With the release of Android 9.0 Pie, Google shifted the clock in the Status Bar from the top right corner of the screen to the top left. If you’re not a fan of this then rest assured knowing there’s a way that you can move it back. It requires root access and Substratum, but it’s very easy to setup.
Anyone who has been using Android for an extended period of time is likely used to having the clock as the last thing on the right in the Status Bar. Veteran iOS users will have likely gotten into the habit of looking in the middle of the Status Bar when checking on what time it is.
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There are probably some who use both and have made it a habit of doing a visual scan across the status bar to check for the time.
The process is generally the same though for people who are only using one mobile platform though. As humans, we are creatures of habit and that results in people disliking major changes to their habits and routines. While not a major change, it’s understandable why so many people would rather have the clock back where it was before Android 9 Pie.
Why Did Google Move the Clock in Android 9 Pie?
OEMs across the globe have latched onto a new trend where they are shrinking the bezels as much as they can. This is resulting in the loss of the 3.5mm headphone port, the push for front-facing speakers, and other features that improve the user experience. Instead, it’s been about making the bezels as thin as possible.
Previously, OEMs have opted to keep bezels in favor of durability.
I remember when the LG G3 came out and during the launch even they pointed out how they were able to shrink the side bezels as thin as they could. They specifically mentioned how they could have made them even thinner but those tests ended up resulting in the phone failing its rigorous durability tests.
However, the new trend is to shrink them down as thin as possible and today’s technology has allowed that to happen almost seamlessly to both the left and right bezels. The bottom bezel seems to be a bit more difficult for smartphone OEMs due to other components (speaker(s), USB port, etc.)
This left the OEMs to focus on the top bezel which is why the notch became a thing.
For most smartphones with a notch, that part cut out from the display houses things such as the earpiece speaker, ambient/proximity sensors, and even the front-facing camera(s). These are required features of a smartphone and while some of them can be hidden under the display, others need the tech to mature a few more years.
Until then, OEMs are either keeping the top bezel big enough for those components, implementing a notched display, punching a hole through the top of the screen, or using pop-up/swivel/slide/flip camera setups. All done in an attempt to make the top bezel as thin as they possibly can.
It’s these notched displays that have encouraged Google to move the clock in the Status Bar to the left. I’ll go into more detail explaining why after the tutorial. But let me show you how to move the clock back to the far right corner of the screen.
Note – The following tutorial requires that you have root access to the device. We are using Substratum and a specific theme to create the overlay which moves the Status Bar clock back to the right.
Time needed: 7 minutes.
How to Move the Clock to the Right Side of the Status Bar in Android 9 Pie?
- Install the Substratum application
Once installed, go ahead and open it up and grant the app root access when prompted.
- Then install the K-Manager for K-Klock app
If you want more features, or want to support the developer, buy the optional Pro key.
- Open the K-Manager for K-Klock app
You can skip the intro if you want, just be sure to grant the application storage access.
- Then tap the Okay button when prompted about Install Unknown Apps Permissions
Allowing this permission lets the app auto-install the Substratum theme we create.
- Tap the drop-down menu for the Clock Position option at the top
- Change this from Left to Right (or Center if you prefer)
- OnePlus device owners need to toggle the I Am Using OxygenOS toggle at the very bottom
If you’re not using OxygenOS though (only OnePlus uses that firmware), then you can skip this step.
- When ready, tap the Yellow Floating Action Button in the bottom right
Wait for K-Manager to create the Substratum theme and install the app for you.
- Open up the Substratum app and tap the K-Klock theme we just installed
- Install the Substratum theme just like you would any other
This theme creates a System UI overlay that needs to be installed and enabled.
- Once enabled, you should see the clock back to the right corner of the screen again
Just as promised, the process isn’t difficult at all. There are a lot of features available in this app but we’re just using it to move the clock so we’re going to ignore most of it. The majority of the work required in this tutorial is actually just gaining root access. Once you have root, you can install Substratum via the Play Store link in the tutorial.
There are likely a number of ways to use Substratum to move the clock back to the right.
I found the K-Manager for K-Klock Substratum theme from doing some Google searches about this topic. I never was a fan of seeing the clock moved in Android 9 Pie and wish Google would have made it an optional change. Even if it’s just tucked away in Android’s Developer Options menu due to space issues.
Android’s Status Bar is Cluttered
This was starting to become an issue even before the release of Android 9 Pie. Google has attempted to fix this by letting notifications stack, duplicate icons be condensed, and some other clever changes. But that’s the left side of Android’s Status Bar. It is the right side that has become cluttered.
Google has been aware of the issue for a while but the trend continues to grow.
In some cases, it’s just a natural progression of technology. People want to easily see what their WiFi signal and connection status is. Others want this for their constantly changing cellular signal. Then there’s Bluetooth, Alarms, active Location services, battery life indicators, NFC, etc.
You can see how technology progression alone can attribute to something like the screenshot we see above. But there are some there that aren’t related to our personal use of technology. For example, we already have a signal strength indicator there, but then the carrier has added a 4G LTE icon as well.
This could useful for those who want to know if they are connected to a 2G, 3G, 4G, or 5G tower.
Carriers aren’t stopping there though because some are adding even more icons to the right side of the Status Bar. Icons for things like Voice Over WiFi, Voice Over LTE, etc. So as you can see, the right side of the Status Bar is getting cluttered and I haven’t even mentioned the clock in any of these examples.
For some, it might make sense to keep the clock on the left side of the screen (even if you don’t have a smartphone with a notch). It makes sense for devices with a notch though as, oddly enough, the left side of the Status Bar is becoming less cluttered than the right side (which has never been the case for Android).
I dislike that root access is currently required in order to put the clock back to the right. But I’m happy to see there is a way.