Windows 10 for phone and actionable-notifications in the new Alarms app

For some time now there have been reports that so-called 'actionable notifications' were headed for Windows and Windows Phone. That feature is finally here with Windows 10.

Actionable notifications are Toast alerts that a user can interact with instead of just dismissing. For instance, we already know that Skype and Messaging are merging in Windows 10 as an updatable app. When a message comes in from a user, you can respond inline to that message without having to launch the app. That app is not yet present in Windows 10 Technical Preview 2 for phones, but the new Alarms app is and we'll show you how it works.

The new Alarms app is a major overhaul to the barren one found today in Windows Phone 8.1. Much like the new Calculator app, Alarms has many new features, including:

  • Alarms  
  • World Clock (pinnable locations) 
  • Timer (pinnable) 
  • Stopwatch (pinnable) 

The ability to pin a Live Tile of the time in Tokyo or anywhere in the world is super useful. Likewise for the Timer and Stopwatch ability, which is a frequently used tool for many people on smartphones.

Alarms pinned in Windows 10 for phone

The app also embraces the new Modern 2.0 look in Windows 10 with smaller fonts and hollowed, wire icons. We are sure there are more changes coming to Alarms over the coming months, but for now, we think it looks solid.

For Alarm notifications, users are given a 'Dismiss' button right on the Toast alert as it comes in. Currently, Windows Phone 8.1 has a similar system, but it is a different dialog screen than a typical alert. With Windows 10 the Toast notifications are universal, and they can have buttons or text entry boxes added to them by the developer (and we assume third-party devs too).

Alarms in Windows 10

Sliding up on the Toast notification silences the alarm and puts it into the Notification Center. As we described last night, you can then expand the notification and there too you find a 'Dismiss' button.

There is much left in Windows 10 for phone that needs to be done, but greater control over alerts and notifications is high on the list. Watch the video above to see how it all works and let us know what you think in comments!

Stopwatch in Windows 10

World Clock in Windows 10

Daniel Rubino
Editor-in-chief

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

190 Comments
  • Great addition to the alarms app. I wonder if this will show the alarm time on the smallest tile size...
  • Very cool to see actionable notifications. That's been a trademark of android for some time and is crazy useful once you let third party devs do their thing. Hoping there's a nice API for it.
  • Very cool to see the ... in the lower right rather than the upper left hamburger :)
  • I agree with Paul. Hamburger menus need to die
  • And the new icons along with it
    Just look at the timer start button. Looks the same as the back button on Lollipop -.-
  • I'm sure that's not intentional.
  • are you referring to the right facing triangle? the universal play symbol?
  • Yes.
  • You can see those lower right elipses in office touch apps belfiore's windows 10 video demonstration. I think thats best ever execution of those elipses.....feel microsoft now listen to us.....
  • It seems the new pattern is to use the ellipses for options related to the current view (just like it always was) and to use hamburgers for app-wide actions (like a main menu). They're actually not interchangeable.
  • The issue is moving things to the top and out of reach rather than at the bottom where they can be reached. Even in this app the menu to choose which day to set the alarm is moved to the very top instead of centering it in the middle as the current app does. Moving things out of reach does the opposite of making us "love Windows" as they said they want to do. Making us stretch for a hamburger menu rather than the current side-swipe just screems Android, clunky, and inconvenient. They could at least make a diagnal swipe gesture across the bottom right corner to activate that hamburger menu so we don't have to try to stretch to the far opposite corner to reach it.
  • It is, but seems very inconsistent across the platform. Some apps have it, some don't. I just don't like the implementation as many others have stated.
  • I'm extremely excited for this. Especially for apps that need you to acknowledge your receipt of a notification.
  • Awesome. I can't wait to get windows 10 for my 820.
  • Nothing to get excited now.. Its very early build.annoying sometimes.I think it will worth a wait
  • I agree with Saikrishna. I suggest you to install W10 on a backup phone, if you are planning to install it on your main phone then keep in mind that universal apps need a sh*t load more time in devepolment to even call them proper apps and the majority of new futures are broken.  I installed it yesterday morning on my Lumia 630, gave a ton of feedback and today morning first think I did was to revert back to 8.1. I will install it again when most of the functions are massively improved. (beta state or whatever MS will call it)  
  • Preview 2?
  • Yes, Technical Preview 2. Remember, Windows Phone + Windows = same OS.
  • Hmmm makes sense. Didn't think about it.
  • Same platform, not the same OS.
  • Same OS, modified UI.
  • Ridiculous UI I suppose
  • Same kernal, same APIs and same application platforms but not the same OS!! UI shell is different
  • If was the same OS, just 16gb phones will support WP10 LOL
  • Then call it windows 10. Not Windows 10 for phones. Yikes what a name
  • Same OS and unfortunately also "same UI".
  • I can already respond to SMS inline from the toast or notification shade. I don't use skype, but for SMS it's definitely in the initial W10 build. It's my favorite feature by far.
  • I can do that too.
  • Are actionable notifications available for 3rd party developers?
  • Not yet
  • Great!
  • The link is to your keyboard video...
  • Preview 2??
  • Yes, MS is calling this Preview 2, Preview 1 is they launched last year for desktop as Windows 10 TP, as it is the same underlying OS for both.
  • Wow windows 10 for phone is way better then windows phone 8.1 and its not even finished yet
  • Does Cortana finally understand to turn off a single alarm without asking "which one"? :D
  • If you have more then one alarm, you can say "turn off alarm 8:00PM" and Cortana will turn off this one. Otherwise Cortana can't know which one you want to turn off...
  • No when I have just one alarm on it still asks which one on WP8.1. I am hoping they will finally focus on making Cortana's actually useful features better/more intelligent instead of adding fun but ultimately pretty useless things to it.
  • Cortana works fine if say you have only one alarm and it's set for 7am. Telling her ' cancel 7am alarm' works fine just as it does with multiple alarms, as long as you specify which one. I can see what you mean though when you only have one set, it should just cancel that.
  • Use the feedback app !!!
  • I like the attention from Microsoft to this functions, the devil is in the details.
  • The devil is wearing Prada
  • The devil wears pink
  • The devil is a lie.
  • The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was to convincing people that he didn't exist!
  • I noticed some changes in font sizes, they look smaller, Also new animation when you dismissed the alarm notification.
  • Yes, the animation is so beatiful,
  • Yeah, i personally really don´t like the new alarm dismissing animation. Way too flashy for my taste.
  • oh great font is bad enough i dont need it smaller esp on 530, plus FB app is to small also , still waiting on Denim
  • Hey Daniel your Lumia 830's background Pictures is very Good. Plase give us:)
  • https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B9sq1v3IMAAc98F.jpg
  • Thanks for link
  • Thanks crise!
  • waiting for build event to find out what APIs are avaialble
  • What'sapp dev.. I hope you are planning on how we are going to use the actionable notifications to respond to texts
  • ^ what he said.
  • Yes, they should optimize their app for v10 when it is officially released.
  • THe more and more I look at the transparency tiles, I wish that they go with blur but don't overdo it like iOS.
  • Select a blurred pic?
  • Yes I guess you can do that, but the blur can expand to other things like that ugly white long-press menu. Man I wish tech preview come sooner to 925 so I can feedback the fuck out of it.
  • just buy a cheap one that takes w10 tp and keep your daily driver your daily driver. you will always have a backup when your 925 decides its time to stop ;-). I have the 1520.3 as my dd and bought the 830 for the TP, happy I did that because some things in the TP are just not done yet and for all complaining here about anything I just want to say.. Shut your face, do what you are supposed to do and use the feedback app to ask/suggest/beg and make your feedback clear.. you can see that MS is listening to feedback from the W10 TP (it's getting better and better) because they see what we say......
  • Forgot to mention btw....!!!! WE should not be in a rush! They will love your f**k, just buy another cheapy and f**k the hell out of them...that's what I do!!! And, with buying that cheapy you will bring the market share up a little too, just sayin! regards t
  • Blured tiles would be great as well as on the background where all the apps are... Those trying Windows 10, please suggest it to Microsoft.
  • Give a reply to Microsoft, everything could be made, a lot more options could be given in the final build, meaby, without losing the style, we can have a lot more options to personalize our Start Screen
  • Why didn't you show the time select widget? Is it the one with the circles like the widget in the alarms app in Windows 8.1, or it is the old one?
  • But can't you already reply to messages as they come? I do that regularly
  • Of course you can but it takes you into the messaging app and does not allow you to reply in line or right there on the screen. Posted via the Windows Phone Central App for Android
  • No, I can slide down to respond to notifications in W10
  • I think Daniel may be referring to the merging of messaging and Skype, not the ability to reply from the notification.
  • if you click the notification, then load the app up, yes, this allows you to interact with apps without openning them up.
  • They seem to be integrating some standalone apps they have put in the store under "Microsoft Corporation" like the world clock feature, on 8.1 you can download the app, though it doesn't look exactly the same some of the design carried over.
  • Ok...I read the article, but I'm confused. I have the W10 preview on my 635 and I have been responding inline to my text notifications. I don't have the new messaging app, obviously, but I've been able to respond w/in the toast notification. Also, I really am digging the improved Alarm/Time app. It's is miles ahead of WP8.1.
  • Me too.
  • They should make the icons for the start screen hollowed and wired too for consistency.
  • Yikes
  • Is quick reply available for services like watsapp
  • Hopefully it will be available to all developers once new SDK is out. We have to until /build// to find out.
  • I don't like that rounded switch on the alarms config, it's better squared as in WP 8.1 , they shouldn't change that squared design in anything.
  • I like the roundy ones
  • The square design will restrict a lot of design possibilities
  • The round looks so much better
  • I don't mind the rounded design as long as they keep it elegant like it is. No gradients! Hopefully the new look will appeal to many who dismissed WP's design as "boring". 
  • Yeah I actually noticed it and liked the round way better. Mostly because it was slimmer. I wouldn't mind that kind of look for the boring white rectangle drop downs too
  • I think they are trying out to see which one looks better going forward. I have noticed 3 different types of switches used in TP. Other 2 are square like 8.1 but with slight design change.
  • Hey Daniel, is it possible to swipe left/right in the Alarm app instead off pushing the buttons for alarm, timer, stopwatch on the top?
  • No pivoting. You can only press the buttons.
  • No pivot menus in Photos either. :( It was always such a nice thing to do instead of buttons... but looks like MS is dropping that. I like the new alarm app and the new Photo app as well, but I do hope they make the fint size bigger or adjustable. The new notifications are great.
  • Why no pivot? I dont understand. Why not letting people use both? Buttonds and pivot. Why would they remove it, theres no logic behind that.
  • C'mon people, that's why it's a preview.....SEND IN YOUR SUGGESTIONS...IT MIGHT MAKE IT INTO THE FINAL BUILD IF YOU TELL THEM INSTEAD OF US IN HERE.
  • This REALLY sucks. Pivot is SO useful, especially on big screens.
  • Oh damn but why Microsoft does these steps back?   Send many feedback also about this! the swipes are more confortable for navigating the app with one hand
  • Because tho now a shrunk down desktop.
  • I hope people on the preview give feedback on this. Removing the pivots is a step back, at least for me. It's just much easier and a smoother experience than reaching the tabs.
  • Likr this, but allow switching between the tabs swipping (pivot style) and I will love it.
  • I agree!
  • The on/off toggle is horrible, bad usability and hit area is reduced from WP8.1
  • +1000. Of course they may well make it bigger. The more serious problem is that the oval shape is uggly. Bring back the beautiful rectangles! :)
  • Agree! I also dont like the smaller fonts.
  • Hey Daniel, can Cortana access and action timers with this new app?
  • I'm a little doubtful about the "slide up to silence" feature. It seems it would take more than a quick swipe to do, especially for one-handed use, since it's thin and against the top. But hopefully someone who has tried it can tell me otherwise. Edit: Nevermind. I just saw the video.
  • Would like to see the pivot control, tabs alone are just not so great to use on large screen or one-handed operation
  • I completely agree. Pivot system was much better
  • Really hope they fix that... :(
  •  I can't get 10 on my 1520, so I can't send in any feedback, but it would be nice if we had an option to dock the inline notification much like we can do with the taskbar in windows for desktop. That way people with larger phone llike myself don't have issue reaching all the way to the top of the screen.
  • It's great but I do miss my windows phone 8 messaging feature.... Where I had my fb chats and text messages merged..... Wish there could be an option to do that in windows10 for phone.....
  • I really miss the good old days when you could direct message people on Facebook directly form the message section... Or that you could tag a person in a picture on FB before posting it
  • I hate the fact that you have to reach the top of the screen every time you to change the alarm to stopwatch etc. I hope they don't remove the swipe/pivot system or is it there but Daniel isn't using the swipe gesture to change the options.
  • I don't think its there and am afraid the changes of pivots coming back are not very good..
  • Windows 10 on phone is gonna get bullied for looking like lollipop.
  • It looks nothing like lollipop. Give it time is gonna change. Gabe said so himself
  • Would be much better as a pivot screen instead of having to reach all the way to the top to touch those dumb icons. You would think MS would remember how to design an app by now.
  • Welcome to one Windows.
  • Is it possible to swipe through alarm, world clock and timer kind of like the panorama UI? I really hope so...
  • I don't think. They think adding buttons all over the perimeters of the screen as if its a small desktop is a good idea.
  • What does this mean for Xbox music?
  • Nothing... How are alarms or notifications related to Xbox Music?
  • In no way. The point is controlling music playback from action centre was a requested feature and now we know that it should be possible. They then have to update the app for that. Question is: is it going to get it?
  • Nobody knows at this stage. But once new xbox music app comes out for w10, I am definitely going to send a feedback for that.
  • They can incorporate the now playing inside the notification center. Then we can get actionables for xbox musoc too. A bit androidy but wpuld be nice.
  • The most important is the snooze. Can you snooze with physical buttons? Or with the whole display without shutting off the alarm?
  • Nice background!!!
  • I gotta tell you guys the most exciting thing about W10 is that everything is an app. The settings are apps, the clock is an app, and so on. This means that developers can now write apps for the business end of the phone as well. Truly an exciting time to be in the Windows ecosystem.
  • Aka, Android and iOS :P.
  • Not really binsin. I should be that way. Much easier to change and update things.
  • A nice addition to actionable notifications would be the ability to swipe to the right (opposite of dismiss) to read the rest of the message without having t