If you’ve ever been annoyed by the clutter
of icons along the top of your Android
home screen, good news: There’s
something you can do about it.
Turns out there’s a trio of secret settings
for customizing the Android user
interface, and one of them will let you
hide or reveal icons in the status bar. You
can also rearrange the pull-down Android
“quick settings,” as well as make a small
but important tweak to the Android battery
You won’t find any of these settings by
poking around the standard Settings
screen. Instead, you’ll need to unlock the
hidden “System UI Tuner” first. Here’s
how to do it.
How to reveal the System UI Tuner
First, flick down from the top of the screen
to reveal the full “quick settings” window
shade, then tap and hold the Settings
button (the one that looks like a gear) in
the top-right corner of the display.
Hold the Settings button for long enough,
and a little wrench icon will appear next
to the Settings button. Once you see the
wrench, tap the Settings button again,
then scroll all the way down to a new
Settings section—the one marked System
UI Tuner.
When you first launch the System UI
Tuner, you’ll see a warning that reads (in
part) that “these features may change,
break, or disappear in future releases”
and to “proceed with caution.” Tap Got it
to continue—and don’t worry, you can
always disable the System UI Tuner if
you’d rather not mess with such
“experimental” Android settings.
After you dismiss the warning, you’ll have
access to the System UI Tuner settings.
Let’s take a tour, shall we?
Rearrange the ‘quick settings’ buttons
You probably already know how to reveal
Android’s “quick settings” panel by
swiping down from the top of the screen
with two fingertips. What you may not
know, though, is that you can add,
remove and rearrange the quick settings
buttons—or at least, you can with help
from the System UI Tuner.
Tap Quick Settings from the main System
UI Tuner screen, and you’ll see the
standard panel of quick settings buttons.
To move a button, tap and hold it, then
drag it over another button to make the
two switch places. To hide a button from
the quick settings panel, tap and hold it,
then drag it to the Delete icon. To put any
deleted buttons back, tap Add tile , then
tap the name of a button.
If you want to revert to the old quick
settings buttons, tap the three-dot menu
button in the top-right corner of the
screen, then tap Reset.
Take charge of the status bar
If all the Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, alarm, and “Do
not disturb” icons in the Android status
bar are a bit too much, the System UI
Tuner will help you cut down on the
Tap the Status bar setting to see a list of
10 status bar icons, ranging from Cast
and Hotspot to Cellular data and
Airplane mode, each with its own switch.
By default, each icon is enabled; to hide
an icon, just flick off its switch.
You can disable just about any icon in the
status bar, save for the battery meter and
the clock.
See your remaining battery life as a
If you want a more precise reading of
how much of a charge your Android
device’s battery has left, you can use the
System UI Tuner to stamp a percentage
reading onto the standard Android battery
Go back to the main System UI Tuner
screen, then flip on the Show embedded
battery percentage switch. Once you do,
you’ll see a tiny percentage reading
sitting in the battery icon up in the status
Deactivate the System UI Tuner panel
Google isn’t making any promises about
the features squirreled away in its hidden
System UI Tuner. As you’ll recall, that
initial Tuner pop-up message warns that
any and all of its customization options
may change or disappear at any time.
If you’d rather not worry about when your
favorite new settings will disappear, you
can simply pull the plug early. From the
main System UI Tuner screen, tap the
three-dot button in the top corner of the
screen, then tap Remove from Settings .
You can always change your mind, of
course; simply head back to the quick
settings slide-down and tap and hold the
Settings button again.