Android secret features

How to enable System UI Tuner to unlock hidden features on Android

Android includes a hidden menu, which similar to Chrome, lets you unlock experimental features on your phone or tablet.

System UI Tuner on Android 7.0 Nougat

Android is an operating system is known for its vast number of features and the ability to be very customizable. However, you probably didn’t know that Google likes to keeps some the features in a secret menu known as System UI Tuner.

If you’re familiar with the “about:flags” settings page, System UI Tuner for Android is the same idea. In this menu, Google let you turn on new experimental features that could eventually be included in the operating system.

It’s worth pointing out that while the menu is present on Android 7.0 Nougat, the System UI Tuner has part of the operating system for some time, including on Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

Turn on System UI Tuner on Android

System UI Tuner is available on Nexus and select phones and tablets — unfortunately, it’s not available on every device –, you can quickly see if your device includes the hidden menu by doing the following:

  1. Open the Quick Settings menu.

  2. Press and hold the Settings (gear) button for about 5 seconds. Then you’ll hear a feedback sound, the gear will spin, Settings will open, and you’ll notice a “Congrats! System UI Tuner has been added to Settings” message.

    Enable System UI Tuner Android

You’ll also notice that System UI Tuner is enabled, because a small wrench icon will appear next to the Settings button in the Quick Settings menu.

Open System UI Tuner on Android

To open the System UI Tuner, do the following:

  1. Open the Quick Settings menu.

  2. Select the Settings (gear) button.

  3. On Settings, scroll down and select System UI Tuner.

    System UI Tuner settings

At the time of the writing, System UI Tuner has three experimental features, including “Status bar”, “Do not disturb”, and “Others”.

Status bar

In the Status bar section, you can add or remove items that appear on the main bar at the top. For example, you can show percentage on the battery icon, or you can display time with seconds.

System UI Tuner Status bar

Do not disturb 

In the Do not disturb section, you have a new option to let you show the “Do not disturb” toggle switch when adjusting the volume.

System UI Tuner Do not disturb

Others

Perhaps the most interesting section on the updated System UI Tuner for Android 7.0 Nougat is Others. In this new section, you get a new option called “Enable split-screen swipe-up gesture”, which makes it a lot easier to access multi window. For example, instead of holding down the square Recent app button, you can simply swipe from the bottom to start multi-window.

System UI Tuner Enable Split-screen swipe up gesture

Turn off System UI Tuner on Android

At any time, you can disable System UI Tuner:

  1. Open the Quick Settings menu.

  2. Press and hold the Settings (gear) button for about 5 seconds until you hear the feedback sound and the gear start spinning.

  3. On the dialog box select Remove to complete the task.

    Disable System UI Tuner on Android

After you turn off the menu, it will also stop all the experimental features enabled on your device.

Keep in mind that these feature may not work correctly, they can break things and cause error, which is one the the reasons Google keeps them hidden.

What do you think about the experimental settings of Android? Tell us in the comments below.