How to Enable System UI Tuner to Modify the Status Bar in EMUI 4+
After years of minimal customization options, Android Marshmallow finally introduced some basic customization features that had existed in custom ROMs for ages through the inclusion of the System UI tuner.
This feature is included in all Android 6.0+ Google devices, and in order to access it you need to pull down the status bar and long-press on the gear icon until it spins, after which the System UI Tuner menu will appear in Settings.
Inside the Android Marshmallow System UI tuner, users are able to modify the quick settings tiles, edit the status bar, or start demo mode. With Android Nougat, the quick settings tile editor was moved to the notification dropdown and demo mode was moved to Developer Options. Furthermore, Nougat’s UI Tuner also introduced Do not disturb options, a toggle to enable split-screen swipe-up gesture, and power notification settings.
While these are certainly some useful features, some OEMs don’t feel the same way. OEMs such as HTC, Samsung, and Huawei remove access to this feature because some of the available features conflict with what’s available in their software. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t any use for System UI Tuner in non-Google devices, especially for non-rooted devices.
Fortunately, at least for Huawei/Honor devices, you can enable System UI Tuner without needing root access. This is because EMUI only removes the normal way to access the UI Tuner, but the activity is still there. That means we can directly launch the activity to start UI Tuner, even though the normal trick where you have to hold the quick settings gear icon no longer works.
Enable System UI Tuner in EMUI
As mentioned before, we will be directly launching an activity to start the UI Tuner (com.android.systemui/.DemoMode). Although there are a large number of ways you can launch an activity, I have written this guide to use a very simple method. All you have to do is download Activity Launcher from the Google Play Store.
Open up Activity Launcher and change the view mode to see “All activities.” Next, scroll all the way down to System UI. Tap on it to expand the list and see all available System UI activities. Look for the demo mode activity. Tap on that and it should open up the hidden System UI Tuner.
Alternatively, you can enable/access most of these settings through ADB commands. In order to use ADB, you’ll need to download and extract the ADB binary onto a folder on your computer. Next, install Hisuite onto your machine so it can grab the necessary drivers for your phone. Then, enable USB Debugging in Developer Options (if you haven’t enabled it, go to Settings –> About phone and tap on Build number 7 times). Open up a command prompt in the directory where you saved the ADB binary (right-click in the folder and select “open command prompt here”) and type “adb devices” without quotes. Your phone will ask you to grant your computer ADB access, hit yes and your phone’s serial number should show up in the command prompt when you re-type “adb devices.”
Now that you’ve got ADB set-up, here are the commands you’ll need:
Enable Demo Mode:
adb shell settings put global sysui_demo_allowed 1
Disable Icons from Status Bar:
adb shell settings put secure icon_blacklist "comma-separated-string-of-icons-to-remove"
Show Do Not Disturb Toggle in Volume Slider
adb shell settings put secure sysui_show_full_zen 1
No matter which method you use to control the UI Tuner, you can now play around with any of its available options. I’ve gone through the options myself already, and in my experience (at least with the Android 7.0 Nougat version of System UI Tuner), the only real use here is to disable certain status bar icons or enable the do not disturb toggle in the volume slider.
Most of the other functions do not work at all. You can’t enable the toggle to show seconds in the status bar clock or enable the split-screen gesture. Furthermore, the battery icon can’t be modified nor can you enable the power notification settings, however, EMUI offers these functions natively so that’s not too big of a deal.
To conclude, it’s easy to see why OEMs such as Huawei disable the System UI Tuner in their software. Given the plethora of customization options available, it doesn’t make much sense to provide access to a settings menu that conflicts with their stock offerings.
However, there are still some features you can take advantage of. For me, I liked being able to hide the Bluetooth, Work, Do not Disturb, and other icons from the status bar to make for a more clean UI experience. You may like the quick option to enable do not disturb from the volume slider. Whatever your reason is for wanting to access the System UI Tuner, I hope this tutorial has helped you do that.