I have an Android 4.3 phone and don't expect any Lollipop updates soon. However, Lollipop's "Priority Mode" is a feature that would be tremendously in my daily life.

Specifically, I expect the following:

  • Phone rings only when receiving calls from specific callers, otherwise stays silent
  • SMS notification sound only when receiving texts from specific people
  • GMail notification sound only for mails from specific senders

To achieve this, I came up with the following "solution" so far:

  • Ringtone: I set the default ringtone to none, then set the actual ringtone for the specific contacts only.
  • SMS notification: Haven't found anything useful here...
  • GMail notification: In the GMail web app, I set up a filter that adds a label to messages from specific senders; then in the GMail Android app I set the notification sound for those labels. I turned off the notification sound for my inbox in general.

The upside of this solution is:

It works (more or less). It was rather easy to set up, because we're talking about just 3 "priority contacts". I didn't need to install any extra apps, which sometimes complicate things and maybe cost money.

The downside of this solution is:

I don't see any easy way switching between "priority" and "normal mode" -- I had to set both the default ringtone and GMail notification sound by hand. Also, SMS are not prioritized, but that's not so much of a pain, because I don't receive so many texts from "less important" people.

My question:

Generally, what would be considered "best practice" to set up priority mode (in this case for phone calls, SMS and GMail) before Android 5.x?

Is there any way to set custom notification sounds for SMS from specific contacts? Or is there any recommendable app which allows to do exactly that?

Or better yet: How could I easily switch between "priority" and "normal mode" without having to change settings in three different places -- is there any app which handles phone calls, SMS and GMail altogether?

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    That ringtone part is covered here by an app. Anyhow, ringtone and sms can easily be covered with Tasker or perhaps, with some other automation app too. I don't use GMail so can't comment. – Firelord Dec 9 '15 at 8:23
  • @Firelord I edited the question to reflect the exact Android version. – tmh Dec 9 '15 at 9:14
  • In case Tasker covers contact-specific GMail notifications, this would probably make a good answer -- has anyone tried that? In either case, it would be interesting if there is a free solution as well... – tmh Dec 9 '15 at 9:17

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