Pop-up notification

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Close-up of the upper right corner of a Lubuntu 12.04 desktop, showing a notification that informs the user that the battery has finished charging Lubuntu Desktop Notification 01.png
Close-up of the upper right corner of a Lubuntu  12.04 desktop, showing a notification that informs the user that the battery has finished charging
Close-up of the upper right corner of a Windows 8 desktop, showing a notification that informs the user that a new removable drive is now attached Windows 8 Notification.png
Close-up of the upper right corner of a Windows 8 desktop, showing a notification that informs the user that a new removable drive is now attached

The terms pop-up notification, toast, passive pop-up, snackbar, desktop notification, notification bubble, or simply notification all refer to a graphical control element that communicates certain events to the user without forcing them to react to this notification immediately, unlike conventional pop-up windows. Desktop notifications usually disappear automatically after a short amount of time. Often their content is then stored in some widget that allows the users to access past notifications at a more convenient time.


Support on different systems

In Windows 2000, Microsoft introduced balloon help-like passive pop-up notifications, tied to the notification area of the task bar. Notifications get queued when user is away or screensaver is running, and get shown when the user resumes activity. They remain on screen for nine seconds while fading out if the user appears to ignore them. [1] Microsoft also adopted similar notifications for its other software such as Windows Phone using the Microsoft Push Notification Service, [2] Internet Explorer 7 and later, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Security Essentials, as well as Windows 8 and Windows 10 using the Windows Notification Service.

A notification on Android that includes a progress bar Progress bar notification.png
A notification on Android that includes a progress bar

Desktop notifications are a proposed standard for freedesktop.org, [3] but all the major desktop environments running on the X Window System already support this standard, making them typically available on Linux and other Unix-like systems. Google adopted the concepts of notification drawer [4] and toast popup messages [5] for user notifications as basic components of its Android operating system.

As of 10.8 Mountain Lion, OS X provides desktop notifications via Notification Center. Previous versions of OS X have no built-in desktop notification feature; however, Growl is a popular application that provides similar functionality and enjoys broad support from third-party software. [6] iOS also includes Notification Center as of iOS 5.


Notification on Ubuntu Linux, showing buttons and a pie-like time-out indicator Ubuntu Desktop Notification 01.png
Notification on Ubuntu Linux, showing buttons and a pie-like time-out indicator

While passive pop-ups do not require any user interaction, some implementations still provide a way for the user to optionally interact with the pop-up. This is called actions.[ citation needed ] For the Freedesktop specification, this is an optional feature that clients cannot rely on, and its use is discouraged by some design guidelines. [7]

Android adds the ability to provide actions with Jelly Bean. [8]

In Material Design

Google's Material Design introduced the term snackbar to refer to a user-interface element displaying a temporary, closable notification:

Snackbars inform users of a process that an app has performed or will perform. They appear temporarily, towards the bottom of the screen. They shouldn’t interrupt the user experience, and they don’t require user input to disappear. [9]

Related Research Articles

Linux distribution Operating system based on the Linux kernel

A Linux distribution is an operating system made from a software collection that is based upon the Linux kernel and, often, a package management system. Linux users usually obtain their operating system by downloading one of the Linux distributions, which are available for a wide variety of systems ranging from embedded devices and personal computers to powerful supercomputers.

In computing, a desktop environment (DE) is an implementation of the desktop metaphor made of a bundle of programs running on top of a computer operating system that share a common graphical user interface (GUI), sometimes described as a graphical shell. The desktop environment was seen mostly on personal computers until the rise of mobile computing. Desktop GUIs help the user to easily access and edit files, while they usually do not provide access to all of the features found in the underlying operating system. Instead, the traditional command-line interface (CLI) is still used when full control over the operating system is required.

A taskbar is an element of a graphical user interface which has various purposes. It typically shows which programs are currently running.

Human interface guidelines

Human interface guidelines (HIG) are software development documents which offer application developers a set of recommendations. Their aim is to improve the experience for the users by making application interfaces more intuitive, learnable, and consistent. Most guides limit themselves to defining a common look and feel for applications in a particular desktop environment. The guides enumerate specific policies. Policies are sometimes based on studies of human–computer interaction, but most are based on conventions chosen by the platform developers preferences.

Wallpaper (computing) Digital image used as a decorative background on a computer desktop

A wallpaper or background is a digital image used as a decorative background of a graphical user interface on the screen of a computer, smartphone or other electronic device. On a computer, wallpapers are generally used on the desktop, while on a mobile phone they serve as the background for the home screen. Though most devices come with a default background image, modern devices usually allow users to manually change the background image.

Growl (software)

Growl is a global notification system and pop-up notification implementation for the Mac OS X and Windows operating systems. Applications can use Growl to display small notifications about events which may be important to the user. This software allows users to fully control their notifications, while allowing application developers to spend less time creating notifications and Growl developers to concentrate on the usability of notifications. Growl can be used in conjunction with Apple's Notification Center that is included in Mac OS X 10.8 and higher.

Tango Desktop Project

The Tango Desktop Project was an open-source initiative to create a set of design guidelines and to provide a consistent user experience for applications on desktop environments. The project created a set of icons known as the Tango Icon Library and that were described as a "proof of concept". The Tango Desktop Project was a project of freedesktop.org, and was closely linked with other freedesktop.org guidelines, such as the Standard Icon Theming Specification.

Linux Family of free and open-source software operating systems based on the Linux kernel

Linux is a family of open-source Unix-like operating systems based on the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released on September 17, 1991, by Linus Torvalds. Linux is typically packaged in a Linux distribution.

A desktop environment is a collection of software designed to give functionality and a certain look and feel to an operating system.

A mobile operating system is an operating system for mobile phones, tablets, smartwatches, 2-in-1 PCs, smart speaker, or other mobile devices. While computers such as typical laptops are 'mobile', the operating systems used on them are generally not considered mobile ones, as they were originally designed for desktop computers that historically did not have or need specific mobile features. This distinction is becoming blurred in some newer operating systems that are hybrids made for both uses.

Windows Phone Family of mobile operating systems by Microsoft

Windows Phone (WP) is a discontinued family of mobile operating systems developed by Microsoft for smartphones as the replacement successor to Windows Mobile and Zune. Windows Phone featured a new user interface derived from the Metro design language. Unlike Windows Mobile, it was primarily aimed at the consumer market rather than the enterprise market.

A software widget is a relatively simple and easy-to-use software application or component made for one or more different software platforms.

An app store is a type of digital distribution platform for computer software called applications, often in a mobile context. Apps provide a specific set of functions which, by definition, do not include the running of the computer itself. Complex software designed for use on a personal computer, for example, may have a related app designed for use on a mobile device. Today apps are normally designed to run on a specific operating system—such as the contemporary iOS, macOS, Windows or Android—but in the past mobile carriers had their own portals for apps and related media content.

Ubuntu Touch Mobile interface for Ubuntu developed by Canonical Ltd.

Ubuntu Touch is a mobile version of the Ubuntu operating system, being developed by the UBports community. Its user interface is written in Qt, and is designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers, but the original goal of convergence was intended to bring Ubuntu Touch to laptops, desktops, IOT devices, TVs and smart watches for a complete unified user experience.

Nokia X platform

The Nokia X platform was a Linux-based mobile operating system and software platform originally developed by Nokia, and subsequently by Microsoft Mobile. Introduced on 24 February 2014, it was forked from Android and used on all the devices of the Nokia X family. It was also the next Nokia Linux project after the ill-fated MeeGo.

Windows 10 Mobile Mobile operating system developed by Microsoft

Windows 10 Mobile is a discontinued mobile operating system developed by Microsoft. First released in 2015, it is a successor to Windows Phone 8.1, but was marketed by Microsoft as being an edition of its PC operating system Windows 10.

Action Center

Action Center is a notification center included with Windows Phone 8.1, Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile. It was first introduced with Windows Phone 8.1 in July 2014, and was introduced to the desktop with the launch of Windows 10 on July 29, 2015.

Windows Push Notification Service Notification service developed by Microsoft

Windows Push Notification Service is a notification service developed by Microsoft for all devices running Microsoft Windows platforms. It allows for developers to send push data to Windows and Universal Windows Platform applications which implement the feature. Designed as a successor to the Microsoft Push Notification Service, it was first supported on Windows 8 and subsequently on Windows Phone 8.1 upon its release.

Flatpak Linux software deployment utility

Flatpak is a utility for software deployment and package management for Linux. It is advertised as offering a sandbox environment in which users can run application software in isolation from the rest of the system.


  1. "Notifications". Microsoft. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  2. "Understanding Microsoft Push Notifications for Windows Phones". Microsoft . Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  3. Galago.
  4. "Notifications". Android Developers. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  5. "Creating Toast Notifications". Android Developers. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  6. List of applications supporting Growl.
  7. Ubuntu notification development guidelines.
  8. Android notifications guidelines.
  9. "Snackbars". material.io. Retrieved 7 May 2020.