Android’s status bar can get junky pretty fast—especially if you’re using a non-stock build of Android (like on Samsung or LG phones). Fortunately, with the right tools, you can clean this area up without losing any functionality.

Let’s Define “Status Bar”

First things first. Let’s talk about what the Status Bar is. The top of your Android phone’s main interface is separated into two defined areas: the Notification Bar and the Status Bar. The former is where all your notifications are housed as they come in, shown simply as icons to let you know there’s something that needs your attention. We’re not going to do anything to this “half” of the bar.

The Status Bar is where you’ll find status icons: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, mobile network, battery, time, alarm, etc. The thing is, you may not need to see all these icons all the time. For example, on Samsung and LG phones, the NFC icons is always displayed when the service is on. This doesn’t make a lot of sense, because there’s nothing more to see here—unlike Wi-Fi or mobile data, there is no signal strength to be displayed. Unlike Bluetooth, there isn’t a connection status. It’s either on or off. Having an icon there all the time when it’s on is just silly and takes up a lot of space.

But that’s just one example, and you can probably see where we’re headed here.

The good news is that there’s an easy way to clean up your Status Bar. It’s called the System UI Tuner, and it’s actually a part of stock Android. If you’re running a non-stock device, it’s not a base part of the system, but there’s a way to use this tool anyway. We’ll cover both methods here.

Access and Use the System UI Tuner on Stock Android

RELATED: How to Enable Android’s “System UI Tuner” for Access to Experimental Features

We’ve already covered how to enable the System UI Tuner on stock devices for access to experimental features, and the process is the same. So, check out that guide for the full details on getting things set up.

Here’s the quick and dirty version:

  1. Pull down the notification shade.
  2. Long-press the gear icon until it spins and rolls off the screen.

And that’s all there is to it. You’ll know you did it right because after the fact, the Settings menu opens, a toast notification lets you know you’ve enabled the feature, and a little wrench icon shows up next to the gear.

 

Go ahead and jump into Settings by pulling down the notification shade again and tapping the gear icon. Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the “Settings” page, and then select the “System UI Tuner” option.

If this is your first time launching it, a warning pops up letting you know this is experimental stuff. Tap “Got It” to dismiss the warning.

First on the list is the “Status Bar” option. Jump in there.

These settings are pretty straightforward—just turn a toggle off to hide that icon. The changes take effect in real-time, so you can see how you feel about them on the fly.

Accessing and Using the System UI Tuner on Other Android Variants

RELATED: How to Get Android’s System UI Tuner on Non-Stock Devices

Using the System UI Tuner on non-stock devices is a little bit more complicated, but it still isn’t hard to do. It involves installing a third-party utility, so check out our guide on how to get that up and running. Just know that it if you’re not using a rooted handset, the process will require some adb commands. Don’t worry, though. It’s really easy and everything is covered in detail in our guide.

Once you have that set up, everything else is smooth sailing. Fire up the “System UI Tuner” app, and then open the menu at the top left to get started.

In the menu, choose the “Status Bar” option. Just like on stock Android, you can run through and enable or disable whatever you like. These changes should all happen in real-time, so if you’re not into how something looks, you can easily change it back.

 

Finally, you can get rid of that pesky NFC icon. Congratulations!