The Coolest Things You Can Do With Android’s Hidden System UI Tuner
by Eric Ravenscraft
Google introduced a sweet hidden menu in Android Marshmallow called the System UI Tuner. It packs a ton of neat little tweaks like hiding status bar icons or showing your battery percentage. Here’s how to turn it on, and what you can do with it.
The System UI Tuner houses a ton of little options that can make your phone nicer to use. To use it, you’ll need to be on Android Marshmallow or higher. To turn it on, follow these steps:
1. Pull down the notification shade on your phone, then open your Quick Settings menu.
2. Tap and hold on the gear icon at the top of the screen for about five seconds. You’ll then see a message that says System UI Tuner has been added to Settings.
3. Open the Settings app on your phone and scroll to the bottom. There you’ll find System UI Tuner.
This process may be different if you’re using a skinned version of Android. Once the menu is activated, here are some of the settings you can tweak.
Display Your Battery Percentage In the Status Bar
For those of us who constantly micro-manage our battery, this is a godsend. This setting will show your battery percentage on top of the battery icon in your status bar. You can choose to only show the percentage while charging or all of the time.
Hide Unnecessary Icons From Your Status Bar
Your status bar is stuffed with icons, but you probably don’t need to see all of them. For example, I don’t need to see whether Bluetooth is enabled at all times. If I need to check, I can scroll down the notification shade. This menu allows you to permanently hide icons for things like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, cellular data, airplane mode, or Do Not Disturb mode from your status bar.
Add, Remove, or Rearrange Your Quick Setting Icons
The Quick Settings shade in Android tries to intelligently guess which settings you need to tweak often and automatically add them. Unfortunately, it can guess wrong sometimes. In Android Marshmallow, you can dive into the System UI Tuner menu to manually add shortcuts or rearrange the ones you have. Note: In the Android N preview, this feature is baked into the regular OS, so this hidden menu option isn’t necessary.
Enable Night Mode to Adjust Color Temperature and Switch to Dark Themes
Google has been a little wishy-washy on the whole Night Mode thing, but it’s back in Android N. If you’re running the developer preview, you can use the System UI Tuner menu to activate Night Mode. When active, your phone will automatically detect the time of day and adjust your display’s color temperature accordingly. It will also use the dark theme for apps like Settings where it can.
Show Do Not Disturb Mode When You Adjust the Volume
Do Not Disturb mode is super handy when you need your phone to just shut up for a minute. Most phones will activate it if you press the volume down button when your phone is already on silent, but the System UI Tuner lets you add a more obvious toggle when you adjust the volume at all. You can also disable the normal volume buttons shortcut if you’d rather not accidentally activate it. Like the new Night Mode features, this tweak is exclusive to the Android N preview.
The System UI Tuner menu changes over time as Google adds or removes features, so it’s worth checking out again whenever you get an update to Android.