Android and Me

Android 4.4 has hidden status bar battery percentage feature that’s utterly broken

5 months ago 43

A battery percentage is something many manufacturers have been including in their smartphones for ages. LG and Samsung integrated percentages long ago. Hell, even Apple threw that into an iOS update years ago. However, Google has been very behind the times with this one feature in AOSP code, leading to stock Nexus devices not having any clean way to display a battery percentage (a persistent notification is incredibly annoying).

In my personal opinion, a battery percentage these days is very important. Not quite crucial, but important nonetheless. In today’s society, you function only as long as your technology functions. A smartphone is a key part to this dependency. With smartphone batteries being generally poor, we need to know exactly how much juice is left so we can plan around it. Even my mother thinks a battery percentage is important.

Interestingly enough, Google has begun work on this feature in KitKat. It’s finally available in the frameworks of Android, but there is no option for it. Luckily, it can be enabled using ADB or even a special app without the need for root. And guess what? It’s broken.

AndroidKitKatBattery

Yes, something as simple as changing the color of the battery percentage eluded Google engineers and requires modification of SystemUI.apk to achieve. The number is white, so if your battery is above 30 percent, it will cover the numbers. We’ll never understand Google. But hopefully this will be added as an option soon, because it’s pretty important (and I know it isn’t that hard to implement, considering I’ve done it for custom ROMs).

If you want to give it a try, you can either use an ADB command or an app. Here is the ADB command:

adb shell content insert --uri content://settings/system --bind name:s:status_bar_show_battery_percent --bind value:i:1

adb reboot

You can also use an app that an XDA user created for this purpose. It just launches these commands automatically. Hit the source link to check out the app. And tell us, do you use a battery percentage?

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