light black "venetian blinds" as I move it around. Other apps such as AirDroid are sluggish when connecting to the Pixel and lightning fast on the V20.

I think I got a lemon.
 

dkryder

Senior Member
Sep 26, 2013
465
113
Google Pixel 3a
Google Pixel 5a
Ok, thanks for this.

I think I will have to exchange or return this Pixel 5a/5g. I believe I have everything set up correctly in BlueMail. I have my own domain and IMAP mail service so I don't use any Gmail settings.

On top of all of the connectivity issues, the camera shows some light black "venetian blinds" as I move it around. Other apps such as AirDroid are sluggish when connecting to the Pixel and lightning fast on the V20.

I think I got a lemon.
i'll be interested to hear how google handles your issue so keep the thread updated. they seem to be getting bolder with denials of request for returns. the thing with the back of the 5a being kinda streaked with different shades of black is what i have on mine but i've been reading that google seems to think it's not a defect. i use a case so it's not something i get all worked up about but when other people say they think it's a returnable defect i can relate. i'm coming from the 3a and i think this 5a is overall a good evolution of the "a" lineage.
 
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Rich_Palermo

Member
Jun 22, 2018
23
3
i'll be interested to hear how google handles your issue so keep the thread updated. they seem to be getting bolder with denials of request for returns. the thing with the back of the 5a being kinda streaked with different shades of black is what i have on mine but i've been reading that google seems to think it's not a defect. i use a case so it's not something i get all worked up about but when other people say they think it's a returnable defect i can relate. i'm coming from the 3a and i think this 5a is overall a good evolution of the "a" lineage.
I will update the thread with the return/refund status. This was my first and now my last Google device. I only wish I had punted as soon as the notification issue came up and not spent so many hours running tests.

Their support directions claim there is a "Next Step: Chat or Get a Call" but plow through the steps and you wind up with Ask the Community or Contact Us, the latter which gives "Due to high volumes, you may experience long wait times for customer support. We greatly appreciate your patience."

Fortunately, I logged into my order and saw a "Return" link. I had saved all the packing so it is back in the box with the RMA inside and the mailing label outside, ready to drop off at the Post Office/Fed Ex later today.

Note: Google does NOT list "Defective" or any flavor thereof as a reason for the return. The two mandatory dropdowns hint at problems that might have solutions if you could actually get at somebody. The comment box got a good workout though.

My device looked ok superficially but the innards are terrible. My old, obsolete V20 from eBay running Android 8 outperformed the 5a/5g not just in notifications but with other programs and in general smart design features such as the second screen , removable battery, and excellent cameras with manual controls.

I read and watched a lot of reviews before pulling the trigger on the 5a/5g and I won't ever visit those sites again! I will try to find a service that will take my V20 (it lacks a lot of bands though) and, failing that, go back to eBay and roll the dice there. If I have to settle for lower performance, I'm not paying $440 ($399+tax) for the privilege.

I do appreciate the help from the Forum.
 

CarinaPDX

Senior Member
Jun 30, 2013
268
90
Google Pixel 5a
It is quite common for email to be checked every 4 minutes, by your email client asking your server for new messages - it is NOT usually a push service. Check your email client and if you are lucky you will find, probably buried deep somewhere, a setting for time between updates. The delays you recorded, maxing out at 4 minutes (twice) is the clue. Nothing wrong here. The V20 may be hammering the server but that is not necessarily a good thing.

I don't think you got a lemon. But you should know that Android 12 may be the cause of some of the issues. I am still on 11 and have had no issues at all - it is a great phone as far as I am concerned. I will be updating to 12 soon, and hope that the next update will fix any issues with the new OS.
 

Rich_Palermo

Member
Jun 22, 2018
23
3
It is quite common for email to be checked every 4 minutes, by your email client asking your server for new messages - it is NOT usually a push service. Check your email client and if you are lucky you will find, probably buried deep somewhere, a setting for time between updates. The delays you recorded, maxing out at 4 minutes (twice) is the clue. Nothing wrong here. The V20 may be hammering the server but that is not necessarily a good thing.

I don't think you got a lemon. But you should know that Android 12 may be the cause of some of the issues. I am still on 11 and have had no issues at all - it is a great phone as far as I am concerned. I will be updating to 12 soon, and hope that the next update will fix any issues with the new OS.
The email clients on both phones were set for Push vs. IMAP polling at specific intervals. I went through all the setup screens I could find on the Pixel and on the app.

I agree that the OS may be the problem but I have to evaluate the product as a whole. There were a few other issues I had with the device which I didn't list here to stay focused and not generally gripe.

Perhaps an update will fix some or all of my concerns but I have already sent the phone back.
 

jcmm11

Recognized Contributor
Feb 10, 2012
3,587
3,602
Google Pixel 4a 5G
Is adaptive battery on? If so:
"To extend battery life, Adaptive Battery may reduce performance and background activity. Some notifications may be delayed."
 

Rich_Palermo

Member
Jun 22, 2018
23
3
i'll be interested to hear how google handles your issue so keep the thread updated. they seem to be getting bolder with denials of request for returns. t...
A full refund has posted to my credit card. I dropped off the package at FedEx Wednesday night where they scanned it in. Got an alert of a pending refund 30 minutes later. The transaction completed this morning.

No complaints on that score. The package is still in transit so Google refunded before receipt.
 
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dkryder

Senior Member
Sep 26, 2013
465
113
Google Pixel 3a
Google Pixel 5a
A full refund has posted to my credit card. I dropped off the package at FedEx Wednesday night where they scanned it in. Got an alert of a pending refund 30 minutes later. The transaction completed this morning.

No complaints on that score. The package is still in transit so Google refunded before receipt.
thanks for the update. that's good news. i had an experience with the pixel c tablet several years ago where the display was not scanning properly. they sent me a return ship label that day and shipped a new unit the next day. i had no problems with the new unit. so hearing that they are still quite prompt in resolving the customers issue is good to know.
 

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  • 1
    Go to settings -> apps and turn off battery optimization for any app you need. I personally have no problems with notifications with battery optimization off for my email app...
    1
    one consideration may be how your pixel is interacting with whatever wifi you are using. also it seems to me a good test would be on a level playing field so turn off mobile data on the v20 so it is using the same wifi. if it's a hotspot off the v20 then use another wifi source.
    1
    Additional data:

    Prior runs done with both phones on battery.

    Noticed Adaptive Battery was still on for some reason and toggled it off. Thought I had done that earlier. No effect to alert times.

    Plugged both phones in and repeated:
    1) Pixel behaves oddly. On battery, lock screen continuously shows the clock. On power, the lock screen locks after 2 mins for a while, then stops doing that but the clock brightens and dims every 30-45 seconds
    2) When the Pixel screen is blanked, messages seem to be downloaded but either a sound plays with no display alert or no sound plays and no display alert

    Again, marking messages read on another client takes effect immediately on the Pixel mail app.

    I have no idea if this is hardware, the OS, or some weird interaction between them. I don't think there are any other battery panels to check. I received the phone on Saturday 27 November and have no idea how to contact Google for an exchange. They say they're very busy and to use their Forum which obviously won't do swaps or refunds.
    1
    Ok, thanks for this.

    I think I will have to exchange or return this Pixel 5a/5g. I believe I have everything set up correctly in BlueMail. I have my own domain and IMAP mail service so I don't use any Gmail settings.

    On top of all of the connectivity issues, the camera shows some light black "venetian blinds" as I move it around. Other apps such as AirDroid are sluggish when connecting to the Pixel and lightning fast on the V20.

    I think I got a lemon.
    i'll be interested to hear how google handles your issue so keep the thread updated. they seem to be getting bolder with denials of request for returns. the thing with the back of the 5a being kinda streaked with different shades of black is what i have on mine but i've been reading that google seems to think it's not a defect. i use a case so it's not something i get all worked up about but when other people say they think it's a returnable defect i can relate. i'm coming from the 3a and i think this 5a is overall a good evolution of the "a" lineage.
    1
    i'll be interested to hear how google handles your issue so keep the thread updated. they seem to be getting bolder with denials of request for returns. t...
    A full refund has posted to my credit card. I dropped off the package at FedEx Wednesday night where they scanned it in. Got an alert of a pending refund 30 minutes later. The transaction completed this morning.

    No complaints on that score. The package is still in transit so Google refunded before receipt.