Android is famously open to customisation, but you may not know that Google keeps a few more settings tucked away in a hidden menu called the System UI Tuner.
It’s not available on every device — you’ll have less luck if yours has a heavy UI skin — but it’s worth checking out to see which features may be arrive with future Android versions. For example, some of the features Google brought to the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update — where it was first introduced — are now standard with Android 7.0 Nougat.
Here’s how to access the System UI Tuner, and a quick rundown of what it can do with the latest version of Android.
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If you're familiar with the chrome://flags shortcut in Google Chrome, the System UI Tuner is more or less that. To activate it, pull down the Quick Settings menu, then hold down on the gear icon in the top right corner until it starts spinning. It should take 5-7 seconds.
To find the Tuner itself, go into Settings, then look under the 'System' section. It should be toward the bottom.
You'll see this warning the first time you hop in, giving you the usual spiel about how all of this is hidden for a reason.
For what it's worth, I've seen the occasional moment of sluggishness in my time tinkering with things, but I've yet to run into any device-bricking bugs.
From there, you can hit the 'Status bar' tab to mess with how things look in Android's status bar. One handy toggle lets you see the battery percentage over the top of that icon, for instance.
You can set it so that number is always showing, never showing, or only showing while charging.
You can also change which settings you want to be in the status bar in the first place. For instance, if you rarely use aeroplane mode or Bluetooth, you can hide those icons from wasting space.
Head back out and you can make tweaks to Android's 'Do Not Disturb' mode, making it so a toggle shows up whenever you adjust the volume.
But the Tuner's most interesting bits are usually in the 'Other' section. The main thing there now, for example, is an option called 'power notification controls.'
Normally, Android leaves most of an app's notification preferences up to the developer. Nougat gives you a set of options to adjust those, but they're fairly simple: You can block all of a given app's notifications, make them all silent, or prioritise them to override Do Not Disturb mode.