tablet – Is there a way to hide the system/navigation bar in Android ICS-ThrowExceptions

Exception or error:

I’d like to extend the discussion regarding hiding of the system/navigation bar at the bottom of the screen on Android Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0 and up) tablet devices.

There’s already a thread ( Is there a way to hide the system bar in Android 3.0? It's an internal device and I'm managing navigation ) about hiding the bar on Honeycomb devices. My clients, however, will be using the newest Ice Cream Sandwich devices and are very keen on hiding the bar at the bottom the screen. Their application is not for regular consumer use and it’s very important for them to take over the whole screen to provide their experience. How possible is it to hide this bar — or at least, override the behaviour of all the buttons — without rooting the devices or rewriting its firmware?

How to solve:

Check out SYSTEM_UI_FLAG_HIDE_NAVIGATION, this flag hides the navigation bar until the user interacts with the device. It was introduced in Android 4.0. You can enable this flag for example like this:


Note that the navigation won’t disappear again automatically, you have to set it every time after the user interacted with the device.

Alternatively you can make the navigation less obtrusive by using SYSTEM_UI_FLAG_LOW_PROFILE, this changes the buttons into small dots (e.g. like the camera app).


on rooted devices, i use the following adb command

adb shell pm disable

to hide navigation bar permanently. To show it again, run

adb shell pm enable

so far it’s working fine for me


Using the below code is one way of doing it to hide navigation


But the problem with the above is that it becomes visible as soon as user touches the screen.

In Android Kitkat there is a feature called as IMMERSIVE which hides the notification bar and the navigation. It does not show even if the user interacts with the screen. However the user can make it visible by swiping it from top of the screen to bottom. Below is the code to achieve it

//Initializew this in onCreate()
View mDecorView = getWindow().getDecorView();

//Then call this function
private void hideSystemUI() {
            | View.SYSTEM_UI_FLAG_IMMERSIVE);

However in my case I never wanted the navigation and notification bar to be visible even if the user swipes from top of the screen to bottom. I gave it a try and I was able to achieve it partially. What I did was I implemented a CountDownTimerwhich would call hideSystemUI() every second or so. I know it is not the best way of doing it. But I did not get any other solution to do it.

If someone gets any then please let me know on how to permanently hide navigation and notification bar 🙂 Hope this answer helps some one in future 🙂

Watch this video to better understand about this feature.


Update – there is a work around which can be used for such cases (manually setting up the app for the client). Indeed, the navigation bar can’t be removed within the given framework.

However, there is a solution to hide the navigation bar if rooting the device is an option for you. Here is how:

Root device

Install and run Busybox

Install HideBar

In HideBar there is an option to run in ‘Kiosk’ mode, in which there is no way to re-display the navigation bar. Needless to say, you really need to be careful with this.

Risks involved:

  • bricking the device

  • getting the installation of BusyBox wrong, which could get things a bit tricky, although is very unlikely to cause loss of information.

  • getting into a stalemate where you can’t quit your app. For example if 1 your GUI doesn’t provide a close option, 2 your app start automatically on start-up, 3 HideBar doesn”t allow any way of re-displaying the navigation bar and 4 HideBar hids the navigation bar on startup. However this can be overcome by simply stopping/uninstalling your app from adb.

Here are other identical questions:


Although it’s a hacky solution, I think it deserves attention because does not require rooting the device:


To hide status bar and navigation bar in android ics use

LinearLayout layout = (LinearLayout)findViewById(;


EDIT: As of 4.4 (19) you can use the following to enable what is called “IMMERSIVE MODE”. It was introduced for Google’s Cardboard vrtoolkit, but can be used generally.


From my efforts, it seems that:
does not work on tablets.

It does work on smartphones (tested with a Nexus 4 Mako), but it will reappear on a touch/click event.
This also seems to capture focus to the bar, forcing you to click twice to regain focus to the view.

I have been trying to find a way to trap the event that actually redisplays the bar. No luck.

Being stubborn, I am going to download the android os code, fire up the eclipse debugger and go a-huntin. This is not a bug – the nav bar is crucial to app lifecycle.

I have seen apps do it (games and such) so there is a way without rooting.


place this code in your application tag in manifest file to hide default tab bar

android:theme="@android:style/Theme.Black.NoTitleBar.Fullscreen" <!--
other parameters of application tag-->

and the then make a linear or relative layout and place it in your activity layout.


You can not hide it unless you have rooted the device. But of course there is a workaround which might not fit with your requirement but several well known apps in the market at the moment using this strategy to achieve this disable menu bar feature for their apps.

  • Grant admin privilege.
  • Set password & lock the device using device admin profile api
  • Then load what ever the UIs on top of the native lock screen. (Of course this will show background lock screen whenever a transition happens between activities. But if logic is organized well, then it will be smooth & less noticed by the user)
  • When need to enable back, reset password to “” using resetPassword(“”, 0) of device policy manager object.


may be is the button behavor is enought you can have a look in my answer here

you still have the bar but you can’t exit app without reboot tablet


You can hide the navigation bar on Android 4.0 and higher using the SYSTEM_UI_FLAG_HIDE_NAVIGATION flag. This snippet hides both the navigation bar and the status bar:

View decorView = getWindow().getDecorView();
// Hide both the navigation bar and the status bar.
// SYSTEM_UI_FLAG_FULLSCREEN is only available on Android 4.1 and higher, but as
// a general rule, you should design your app to hide the status bar whenever you
// hide the navigation bar.
              | View.SYSTEM_UI_FLAG_FULLSCREEN;

See the following: Hiding the Navigation Bar


If your device is rooted this code will help you to hide system bar on ICS (I tested it on Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 and it works excellent):

ArrayList<String> list = new ArrayList<String>();
Map<String, String> env = System.getenv();
for (String envName : env.keySet()) {
    list.add(envName + "=" + env.get(envName));

// Array containing the environment to start the new process in
String[] envp = (String[]) list.toArray(new String[0]);

String hidingCommand = "while [ true ]\n" + "do\n" + "killall\n" + "done\n";
Runtime.getRuntime().exec(new String[] { "su", "-c", command }, envp);

myContext.sendBroadcast(new Intent("com.mycompany.myapp.ACTION_BARHIDDEN"));

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