Receive call and message notifications from select Android contacts only

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 4, 2018
Updated • Apr 4, 2018
Google Android

Before I go to sleep each night I switch my Android device to silent mode so that my sleep is not disrupted by calls, messages or notifications on the device.

I'm a light sleeper and any noise coming from my phone wakes me up immediately. While muting the device is important, it is equally important to still receive emergency calls or messages.

Android devices that run Android Lolipop or later (version 5.0 or later) come with a feature that Google calls Priority Mode.

Google describes Priority Mode in the following way:

You won't be disturbed by sounds and vibrations, except from alarms, reminders, events, and callers you specify.

Basically, what Priority Mode does is block sounds and vibrations on the device except for contacts and some other things you specify. You still get notifications when someone calls or messages you, but they are silent except when they come from a contact or app you specify.

I use it at night but it may also be useful when you are in meetings, focused on work, or are on a date.

Setting up Priority Mode on Android

priority mode android

How you set up Priority Mode depends largely on your Android version. What should work on all devices is to display the quick controls of the device and tap on "Do not disturb" there until "Priority Only" is listed as the current status of the device.

Once that is the case click on Priority only to open the settings. Take a look at the screenshot above as a guideline.

The "do not disturb" page should like Priority Only  as the mode the device is in. It is set to be turned on until you exit do not disturb mode on your device, but you may also enable it for one or multiple hours only if you prefer that.

The latter may be useful in time-limited scenarios such as meetings.

Select more settings on the screen to open the Priority Mode settings on the device. The next two configuration pages provide you with customization options.

Note: You can open the configuration pages by selecting Settings > Sound > Do not disturb preferences as well.

configure priority mode android

You can schedule priority mode on the first screen, so that it is activated on the weekend or weeknight automatically. Android comes with presets that you can enable right away and an option to create your own preset.

The "block visual disturbances" options controls whether silenced notifications may turn on the screen if it is off, or peek or appear on the screen.

  • Block when screen is on: Prevent notifications silenced by Do Not Disturb from peeking or popping on screen.
  • Block when screen is off: Prevent notifications silenced by Do Not Disturb from turning on the screen.

A tap on "priority only allows" opens the second configuration page. It is here that you configure Priority Mode in detail.

Basically, what you do on the screen is to define what is allowed in priority mode. You can allow or disallow reminders, events, messages, calls and repeat callers on the screen.

To allow only messages and calls from select contacts, set the two options to "from starred contacts only".  You may also set it to "from anyone", "from contacts only" or "none".

Starring contacts

star contact

The last thing you need to do is to select the contacts that you want to call or message you when the device is in priority mode. Note that this is only necessary if you have selected "from starred contacts only" during setup. If you have select "from contacts only", you don't need to do this.

Open Contacts on your Android device and select the contact that you want to add to the list of important contacts.

Simply tap on the star icon to favorite the contact to allow calls or messages in priority mode. To remove a contact, tap on the star icon again.

Closing Words

Priority Mode gives you options to silence your Android device for the most part but still receive sound or vibration notifications when an important contact tries to reach you.

Now You: Have you configured Priority Mode on your device?

Receive call and message notifications from select Android contacts only
Article Name
Receive call and message notifications from select Android contacts only
Before I go to sleep each night I switch my Android device to silent mode so that my sleep is not disrupted by calls, messages or notifications on the device.
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  1. Albert said on August 18, 2023 at 1:49 pm

    Thanks for the tip Martin.

    It is for these kinds of posts that I follow GHacks.

    1. Mike Williams said on August 26, 2023 at 8:55 pm

      What’s up with the generic comment, are you a bot?

  2. Tachy said on August 18, 2023 at 3:23 pm


    Where on the planet is that still in use? I was forced to give up using my RAZRV3 years ago because 2G was phased out by AT&T.

    1. arbuz said on August 20, 2023 at 5:02 pm

      Everywhere 3G has been turned off and you don’t have LTE coverage, and believe me there are many developed countries where this is the case and if it weren’t for 2G you wouldn’t even be able to make a phone call.

    2. Doc Fuddled said on August 31, 2023 at 5:55 pm

      Maybe I missed it, but I don’t believe tha term “2G” is in the article. Perhaps you are referring to “AGM G2”??

  3. Tachy said on August 18, 2023 at 3:27 pm


    Your website has gone insane.

    When I the post button I then saw my comment posted on a different article page. When I opened this article again, it is here.

    1. Martin P. said on August 31, 2023 at 4:39 pm

      @Tachy @Martin Brinkmann

      ” Your website has gone insane. ”

      Same here. Has happened several times.

      1. owl said on September 1, 2023 at 3:42 am

        @Martin P.,

        For over two weeks now,
        I’ve been seeing “Comments” posted by subscribers appearing in different, unrelated articles.
        For the time being,
        it would be better to specify the “article name and URL” at the beginning of the post.

  4. Anonymous said on August 18, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    @tachy a lot of non-phone devices with a sim in them rely on 2G, at least here in europe.
    Usually things reporting usage or errors/alarms on something remote that does not get day to day inspection in person. They are out there in vast numbers doing important work. Reliable, good range. The low datarate is no problem at all in those cases.
    3G is gone or on its last legs everywhere, but this stuff still has too much use to cancel.

    Anyhow, interesting that they would put that in. I can see the point if you suspect a hostile 2G environment (amateur eavesdroppers with laptop, ranging up to professional grade MITM fake towers while “strangely” not getting the stronger crypto voip 4G because it is being jammed, and back down to something as old ‘stingray’ devices fallen into the wrong hands).

    But does this also mean that they have handled and rolled out a fix for that nasty 4G ‘pwn by broadcast’ problem you reported earlier this year? I had 4G disabled due to that, on the off chance that some of the local criminals would buy some cheap chinese gear, download a working exploit and probe every phone in range all over town in the hope of getting into phones of the police.

  5. Andy Prough said on August 19, 2023 at 3:04 am

    >”While most may never be attacked in stingrays, it is still recommended to disable 2G cellular connections, especially since it does not have any downsides.”

    The downside would be losing connectivity. I spend a lot of time way out in the countryside where there’s often no service or almost none. My network allows 2G, and I need it sometimes. I have an option on the phone to disable 2G, I may do that when I’m in the city and I have good 5G connectivity, but not out in the country.

    I would imagine that the stingray exploits, like most of the bad things in this world, are probably things you will run into in the crowded big cities.

  6. owl said on August 21, 2023 at 3:40 am

    I stopped using it in a mobile (Wi-Fi line) environment, so I’m almost ignorant of the actual situation,
    But the recent reality in Japan makes me realize that “the infrastructure of the web is nothing more than a papier-mâché fiction”.

    It is already beyond the scope of what an individual can do.
    What we should be aware of is the reality that “governments and those in power want to control the world through the Web”, and efforts to counter (resist and prevent) such ambitions are necessary.

  7. Anonymous said on August 26, 2023 at 9:27 pm

    Why do you want people to disable the privacy features? Hmmmmm?

  8. Anonymous said on August 27, 2023 at 2:30 am

    Now You: do you plan to keep the Ads privacy features enabled?

    I’d like to tell you, but apparently if you make a post critical of Google, you get censored. * [Editor: removed, just try to bring your opinion across without attacking anyone]

  9. Tachy said on August 27, 2023 at 5:15 am


    You website is still psychotic. Comments attach to random stories.

  10. John G. said on August 28, 2023 at 2:46 pm

    @Martin please do fix the comments, it’s completely insane commenting here! :[

  11. ECJ said on August 28, 2023 at 5:37 pm


    The comments are seriously messed up on gHacks now. These comments are mixed with the article at the below URL.

    And comments on other articles are from as far back as 2010.

  12. Naimless said on August 29, 2023 at 12:57 am

    What does this article has anything to do with all the comments on this article? LOL I think this Websuite is ran by ChatGPT. every article is messed up. Some older comments from 2015 shown up in recant articles, LOL

  13. Paul Knight said on August 31, 2023 at 3:35 am

    The picture captioned “Clearing the Android Auto’s cache might resolve the issue” is from Apple Carplay ;)

  14. Anonymous said on August 31, 2023 at 9:57 pm

    How about other things that matter:
    Drop survival?
    Screen toughness?
    Degree of water and dust protection?

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