The release of Android 9 Pie included the first alternative to the traditional Navigation Bar from Google. Not everyone has been happy with it and there will be another method included in the release of Android 10. There are many additional options in the Play Store but we need to hide the navigation bar before we can properly use them.
In my opinion, the best part of Android is how customizable the mobile operating system is. If you don’t like the font then you can actually go in and change it. Sometimes OEMs allow this within its firmware but other times you would need root access. In either case, you have the ability to customize the font on your device.
Whether you go through the hoops (gaining root in this example) is up to you, but the option is there.
Some phones can’t be rooted as easily (or at all) compared to others, but the customer has the choice when it comes to what phone they buy. So if they want, then they can get a phone that is popular within the developer community. Android’s gesture navigations are becoming increasingly popular but they aren’t customizable (in most case).
I like seeing us move away from the traditional Navigation Bar but I want it to be more open to the user. I would like to see Google make the navigation system as customizable as setting your own default assistant, browser, launcher, etc. I don’t see them doing this anytime soon so, for now, we look at our available options.
Thankfully, the option I will be showing you today does not require root access.
Note – You may want to go ahead and install a 3rd-party navigation gesture application. There are many that can be found in the Play Store by simply searching ‘navigation gestures’, but I recommend some of the most popular navigation gesture apps right here.
In order to complete the tutorial below, you're going to need some things set up ahead of time. Please follow the how to install ADB and Fastboot tools guide if you haven't done so already. Then you will need to follow this guide: How to Enable Developer Mode, as well as this one which shows you How to Enable USB Debugging Mode.
You will then need to open a command prompt within the same folder as your ADB and Fastboot tools and execute the "adb devices" command (without quotes) to start the ADB service. From here, you can connect the device to the PC with a USB cable. If everything has been done properly then you'll be asked if you want to grant USB Debugging Mode access from the PC the phone is connected to.
Once granted, you can then test this by running the command "adb devices" again (without quotes) in a Command Prompt, Terminal, or Windows PowerShell to make sure the computer recognizes the device. If your PC is not detecting the device using these methods then you are likely having USB driver-related issues. It is then advised to download and install the ADB driver released by the OEM.
Time needed: 10 minutes.
How to Hide the Android Navigation Bar with ADB?
- Make sure the smartphone is connected to the PC via a USB cable
- Open a Command Prompt, Windows PowerShell, or Terminal in the same folder as your ADB/Fastboot tools
- Type out the following command. . .
- . . .and then press Enter on the keyboard
- At the shell prompt, type out the following command. . .
wm overscan 0,0,0,-120
You will need to slowly increase/decrease the negative number (as shown in the video below) until the top of the Navigation Bar goes away.
- . . .and then press Enter on the keyboard
I can understand that some people may be hesitant to do anything when it comes to the command line. I would write up a script to do this for you if that fourth number value in the overscan command is the same for all devices. However, this negative number will be different for many people.
This number depends entirely on things including your smartphone’s display resolution and your current Display Size (aka the DPI). I do, however, encourage you to follow along with me (using the embedded video above) if you feel uncomfortable about this process at all.
I even show you how to change things back to the way they were if you don’t like this modification.
Hiding the Android NavBar is Different for Everyone
But in Step #6, you will need to change the negative number until it looks nice on your device. I used the OnePlus 7 Pro in the video above and found the -145 number to be the sweet spot for it. However, I recently did this tutorial to Hide the Navigation Bar of the Xiaomi Mi A2.
The number that I used with it that fell in that sweet spot was around the -143 mark. This is why I recommend starting off around the -120 mark. So that you can see the Navigation Bar starts to be moved down but it isn’t fully hidden. It’s easier to start here and then slowly change that number until it looks good.
You may even want to do this in conjunction with the 3rd-party gesture navigation application.
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