Chrome OS 76 improves desktop notifications by moving the “Clear all” button to the top

I can’t be the only one that generally loathes clearing notifications from a Chromebook. For as long as we could view notifications on the desktop, they stack up and up and up and yet, you had to scroll down, down, down the stack to find that elusive “Clear All” button.

Chrome OS 76 appears to address that with a simple change: The option to clear notifications appears at the top of the stack.

I didn’t see any code changes for this user interface change, nor did I have to enable any flags or settings. I just happened to notice it a short time ago after the latest Chrome OS update. After doing a five minute happy dance, I then wrote this up to share the news.

Note that I’m running Chrome OS 76 on the Canary Channel, which gets updates every few days, if not more often at times. It’s considered experimental. Still, it provides a good look at upcoming changes that will filter their way through the Dev, Beta and Stable Channels of Chrome OS.

Frankly, I’m not sure why the “Clear all” option was ever at the bottom of the stack. Chromebook users on their device for more than a few hours a day don’t have to wait long before notifications can stack up before having to scroll and scroll to clear them.

Maybe the original design was meant to mimic Android, where the option to clear all notifications appears at the bottom of the stacked information. But Android devices are generally a top-down experience with notifications: They float down from the top of the display of a phone or tablet. With Chromebooks, they float up from the bottom of the display so it’s more intuitive – at least to me – that the option to clear them should be at the top.

6 thoughts on “Chrome OS 76 improves desktop notifications by moving the “Clear all” button to the top

  • May 16, 2019 at 12:15 pm

    This tweak will primarily help those who are brand new to Chrome OS. Anything that demystifies onboarding is always a wonderful achievement. For everyone else, meh.¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  • May 16, 2019 at 2:40 pm

    Off Topic Reply:
    Any clue as to why in Chrome 74 Google changed its Printer Command page from a one-step to a two-step process? Now we have to change pages from “All” to “Custom” before we’re allowed to change the number of pages to be printed. How do I attach screenshots here to illustrate my point?

    • May 16, 2019 at 4:13 pm

      yeah this change is a total pia – heaven knows why someone in Google thought it was a good idea – in my use probably 75% of all prints that I do involve selecting just a few pages out of a larger set

  • May 16, 2019 at 6:53 pm

    I prefer having it this way. It took me quite a while on how to dismiss notifications – by putting the mouse pointer between the notification and the action menu and using the scroll wheel and by using the touchscreen. Is there any way to clear all notification by using the keyboard? I’m not sure.

    • August 4, 2019 at 12:25 am

      There is kind of a way I just discovered. If you press alt+shift+n to show all notifications then press shift+tab it will highlight clear all button in the notification tray for which you just press enter to dismiss all. Not the cleanest shortcut but it just took me a while of messing around and I like it better than any other method since i rely on keyboard shortcuts a lot.

  • September 5, 2019 at 10:42 am

    Yeah I dont know what all yinz setupsare like but I got annoyed to the point of almost returning the chromebook in the begining. Ok Im exaggerating but I did get real pissed off running through vast seas of notifications. Moreover; often notifations best served to apps on a different device! Sure, its my responsibility to twinkle the settings of each successive iteration of, say Insta, but the more w go I-ing with all ‘o’ these T’s…. notifcation burn is gonna be a thing in the very near future. In fact, lets start a pool to see what term will get picked up by reddit to describe it.
    1. ‘Cay-ja View
    2. Notification Toxicity Syndrome


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