How to configure conversations as Priority in Android (and why you should)

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Woman texting on Android.

Uwe Krejci/Getty Images

I cannot lie… I’ve missed conversations in Android. It happens. Most often I fall victim to this because I’ve either accidentally cleared all notifications without realizing there was a message I hadn’t seen, or it simply got buried under the barrage of Messages and Messenger chats. 

Fortunately, starting with Android 11, Google added a feature that helps make sure you don’t miss out on those more important conversations. 

The feature in question is called Priority conversations. Once you’ve set a conversation as a priority, it will get its own section within the Notification Shade that makes it easier to catch them. 

Also: How to stop apps from the notification shade on Android 13

In some cases (such as with Facebook Messenger), those conversations will be placed in bubbles that appear and remain on your home screen until you delete them. 

By making use of Priority conversations, I haven’t missed a single important missive since. 

Before you dive into this, think carefully about what conversations you want to add as a Priority. If you add too many conversations to the feature, you’ll wind up inundated anyway and will probably miss out in the end. To that end, choose wisely.

Requirements

As I mentioned, this feature arrived in Android 11, so you’ll need a device running at least that version of the OS. You’ll also need some conversations to add, which can be taken from the Android Messages app, Facebook Messenger, Slack, WhatsApp, and more. That’s all you need. Let’s make this a priority.

Also: Best Android phones

How to add conversations as Priority in Android

The first thing you’ll do is enable Bubble conversations. Although this isn’t a requirement, it does mean those conversations you add from apps that support Bubbles will then bubble all conversations that are added as a Priority that will then appear as floating bubbles on your home screen. To enable Bubbles, go to Settings > Notifications > Bubbles. In the resulting screen, tap the ON/OFF slider until it’s in the ON position.

The Bubble feature ON/OFF slider.

Enabling the Bubble feature in Android 13.

Image: Jack Wallen

Now, we’ll add conversations to the list. To do that, go to Settings > Notifications > Conversations. In the resulting window, you’ll find three sections: 

  • Priority conversations: Those conversations you’ve set as Priority.
  • Non-priority conversations: Those conversations you’ve made changes to (such as moving them to Priority and out).
  • Recent conversations: Recent conversations that have never been added to Priority.

The list of conversations that can be added to the Priority section.

You’ll find three sections of conversations here: Priority, Non-Priority, and Recent.

Image: Jack Wallen

Also: How to prevent Android apps from adding launchers to your phone’s home screen 

To add a conversation to Priority, locate it from the list of either Non-priority or Recent conversations and tap it to reveal the options. You should see Priority, Default, and Silent. You will also see options to Bubble this conversation, Pop on screen, Sound configuration, Show notification dot, and Vibration. Make sure to at least tap Priority for the conversation and then customize it as needed.

The notifications setting window for a conversation in Android 13.

A conversation is easily added to the Priority list in Android.

Image: Jack Wallen

At this point, those conversations you’ve added to the Priority list will now (at least) show up in the Priority section of the Notification Shade or as Bubbles on your home screen. This is a great way to ensure you don’t miss out on anything from those contacts who should be considered a priority.

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