Common questions answered, with hints and tips for getting the best out of Blinds Are Up!
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How can I stop the screen turning off?
Although there is a "Keep Screen On" setting at the bottom of the Blinds Are Up! Display settings screen, which is turned on by default, Android mostly ignores this request by the app and will turn the screen off after a short period time anyway unless you tell Android to do otherwise.
There are a few settings across the various versions of Android that might be responsible for the screen turning off unexpectedly. Below are some of those settings that might be available on your particular device.
Each of the following is accessed from the main screen of Android's Settings app, and may or may not be present on your device:
- Display > Advanced > Screen Saver > When to start > Never
- Security & location > Screen lock > None
- Lock screen > Smart Lock > add current location to Trusted places
If your device comes with a Game Booster or Game Tools app (as many Samsung devices do) then you could try the following procedure, which might vary depending on your particular device:
- Start the Blinds Are Up! app
- Open Game Booster by swiping up or left from the screen's edge
- Open the Advanced or Settings screen (the cog icon)
- Tap on Auto Screen Lock and set it to none
More information on Samsung's Game Booster app (previously called Game Tools) can be found on the Samsung website:
How can I stop notifications interrupting my game?
The easiest way to quickly disable notifications is by using the Do not Disturb option on Android's swipe-down menu, described in more detail on Google's support website:
Remember to turn notifications back on after the game!
How can I keep the app running when the screen is off?
Recent versions of Android have become increasingly aggressive when it comes to saving power. Android is now quick to terminate an app when it's not being used, and that includes apps that were running in the foreground and visible when the screen was turned off.
UPDATE: Blinds Are Up! version 3.5 introduced support for a Blinds Notification on the Android Lock Screen, for users with a 'No Ads Plus' or 'Pro' upgrade. This feature ensures the alarms remain active when the screen is off, and allows you to quickly check the current blind amounts and remaining level/break time without unlocking your device.
Many devices have a feature called DuraSpeed which, if present, contains the setting that is most likely to keep Blinds Are Up! running:
- Open Android's Settings app
- Tap on DuraSpeed (if not present, see below)
- Tap Blinds Are Up! in the list of apps to turn on the "allow this app to run in background" option
If your device does not have the DuraSpeed feature, then the device's manufacturer might have included similar power-saving options under settings that could be called something like Battery optimizations, Battery manager, Power saving, PowerGenie, etc.
For detailed advice on keeping any app running, not just Blinds Are Up!, the Don't Kill My App! website is an excellent source of information for many versions of Android from a wide range of manufacturers:
How can I make the Timer and Blinds text easier to read?
On the Display settings screen, under the Main Display section, there are a couple of options that change how text is drawn and help improve its readability against various backgrounds:
- Shadows on Timer/Blinds Text
- Outlined Timer/Blinds text
The Outlined Text option is particularly useful for making text stand out against a background image.
How can I add my own alarm sounds?
You can use your own sound for an end-of-level or early-warning alarm by registering your sound file within Android as a Ringtone or Alarm. Two ways of doing this are as follows:
Method 1 - Copy the file and Reboot
The simplest way of making a new sound file available for Blinds Are Up! to use is to copy it to your device and reboot:
- Copy your sound file to either the Alarms or Ringtones folder on the internal storage of your device.
- To see if a reboot is required, exit and restart the Blinds Are Up! app, go to the Alarms screen, tap the button next to "Selected sound", and if you see your new sound in the list - you're done! Otherwise, a reboot is needed.
- Reboot your device. This is often needed to force Android to recognise changes that have occurred within its file system.
- Start the Blinds Are Up! app, go to the Alarms screen, tap the button next to "Selected sound", and you should now see your sound file in the list of available sounds.
Method 2 - Use Android's Sound Settings
If you don't want to reboot your device, you can try the following method that uses the Android Settings app to register your new sound:
- Copy your sound file to the Downloads folder on the internal storage of your device.
- Open Android's Settings app, select Sound (it might be called Sound & notifications, or Audio profiles).
- Select "Default ringtone" (on a phone) or "Default alarm/notification sound" (on a tablet).
- If you're asked to select an app to complete the action, select Media Storage and tap "Just Once".
- Scroll to the bottom of the list of sounds and tap "Add ringtone". If you don't see an "Add ringtone" option, you'll have to use Method 1 above.
- You should now be in the Media Storage browser, so tap the menu button (top left), select Downloads, then tap on your sound file.
- You'll now be taken back to the list of available sounds in the Settings app, with your new sound added. Tap Cancel (assuming you don't want this to be your device's default ringtone or alarm sound).
- Start the Blinds Are Up! app. You'll need to exit and restart it if it's already running.
- Go to the Alarms screen, tap the button next to "Selected sound", and you should now see your sound file in the list of available sounds.
I don't hear alarms or speech
After testing the sounds and speech on the Alarms screen, go to the Tools screen, under the Android Device Settings section tap Sound Settings, then ensure the device's sound levels are high enough. Which volume slider to use depends on the type of sound (alarm, ringtone, etc.) you selected for the blinds alarm.
If the speech isn't working or you'd like to change the voice being used, go to the Tools screen, tap Speech Settings to show Android's text-to-speech options, then tap Play to ensure speech is working on the device. The "Preferred engine" is usually set to the Google engine, and the language should be set to "Use system language" or the name of your preferred language. If you still can't hear speech, try selecting a different language. You may have to wait a moment for Android to download any required text-to-speech data.
Finally, rebooting the device might clear any issues that either the app or Android itself could be having with its sound or speech subsystem.
Alarms stop sounding when the screen is off
This is most likely due to Android terminating the Blinds Are Up! app after a short period of the phone not being used. See the section "How can I keep the app running when the screen is off?" above.
Accidentally pausing the timer or changing levels when in Full Screen mode
Go to the Display settings screen and scroll down to the Controls section. Here you can deselect the options for controlling the timer, the current level, and for showing the various settings screens when the Blinds Display is tapped.
Running on Other Devices
Is there a version for Windows?
Although there currently isn't a PC version of the app, a version for Windows is in the works and should be available later in 2022.
Is there a version for iPhone/iPad?
Unfortunately, no. Development work is currently concentrated on adding more features to the Android version and working towards a version for Windows. Converting the app to run on Apple devices is at least a couple of years away.
Can I run it on my laptop?
A version for Windows is still some months away.
However, newer Chromebook models are able to download and run apps from the Google Play Store, including Blinds Are Up!
Improved support for running the app on Chromebooks is coming soon, including keyboard shortcuts.