Google confirms overscan is gone in Android 11, crippling third-party gesture apps

Google confirms overscan is gone in Android 11, crippling third-party gesture apps

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Gesture navigation has become a staple feature on most smartphones these days. Earlier in the years, there was some debate centered around who did navigation gestures the best, but Google made that discussion redundant when they mandated the inclusion of Android 10’s navigation gestures while relegating OEM solutions as optional extras. Then there are apps like XDA’s own Navigation Gestures, which introduces several options like an iPhone X-style gesture and the ability to hide the original navigation bar. However, a recent change in Android 11 will soon cripple third-party gesture apps like ours, as the new OS version removes overscan, the very method we used to hide the pill.

Overscan is a behavior typically found in TVs wherein a part of the picture exists beyond the visible bounds of the screen. TVs usually have an option to correct this by shrinking (and by extension, expanding) the visible bounds of the screen so that the entire picture can fit within the display. As Android is also capable of being run on TVs and set-top boxes, the OS also supported overscan as a feature that can be tapped. The “wm overscan” shell command was cleverly used by many developers to move parts of the UI off the visible screen area. Our own app, Navigation Gestures, relied on Android’s Overscan API to hide the original navigation bar without needing to root the phone.

Now, Google has confirmed that Android 11 does not feature overscan functionality.

Status: Won’t Fix (Intended Behavior)

Thank you for the feedback. Overscan has been removed as it wasn’t used by any products anymore.

With Overscan being entirely removed from Android, it will be impossible for third part gesture apps to hide the navigation bar without rooting the phone. Gesture apps are also not the only ones that used overscan, though. Some apps like SecondScreen, which let you control various display options when outputting to an external display, also let you adjust the overscan. This functionality will likely not be offered anymore on newer versions of Android.

All Android 11 News on XDA


Thanks to Hani Mohamed Bioud for the tip!