Where'd the notifications bar go ?!?

I have a couple of junker phones that came from being at some store or other when they were $10 for whatever reasons - and right at those times I could spare the $10, and that's about all there is to it except to say that they would have been great deals -IF- they could be rooted simply & were well enough made...
But they ain't.

My measuring stick for Android devices may seem strange (like me, right ??) :
It is my several $5 LG L34C phones which tick ALL needed boxes, except that they have tiny little screens.
(The L34C is head & shoulders ABOVE the K8 junker I am mostly posting here about IMO.)

The K8 came with Android 6, it is locked to US Cellular & can only be partially debloated via disabling stuff, which means it is best used as a single-purpose, wifi-only device.

It sat for quite some time until I just got a wifi camera to keep an eye out the front of our tiny apartment which is about 12' wide x 50' deep - but with 20' hallways to the front door & bathroom at the rear that eat up lots of space.
Using the cam & phone I can now see if/when the mail carrier, UPS guy, etc. arrive without having to open doors letting in the summer's heat & bugs - a great improvement IMO - except...

The K8 took on a forced update & now the notifications area at the top of its screen seems to be there - but does...
Nothing - it no longer opens.

Its there, showing battery, AP mode, BT, time & an underlined checkmark - and thats it.

Any clues for me as to why that function has become inert ??

Just to round this out - my other junker is a Stylo 3 - locked to Cricket.
It has a nice, BIG screen, Android 7 and is a right nasty piece of work IMO.

It became a wifi-only desk accessory recently to host a few apps like a wifi timed outlet & apps for accessing specific sites more conveniently...that is to say, until it imposed a 'connection not permitted' restriction on all wifi, then needed a full factory reset to get it out of boot looping - which of course lost any & everything I'd set it up for - and now it sits with wifi active again just to see if it will go sour once again.
(If it does, its a goner...)

Looks like the days of decent, lower priced & rootable Android devices are gone for good - how sad.

See what happens when you hide your phones inside those potato chip bags? :slight_smile: (Sorry, @als.)

Kidding aside, there used to be some great inexpensive phones on the C7 Recycle website (C7 Device Recycle), but there haven't been as many lately.

Have you checked Twigby's phone offerings? Seems like they had some refurbished phones that weren't too pricey, but I have no idea whether or not their notifications and/or "rootability" would work for you or not. (Of course, this "tech immigrant" doesn't know anything about rooting, other than for the home team.)

Here's hoping you are able to transform your desk accessories back to usable devices soon! Good luck.

Greetings D_D !!
Whenever I take a phone seriously like the LG Volt or the Moto - I make sure it is rootable 1st.
Removing all the maker's chosen bloatware makes for a better performing & longer lasting experience.
Without root access all that is possible is disabling that krap - and some won't even allow that to be done.

I don't need any more toys right now & some time ago C7 Recycle had loads of good stuff on their site - now it seems to have gone mostly dead over there.

Chances are my next recreational style pursuit will be looking once again into running Android apps within desktop Linux - thereby eliminating any need for at least the Stylo 3 desk accessory.
(I would be using older devices for that if apps were not demanding newer OS versions - too bad as those were better made than the junk being sold lately IMO.)