Surface Duo tip: Enable app notification icons in Peek Mode

Surface Duo Peek Mode Icons
Surface Duo Peek Mode Icons (Image credit: Windows Central)

Out of box, the Peek Mode feature on Surface Duo doesn't seem to do all that much. It's designed to give you at-a-glance information about your phone just by opening the device a little bit, but by default it only shows you your date, time, and unlock status.

However, Peek Mode can show you more than this, with the ability to enable app notification icons which show up below the date and time. This makes Peek Mode a little more useful, as it now shows you which apps you've missed notifications from. It still doesn't show the full notification like teased in this image from Microsoft, but it's a start.

So, here's how to turn on notification icons in Peek Mode:

  1. Open the Settings app on your Surface Duo

Screenshot 20200926

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Tap on the Display category

Screenshot 20200926

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Scroll down and tap on Lock screen display

Screenshot 20200926

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Toggle off the New notifications setting

Screenshot 20200926

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Restart your Surface Duo

Once you've restarted, Peek Mode should now start showing icons for apps that you've missed notifications from. I'm not sure why this starts working when you turn off the new notifications setting, as it's worded weirdly and at first glance doesn't appear to have anything to do with Peek Mode. Maybe it's bugged? We don't exactly know.

Either way, turning that toggle off will enable Peek Mode app icons. Surface Duo has been out for a few weeks now, and we're slowly but surely finding new tweaks and settings to mess around with all the time. We've also rounded up our best Surface Duo accessories for those looking to further enhance their Duo experience.

What are your thoughts on the Surface Duo so far? Let us know in the comments.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • So, what we're looking at here is an apparent bug.
  • Worked. Perhaps they just need a line in the description to say it enables notifications on peak mode.
  • I'm not sure it's a bug rather than just a poorly worded option.
  • I don't know. I think it's jacked either way... It's odd to have to turn something off to gain a feature,, and the wording is the exact opposite of what it does. Who knows🤷🏾‍♂️
  • Great bit of information! I've been wondering about this. Remember, back in the good old days when you spent 100s of dollars on a new piece of tech or software and there was a manual that covered EVERYTHING right there in the box? Then it was on CD/DVD? Sure, we now have the vastness of the internet, but it took two weeks for this discovery. Is it just me, or is something wrong with this picture(: Okay, I'm a tech writer/manager, so maybe I'm a bit biased....but, really?
  • This worked for me. Good tip -- thanks!
  • Does this effect the current drop down notifications as well or onIythe peek mode? Does turning off the switch turn notification effect only the peak mode.
  • This only affects Peek mode, not the notification drawer.
  • Wonderful! This worked perfectly and better yet, it fixed the bug that I had where the Duo would not auto lock when folding it closed. The screens would stay on and the device would stay unlocked and I would have to click the power button to lock the device and turn off the screens. Now my Duo locks and sleeps as expected when closed!!!
  • Feels pretty clear this is a bug where someone misinterpreted the boolean, but I'm glad we at least know how to use it until the bug is fixed!
  • Nice, thanks, Zac! I've made this change.
  • is there any official place to post bug reports for Surface Duo? I'm loving my Surface Duo but some bugs need to be addressed. First and foremost, the Auto-Rotate screen option doesn't work correctly. it forces the app(s) to be in portrait mode AND THEN locks the orientation. The accelerometers of the Surface Duo aren't great (no phone have great accelerometers but on the Surface Duo, they're more important that they work well). So many times I'm in "laptop mode" and the screen will rotate when I don't want it to. Or I want to keep this orientation but not have to be sitting up properly to keep this orientation.
  • I've been wondering the same thing. Can someone for Windows Central please track done where we submit feedback? I've searched and the best I could find is the developer/SDK feedback forum.
  • Works now thanks!
  • This didn't work for me. Followed the instructions, but no change. Perhaps the notifications have to be current? There were several apps showing multiple notifications.
  • Works for me also 👌
  • I know many see this as a bug, but I think that it's a poor wording choice and design decision. It should be split into 2 toggles: enable notifications in peek mode, and wake screen on notifications. User should be able to have both, one or the other, or neither.
  • I always suggest to people if they want to use the duo as their daily driver then invest in a smart watch. It's an easy way to check notifications without opening up your duo. Also let's me make payments with NFC.
  • Well, this is clearly a bug. (Maybe) Turning it off does turn on the peek notifications. It also turns of wake on new notifications, just as it says it will. Mine sits next to me on a stand in book mode. When it is locked, screen black, and a new notification come in, text, e-mail, camera motion detection, the screen turns on long enough to display that notification. If I turn that setting off, it does not display, just dings. So the setting does indeed do what it says. It also turns on peek when screen wake is off, and turns off peek when screen wake is on. So, is that by design? Hard to believe MS believed the whole world would want it that way. I can see they might be conceptually related. It does appear to turn on the screen and show notifications, if that switch is on, and the device is closed. Best I can tell. Sort of like trying to see if the fridge light really goes out. As closed as I can make it and still see a little light, it does seem to be turning on to display a notification. If you don't want that to happen, you might want peek, but who wouldn't want peek? Seems like that should just be 'on' by default.
  • My Peek Mode never even worked until I did this, thanks!