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Inside Marshmallow: The System UI Tuner

There is a neat hidden menu on your new Android Marshmallow phone or tablet that gives you a bit of control over your status bar and its pull-down menus — the System UI Tuner.

Once enabled, you can change the way your status bar and pull-down settings look and feel, giving your Android a more custom feel that would have previously required some rooting and flashing.

Let's have a look at how to enable it, and what you can do with it.

Enable the System UI Tuner

Congrats! Now break stuff.

This is easy if you know where to look and what to do.

Pull down your quick settings — either swipe down on the notifications then swipe again, or use a two-finger swipe. In the top right, you'll see the gear icon. Tapping it is a shortcut to your settings, but tapping and holding it for a few seconds will open a hidden menu in settings.

Long press that gear until you see it spin, then keep holding until you get a pop-up toast message telling you "Congrats! System UI Tuner has been added to Settings."

Now go into the settings, scroll down, and you'll see the new menu item listed. When you open it for the first time, you'll get a warning that these features are experimental and may break things, and may disappear in the future. If you're good with that, tap on "GOT IT" at the bottom and proceed.

Quick Settings

Quick Settings

At the top of your new menu, you'll see the Quick Settings entry. Tapping on it takes you to a mockup of the same Quick Settings pane you saw when we first started.

Press and hold any of the items you see and you can act on it. Move things around and rearrange the icons, or even delete the setting shortcuts you'll never use.

There is also an Add tile button that you can use to replace anything you've deleted previously, or add a Broadcast tile if you're a developer and need that sort of thing.

If you mess up, no worries. Tap the menu in the upper right and you can reset everything.

Status bar icons

Status bar

The next entry is labeled "Status bar." Open it and you'll see a list of all the icons that can (and will) appear at one time or another in your status bar, along with a toggle.

Never want to see the Alarm icon, or the Airplane mode icon? Move the toggle and turn them off. All the entries work the same way. A blue (enabled) toggle means they will appear when active, and a grey (disabled) toggle means they won't.

Battery percentage

Battery-percentage

This one is self-explanatory. Turn it on and you'll get a numbered representation of your battery charge. It appears embedded in the battery icon in your status bar.

Turn it off and it goes away. Easy-peasy.

Demo mode

Demo mode

This setting cleans your status bar of all the clutter.

If you've ever needed to take a screenshot and didn't want things like the temperature from your weather app or do-not-disturb icon hanging out up top, this is for you.

Toggle Demo mode on, and your status bar shows a full Wifi icon, a full Network icon, a full battery icon, and a time of 6 o'clock. Nothing else. It doesn't matter what screen you're on, that's how your status bar will look.

Turn Demo mode off and things go back to normal.

Danger

While these aren't tweaks on the level you would see in many of the available custom ROMs available, they can be handy. Now you know how to use them if you need to.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Jerry Hildenbrand

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

80 Comments
  • I know the broadcast tile option is meant for developers, but what does it do exactly? Posted via the Android Central App
  • I believe it broadasts.
  • "Broadcast Tile" enables any app to add custom Quick-Tile button. http://qiita.com/YusukeIwaki/items/1acd9e4e4f85afa1223f (sorry, in Japanese...) By broadcasting the intent with the action specified in "add Broadcast Tile" dialog and with some extra params (onclick, onlongclick, icon, ...etc), System UI displays a button as is specified in the Intent's extra params.
  • All this, and still no advanced power menu!!
  • Finally a native battery percentage! It's not the best solution, but it works. I really wish Google will also allow you to really customize the quick settings. Other than just moving them around and deleting what's already there. Specifically to turn on/off GPS. NOT turn location on/off altogether. That is so bothersome cause I always want location through Wi-Fi/cellular on and toggle the GPS on/off separately. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Its kinda hard to read if the battery is much less than full. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Exactly! That should be sorted out already, it's a pain... Posted via the Android Central App
  • Some people have problems to understand what "experimental features" mean. I wonder if they are the same type of people that complains that something is not working on the "developer preview" versions of the OS. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Lollipop had the native display of battery percentage as well, the only difference is that then you had to edit the system configuration file manually and now there's a settings screen so it's much easier to toggle.
  • Every phone I ever had can have the gps control in quick settings....
  • i wish google developers would learn how to poo in loos instead of in designated $hitting streets as usual nothing works correctly i see options for hotspot icon but there is no way to make it work it will not show up in the quick settings the UI of system UI tuner sucks un intuitive like everything else these won't poo in loos make
  • Battery percentage!!!!
  • Glad that features available in ROMs that required rooting in most* cases have gone to Stock Android! Now for a full fledged theme system would be great to incorporate some dark mode happenings for another nice add on. Posted via the Android Central App From my Blackberry Priv where I am out of toilet paper
  • I have a feeling google's gonna add a dark theme option to android N. A lot of people have been asking for it and its only a matter of time Posted via the Android Central App
  • They had a half baked dark mode in the preview 1 of M but they got rid of it later on just like with multi window. I hope they bring both back with a 6.1 update. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Ya it was only for the settings UI though.
  • Tap to wake is another feature that should have made it. It was written in part of Lollipop final version never had it , but I haven't heard anything since. As much as I use my phone, Nexus 6, I can see my power button failing at some point. I wonder if illiterate people get the full effect of alphabet soup
  • Never had a power button fail on any phone. Hail Putrid Pile
  • I surely hope so. But a PROPER Dark Theme, not that joke they had on the M preview which didn't actually used any black but rather that God-knows-what-that-is colour of the notification tray.
  • This was the main reason why I would root and rom. Hope this never goes away. Posted via the Android Central App
  • There was an "app" in the play store that added this feature, so you didn't need to root and rom.
  • No dark theme, eh? I've got no use for Google's stock ROM until they return to the dark side! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Just install a different launcher. There's no need to root and install ROMs to use a darker theme.
  • Launcher doesn't change settings menu and notifications. Posted via Nexus 6 running on any data plan I want
  • This. I've used a custom launcher for years, but for the light theme it's a "bandaid" on a bullet wound. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Why does nobody ever get this? "I want a dark theme " -"Just use a custom launcher" "I don't like touchwiz" - “Just install a custom launcher " A launcher is just a launcher, it doesn't change anything about the actual UI of the OS. Posted via the Android Central App
  • A launcher doesn't do crap for system menus.
  • True, indeed. I like the customization of Next Launcher, but I'll take a Cyanogenmod system menu any day.
  • People hate on touchwiz, myself included, but their theme system is the only thing I've seen that comes close to theming the entire phone. I use a theme on my Xperia but outside of Sony's own apps, they do basically nothing except change the nav buttons. I wish I could change the ugly Lollipop notification shade. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yes! TouchWiz themes plus Nova Prime launcher enables really awesome customization options :D
    Plus, many of these "new" Marshmallow features are already available in TouchWiz.
    They don't get enough credit for this...
    Wouldn't want to switch to a Nexus device - too limited customization.
  • Amen
  • "over your status bar and it's pull-down menus "
    *its Who edits this stuff?
  • Hopefully OEMs have this in their Marshmallow builds. I can't stand a cluttered status bar. Nfc and bt never need to be there. It would be nice to get rid of am/pm too Posted via the Android Central App
  • i don't remember ever seeing an nfc symbol. seems like that is a non-nexus thing. i do glance at the bt icon to tell if a connection has been made. i haven't had AM/PM for years. easy to get rid of. 24 hour clock.
  • My Samsung has nfc icon. Just started enabling it for android pay. And bt is always on cause my pebble and 360. No need to tell me I know it's on. Got a point with 24 hour clock but am/pm off should be an option to. I can figure that out Posted via the Android Central App
  • When changing Quick Settings in UI tuner, I've often had an issue where if I remove one of the top two icons, then the spacing gets all screwed up, and it can end up with my QS panel icons in an upside down cross formation. Anyone else having any issues like that? I'm on a stock rooted N7 2013, but I was having the same issue on the Google supplied factory image.
  • Yeah, I've had the exact same thing happen. It doesn't make sense! Very confusing...... Posted via the Android Central App
  • Aside from the Demo Mode, all of these features have been part of Sony's OS 'skin' for years (I think touchwiz too), It's good to see these things baked into stock android. This is why OEM skins are a good thing, even if they sometimes suck. Posted via the Android Central App
  • You forgot to mention HTC. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Well I have no experience with HTC, so I didn't forget. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Nexus is for people who want the latest Android first, and the best phone/features last.
  • Ha. Quotable! Posted via my Mate 7 or my Moto X Pure
  • This was added in the windows phone in the last year itself. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Wish they'd add a quick pulldown to get to quick settings immediately. A.k.a pull down on the far right and/or left of the notification bar to go directly to quick settings. So many custom ROMs have it, and it's great. Faster than double swipe, but don't need two hands like two finger. Love it on my phone. Posted via the Android Central App
  • You don't need 2 hands to do a 2 finger pull! Do you? Maybe you only have 1 finger on one of your hands.... Posted via the Android Central App
  • I would love to see you do a two finger pull while holding it in the same hand.
  • You would obviously hold the phone in one hand and swipe with the other....
    I bet you text while you drive too....
  • I think Android still has the worst power/ ram manager ever made. Why cant you set what apps runn in the background and what app can run. There are some useless apps that keep running on the background even when you are not using them and they sync nothing in the background.
  • This is under the Developer Options now.
  • This is very good. But Google should add advance power menu in the next small update Posted via the Android Central App
  • Thanks for the info jerry..... Very useful, soon my phone will be updated to marshmallow and this would prove quite useful. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Under the Quick Settings menu on my System UI Tuner on my Nexus 6, there's a tile that says "Invert Colors", but it doesn't do anything. And, it doesn't show up on the actual Quick Settings menu. Odd... https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxAtKaA6BdvLejVxM09mTGhvM28/view?usp=sh...
  • This is a icon that works the same as the tethering icon. If you activate the function from the setting menu, you get the icon In quick settings. I think they are there for a month, for some reason. Posted via the Android Central App
  • And this is why I adore android.... Is that what those messages are called "toast message"? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yep, the little grey oval-shaped messages that pop up on the bottom and then fade out are called "toast" messages.
  • This option only works for the true Android experience not for versions modified by vendors like Samsung and LG.
  • A lot of the oem modified versions already have a lot of these options. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Have any OEMs released M builds yet. Posted via the Android Central App
  • No but they've had these options already Posted via the Android Central App From my Blackberry Priv where I am out of toilet paper
  • It's about time Google added these customization features even though I still have to use xposed to get a menu button. I don't know why they're so against having a menu button after having one for so long. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It took me a while to get over the menu button omission as well, but Google (along with myself now) feels that it's generally more convenient to have everything on the screen. A lot of Android non-power users have had issues with not finding lots of options because they were hidden in menu-button menus, I've seen it happen countless time with friends and family with older Android devices.
  • I did not know that a double finger swipe could bring down the quick settings!!! Thanks.
  • Argh, why no option to disable the status bar clock on homescreens? This has been a root feature in stuff like Nova Launcher and Xposed for years.
  • I had turned off all animation and couldn't unlock the menu. Turned animation back on and was able to get to the menu.
  • My phone just upgraded to marshmallow (Nexus 6, OTA) and my cog icon doesn't spin when I press and hold not allowing to gain access to system ui tuner. Developer options is on. Any suggestions??? Posted via the Android Central App
  • I can't just see that everyone is an Android fanboy because no one has commented on the asinine way to actually enable this. Why should you have to enable it in the first place? Just add it to the settings. Damn, I hate my Android phone.
  • They're "experimental" features, and not enabled because of people like you. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I can't seem to get this working on my brand new Nexus 5X. How long do I have to hold the cog button down for? EDIT: Got it working eventually. The toast popped up once I let the button go.
  • I cannot get this to work. I have an A9 with Sprint. Developer options are on, animation is on, and I've tried every scenario in this thread. The main reason I'd like to change the quick settings menu is I see a security flaw (I'll call it). When the phone is locked, whenever you wake the screen you can still pull down the quick settings menu. So if my phone gets stolen someone can turn off my mobile data and/or Wi-Fi. Problem then is I am not able to lock, wipe, or locate my device. This obviously has to be an oversight on Google but I'm sure it'll be addressed someday.
  • Hey dude i think the same, but I have noticed that if you activate the option Battery Saver, the quick settings can't be reset or changed. I'm using an Xperia z3 Marshmallow.
  • I've tried holding down the gear icon for over a minute again and again, but nothing ever happens. I've tried wobbling my finger while holding the icon down like a guitar player on a string to get vibrato, but no change. I'm using a Samsung Galaxy S5 with Marshmallow 6.0.1 that's serviced via Verizon. Has the Verizon's tweaking of Marshmallow deleted the Tweak UI function? Also, my battery icon has the percentage shown beside it and the icon shows a black lightening bolt in its center with a white bar behind it rising proportionally to the amount of charge left. I'm not sure what the Tweak UI battery icon would give me. other than getting rid of the percentage displayed beside the present battery icon. Is what my battery icon displaying different than what y'all are seeing?
  • Samsung uses a different system UI then Stock Android. The option is only on "Vanilla" Android's system UI.
    If you noticed, the Shade on your device is a displeasing blue color with what i would say ugly design. That is Samsung's notification bar, and they have the launcher covered too. Put simply, Samsung hasn't implemented the feature in their UI. Your carrier usually just loads the device with unnecessary system apps, making the apps not able to be uninstalled. Vanilla android doesn't have these sad inclusions.
  • Love the battery percentage #. Made his article worth it to me Posted via the Android Central App
  • No ui tuner for the LG G4 Posted via the Android Central App
  • Same here! Can anybody tell us why this is other than "this is just an experimental feature"? because it should be available for all devices. I have tried multiple (and I do mean MULTIPLE!) times to get this to work but the Settings Gear will not spin no matter how long you press it. The Easter Egg game is there, everything else is there in the Dev Opt's menu but still, no ui tuner and no response to this post as of 2 weeks ago. Can we get any input from someone who might know why this might be? Thanks in advance!!!
  • On Nexus 5, my wheel spins like a madman... But nothing happens after that.
  • https://youtu.be/zQaLx4cMoGg
    How to use broadcast tile option in andoid m
  • No UI tuner for the LG G5 either.
  • 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".
  • Can somebody please chime in here on a very basic thing that I have been unable to add to the Status bar in Android since forever. Does OOTB Android really not allow us to put a DATE at the top of the screen? It can't just be me that never remembers today is the 13th. I just want a 1 or 2 digit number at the top saying the date. I know I can use 3rd party apps. Used Xposed in the past but now on stock 6P. Baffled by this. Anything helpful to make sense of this oversight? Thanks