How to Customize the Notification Bar in Android 6.0

This week Google finally released the highly anticipated update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow for the Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7, Nexus 9 and the Nexus Player. One of many new features is completely customizing the notification pulldown bar, including removing icons or adding a percentage number to the battery meter. Below we’ll explain how to enable the system UI tuner in Marshmallow.

With the Android M developer preview over the summer we saw a lot of things Google was testing. They had a dark and light color theme for the settings menu, one which changed along with the time of day, a multi-window mode, and even an option to completely customize the notification bar. Most of those are gone, but a few remain, and here we’ll explain how to do it.

Read: How to Install Android 6.0 Marshmallow Right Now

If you’ve yet to get the update to Android 6.0 on your Nexus device, the how to guide above will explain how to manually get the update. After that, users may want to mess around with settings and customize a few of the new hidden features.

Nexus6-speakers-620x412

Android 6.0 Marshmallow delivers a lot of new features, controls, options, and animations. Overall it looks very similar to Android 5.1 Lollipop, but the entire experience has been completely refined and overhauled. So far everything is fast and fluid with our hands-on time, but others results may vary.

One of our favorite things in the developer preview, that for now, is still in stock Android 6.0 Marshmallow that’s rolling out as an update for users this week is something called the “System UI Tuner”.

Read: Android 6.0 vs Android 5.1 Lollipop: What’s New in Marshmallow

This allows us to add a battery percentage number inside the battery meter in the notification bar, remove unneeded icons from the notification bar, or even rearrange and customize the quick settings in the pulldown bar. When you swipe down with two fingers you get easy access to some most-used settings, and this can all be changed with the System UI Tuner. Lets enable it, and change some settings.

Instructions

Just like accessing the hidden developer settings menu on Android, the System UI Tuner controls are hidden, but very easy to enable.

Simply pull down the notification bar on any Android 6.0 Marshmallow device and press and hold the gear-shaped settings button. It will spin for a second (hold for 2-4 seconds) and let go. A little popup will appear as shown below letting you know you’ve enabled the System UI Tuner.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 3.01.02 PM

Now all users need to do is head into settings by tapping the same gear-shaped settings button, and scrolling to the bottom of the settings page. At the bottom is a new option called “System UI Tuner” and there are lots of small tweaks that can be done in here.

For one, you can head into “Quick Settings” and customize or rearrange what icons and settings are in the quick settings pulldown bar. I just rearrange it how I’d like, and leave it alone. Then, there’s the status bar, which shoes the clock, battery, SIM slot (or missing SIM) WiFi, 4G LTE symbols, and all sorts of icons. You can completely remove any icon you’d like from the status bar. It’s kind of neat, and a nice touch. This is also helpful for developers who want to use screenshots for an app listing on the Play Store.

Android-m-status

However, as shown above, the 3rd option in our new System UI Tuner settings menu is a slider to easily turn on or toggle off a battery percentage number in the in the status bar icon. As long as you didn’t remove it, you’ll now see a number as your battery drains for a more accurate reading. This has been available on Samsung and other devices for some time, but is now a hidden option inside stock Android.

Last but not least the System UI Tuner allows for a “demo mode” which is what we mentioned above. Essentially removing any and all icons, allowing for a clean looking screenshot to show off an app, what’s on your screen, or anything else for that matter.

This new system UI tuner isn’t anything crazy, but is just one of many small changes inside of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Our favorite new feature is still Google Now on Tap, which we showed off in our hands-on video, and you’ll want to stay tuned for more hands-on coverage, how tos and more in the near future.

17 Comments

  1. LordBerly

    10/08/2015 at 3:15 pm

    Sweet.. Thanks for the info, I’m wondering how to rearrange quick connect icon on my newly updated Nexus 5

    Reply

  2. Antonio

    10/12/2015 at 9:11 pm

    But what happened with the option to make all background black ??? I was hoping for that option to be available in system UI :(

    Reply

  3. Michelle Muth

    10/14/2015 at 6:30 pm

    I tried a thousand times, but the long press on the settings gear does absolutely nothing on my Nexus 5. I installed marshmallow two days ago. Any ideas?

    Reply

    • Syntax Error

      03/05/2016 at 11:03 am

      Works for me..

      Reply

    • O' Danny boy

      03/19/2016 at 2:35 pm

      If you cannot activate it still, go to dev opts and make sure that all your settings for your animations are set back to 1x. You may want to clear your cache partition before trying again for I had this problem since I turned off animations but once re-enabled it worked for me.

      Reply

  4. Chris

    10/16/2015 at 12:11 pm

    Just upgraded my Nexus 5 to Andoid 6 via OTA but same problem as Michelle Muth : no reaction when I press more than 5 sec the settings gear…

    Reply

  5. Paul Ahkolik (@w5pda)

    12/15/2015 at 12:37 pm

    I’ve going nuts looking for the option to show battery percentage. Thanks for posting :-)

    Reply

  6. cours

    01/14/2016 at 7:49 am

    Pressing the gear makes the tiles moving on my oneplus one. Anyone got any idea why I cant access system UI ?

    Reply

  7. shantnu thapa

    01/29/2016 at 4:11 pm

    It’s work..

    Reply

  8. kam

    04/16/2016 at 10:25 pm

    UI tuner is not showing in my Samsung Galaxy Note 4. i have upgrade the new version of 6.0.1

    Reply

  9. sameer

    07/03/2016 at 10:08 pm

    gear-shaped settings button is missing in my mobile after the marshmallow update.
    Unable to fetch the details. can any one help me

    Reply

  10. sameer

    07/03/2016 at 10:36 pm

    There is no “gear-shaped settings button” in status bar.
    Neither there is no such an option for UI tuner in my developer options.
    And major problem after update the mobile is not showing the notifications,
    The notification bell rangs and as soon i drag the status bar there will be no such a word of notification, it displays “No Notifications”.

    Reply

  11. Prakash

    08/07/2016 at 1:05 pm

    I have honor 6plus and upgraded to marshmallow. But on pulling notification bat, it show notice fictions and shortcut section… No gear shaped between battery and profile… I have battery percentage option built in but I like to increase shortcuts tiles as it has only eight by default and by edit, I have to replace new tile with existing one… So any help?

    Reply

  12. Vadimus Teplitsky

    09/08/2016 at 12:31 am

    it’s working! great tnx a lot!

    Reply

  13. Robert Peterson

    12/14/2016 at 7:05 pm

    I have an LG phoenix 2 with android 6.0 system it is a pre-pay type of phone thru at&t ….. This system ui thing keeps popping up messages on my screen that say my memory is at 99.99% full … I’ve searched all over the internet and for some reason nothing that is posted helps to get to this system ui thing so I can turn it off or try to fix it …. Anyone know of something that will work for real ? If you go to my setting page it says I’ve used 10.8gb of memory space out of 16gb , I also have a SD card that holds 8gb and it only has 3gb used …. Should I take my phone to at&t to see if they can fix it

    Reply

  14. Idin

    02/10/2017 at 2:46 am

    Ive upgrade my g8 to official 6.0.1.
    But massage box does not appear and notification in status bar just show the app icon instead of any text or information. e.g wheather app usually shows temperature in status, but now just show that app icon. I think this update was a crap

    Reply

  15. cipryan

    03/10/2017 at 7:19 pm

    not work on samsung galaxy j5

    Reply

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