How To:

Get Lollipop's "Priority Mode" Notifications for Calls on Your KitKat Device

Android 5.0 has a cool new feature called Priority Mode that allows you to silence your phone's ringer except for when certain people call you. It's something you'd enable right before bedtime, for instance, if you don't want to be disturbed unless it's someone important trying to reach you.

But instead of waiting on your phone's manufacturer to push a system update your way, you can easily replicate this functionality with a simple app. Not only that, but it's free, easy to use, and doesn't require root—what more could you ask for?

Step 1: Install Essential Calls Lite

The app that brings Priority Mode functionality to KitKat devices is called Essential Calls Lite from developer Sifakas. Search it by name on the Google Play Store to get it installed, or head to this link if you'd rather jump straight to the install page.

Step 2: Add Contacts to the Whitelist

As soon as you open the app, you'll be asked to add "Essential Contacts" to your whitelist. Calls from people in this list will ring through even when your phone is muted, so tap the + button to begin, then select "Contacts" from the menu.

The free version of Essential Calls only allows for 2 whitelisted contacts, but an in-app purchase of $0.99 will unlock an unlimited whitelist in addition to the same functionality for text messages.

Tap the contacts whose calls you'd like to be notified of when your phone is muted, then press the "Save" button at the top of the screen.

Step 3: Set Up a Schedule

If you want Essential Calls to mute your ringer on a daily basis during certain hours, tap the clock icon to set up a schedule. You can add time frames for days of the week, and only calls from your essential contacts will get through during these hours.

Step 4: Activate the Service

If you chose not to set up a schedule, you can still activate the Essential Calls service manually. Whenever you don't feel like being disturbed, simply open the app and press the "Activate" button.

Your phone's ringer will be automatically muted, and only calls from your essential contacts will cause your phone to ring. When you're ready to allow all calls to ring through, simply open the app again and press "Deactivate."

Now that you have one less Lollipop feature that you have to wait on, what Android 5.0 feature are you hoping for next? Let us know in the comment section below, or drop us a line on our Facebook, Google+, and Twitter feeds.

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