How to Enable Google Dialer’s New Floating Bubble Feature

Google Dialer is a modification of the AOSP dialer with a few small extra features. You can search for local phone numbers within the app and receive information on phone numbers that aren’t in your contacts. What’s more, you can also enable a secret feature! The Google Dialer floating bubble can be enabled by editing one of Google Dialer’s XML files in its shared_prefs folder. The floating bubble allows you to turn on speaker phone, mute your microphone, or hang up while you’re in another app. A video demonstration of the floating bubble is below. To follow this guide, you need root access and a root enabled file explorer. I recommend the free MiXplorer, straight from our Apps & Games forum! If you would prefer however, any other popular, root enabled options should work fine.

MiXplorer (Free, XDA Labs) →

This guide only works on rooted devices. To get root, install Magisk or SuperSU. You will also need a root enabled file explorer, as we will be editing a Google Dialer preferences file located in its own /data folder. You should also enable Google Dialer as the default phone application. If you uninstall the stock dialer that comes with your phone, this is necessary or else your phone will soft reboot when making or receiving a call.


Enabling Google Dialer’s Floating Bubble

You’ll need to download Google Dialer if you don’t have it already. You can download the latest on APKMirror. To enable it as the default calling app, go to “Settings” then “Apps” and press the settings cog at the top and tap “Phone”. Change the default phone application to the Google Dialer. It’s called “Phone” too, but the one not marked as default or system will be the one you just installed if you haven’t got any other dialer apps on your phone.

Once done, make sure your device is rooted and you have a root enabled file explorer. You’re ready to begin if so!

Step 1

Open your file explorer and navigate to /data/data/com.google.android.dialer/shared_prefs.

Here you’ll see various xml files which contain some modifiable parts of the application. Usually when you change a setting in an app, the setting gets written in some form within a file in the shared_prefs folder of the application. Google Dialer contains the string we need to edit within called “dialer_phenotype_flags.xml“, so open that up in your text editor.

Step 2

Find the boolean string titled “G_enable_return_to_call_bubble” and change the “false” to “true”. It should look like the below screenshot.

That’s all you need. Now save and force close Google Dialer. Launch it again and next time you make or receive a call and then press the home button you’ll see a phone dialer bubble! There are other features which you can enable or disable in this section too, but none that are guaranteed to work. Note that this feature may break at any time due to an update, so if an update removes the bubble you may need to change the string again. If it doesn’t exist, then it’s likely that Google removed it.


Explanation

What we are doing is fairly simple. Google Dialer reads its various preferences from the files located in /shared_prefs. One of the modifiable preferences present is the Google Dialer bubble that we enabled in this tutorial. This is a feature that Google are either currently testing or a feature that will never go live but was tested in-house. The bubble and its features work perfectly fine with no instability, so we expect to see this feature within the app publicly at some stage in the future. We’ll let you know if we find any other secret features!

How to Customize Lockscreen Shortcuts in Android Oreo Without Root

Android Oreo has finally launched, and much like the navigation bar, we can also customize lockscreen shortcuts! It’s even easier than the navigation bar tutorial, as all you need is adb. With the launch of Android Oreo we are also going to look for many other tweaks that users like yourselves here at XDA can benefit from, so keep an eye on our news feed.

A bit of context is needed here. Lockscreen shortcuts are those small icons in the bottom left and right hand corner that you can access from the keyguard when you wake up the phone. You were previously able to customize them starting with the Android O Developer Previews, but in DP3 they removed this option. Still, it’s possible to manually customize the lockscreen shortcuts because Google only removed the user-facing GUI for it rather than completely taking out the feature.

To get adb, install either “Minimal ADB & Fastboot” or the official binaries by Google and enable USB debugging. To enable USB debugging open settings, go to “About”, tap “Build number” seven times and press the back key. You will now see a “Developer options” menu that you can enter and enable debugging in.

This guide requires Android Oreo which is only out on the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Nexus Player and Google Pixel C. You can install the factory image now if you don’t have it already!


How to Customize Lockscreen Shortcuts in Android Oreo

The ability to edit the lockscreen shortcuts existed too in the System UI tuner, exactly like the navigation bar tweaks. In that setting, you not only could change lockscreen shortcuts to a specific application, but you also could choose an activity too. It has since been removed along with other options, with the commit message stating “they aren’t quite there yet”. Thankfully we can still do that here, but with a bit more work than the graceful solution that Google used to offer. To launch adb, hold shift + right click in the folder containing adb and make sure your phone is connected to your PC with debugging enabled. While easy to edit the shortcuts, you will need to use the following commands to edit them.

For the left side:

settings put secure sysui_keyguard_left "COMPONENT/NAME"

For the right side:

settings put secure sysui_keyguard_right "COMPONENT/NAME"

Where “COMPONENT” is the application’s package name and “NAME” is the name of the activity.

As an example, if I wanted to launch the Google Hangouts left pane by swiping from the left side, the command in adb I would input is the following.

settings put secure sysui_keyguard_left "com.google.android.talk/com.google.android.apps.hangouts.phone.BabelHomeActivity"

This works for any application and activity. To find application package names and activities, you can use Activity Launcher on the Play Store to find the name of the activity. You can play around with activities in that application and find the one you want.

Activity Launcher (Free, Google Play) →

Next, if you want to make the shortcut unlock the device you can do that too. Simply use the following commands:

settings put secure sysui_keyguard_left_unlock 0/1
settings put secure sysui_keyguard_right_unlock 0/1

Where 0 keeps the device locked when the shortcut is activated and 1 unlocks the device.


And that’s it! There isn’t much in the way of further customizing these shortcuts, but it’s a nice way to speed up launching some of your favorite apps. Play around, see what you can do and let us know!

How to Customize the Navigation Bar in Android Oreo Without Root

Android Oreo has just launched, and with it come a set of various new features, optimisations and new looks. With improvement comes new APIs, and thus more unofficial goodies that with some tinkering we can access. You can install the system image now, and what’s more you can customize the navigation bar, just like you could on the developer previews! The navigation bar modification existed even in Android Nougat hidden away in plain sight, but was made accessible to users for a while in the first two Android O Developer Previews only for it to be removed along with other tuners with the commit message stating “they aren’t quite there yet”.

Thankfully, it is still possible to edit the navigation bar just like in the developer previews (and later, Nougat)! Only the user facing menu option was removed, but it’s actually still entirely accessible if you know how to call it via adb (or can put up with using a third-party app).

This tutorial is aimed at Android Oreo users, however this method and app also works on Android Nougat. Android Oreo is only available on the Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel C, Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X and Nexus Player for now.


Customize the Navigation Bar in Android Oreo

Custom Navigation Bar (Free+, Google Play) →

We recommend you install Custom Navigation Bar Tuner from the Google Play Store, as it provides a nice GUI front-end for the navigation bar customization tuner that was removed from the developer previews (and offers way more features to boot). If you don’t have root access, you’ll need to download either Minimal ADB & Fastboot or the official Google binaries to enable the required WRITE_SECURE_SETTINGS permission for the application.

To do so, you’ll need to first enable USB Debugging by going to the Developer Options menu. If you don’t see Developer Options, scroll down to “About” and tap “Build number” seven times until the “You are now a developer” toast appears. Back out and above “About” will be the “Developer options” menu. Enter this and enable USB Debugging. Launch adb from your computer by pressing shift + right click in the same folder containing your adb files, then choosing to “open command prompt here” if you’re on Windows. For Mac and Linux users, you’ll need to open terminal then cd to the directory where you downloaded the files. Follow the instructions in the app to grant the appropriate permissions.

Re-arrange the navigation buttons

You can re-arrange the navigation buttons if you prefer them in a different order. Simply enter the menu titled “Navigation bar” and enter experimental tweaks.

Other uses

There is a lot you can do with this application and the use of Tasker! Here are two examples:

The app allows full Tasker integration, so you can program them in any way you like. Try customizing your nav bar out and let us know what uses you are able to come up with!

How to Adjust Gboard’s Keyboard Height Above the Highest Level

Gboard is a re-brand of what used to be called Google Keyboard and it contains more features over its predecessor including in-built Google search, multiple language support, and integrating smart suggestions into your typing. It also has contextual awareness, so if your grammar is incorrect sometimes it will try fix that too. The app is overall a huge improvement over the old Google Keyboard, as it does everything better than what it used to.

However, the application lacks some options. Some would argue the keyboard is too small. I prefer the keyboard to be small, using as little screen space as possible, but some people prefer it to be bigger as a smaller keyboard can lead to more inaccurate typing, which I do agree with. While there is a “Keyboard height” setting in Gboard preferences, some might find that even the tallest option is not tall enough.

Delving into the application’s data folder located in /data/data, we found some interesting modifiable strings that allow you to modify the keyboard height even beyond its highest level. This guide requires root access, as we will modify a file located in the /data partition. 

You will need root access on your phone to follow this tutorial. You can get root access by either flashing Magisk or SuperSU after unlocking your device’s bootloader. Note, any other modifications you make within the file are not guaranteed to work, and may break Gboard.


Adjust Gboard’s Keyboard Height Manually

Step 1

Firstly as mentioned you will need root access and some form of root enabled file explorer. You can use MiXplorer from here on XDA if you wish, or another file explorer like Solid Explorer. Make sure to grant root access to the file explorer.

MiXplorer (Free, XDA Labs) →

Step 2

Navigate to the following folder.

/data/data/com.google.android.inputmethod.latin/shared_prefs/

And look for the file named com.google.android.inputmethod.latin_preferences.xml. This file contains various preferences relating to Gboard, including the two strings we will look for to modify height and sensitivity. Simply open this file as a text file.

Step 3

You can use the find feature of your favourite text editor to edit the strings as this is a large file. Firstly search for “keyboard_height_ratio”. You should be brought to a string which looks like this.

<string name="keyboard_height_ratio">1.0</string>

You can modify this number any way you like. A larger number will increase the height, a lower number will decrease it. Once you have done this, you have to force close Gboard for it to launch with the new setting.

As you can see, the height has increased. This is because I increased the height from 1 to 1.5. You can set this to any range of values you like, but be careful as a value too large or too small won’t let you edit the file unless you clear data for Gboard or use a different keyboard to modify it back.


Bonus – Possible Swipe Sensitivity Tweak

This is a swipe sensitivity tweak, which may not actually do anything. The string exists and is modifiable, but we don’t know if it actually changes anything as it is hard to tell when swiping. To edit this, navigate to the same file again and this time locate the following string.

<string name="keyboard_slide_sensitivity_ratio">1</string>

And edit the value as you wish. Again force close Gboard (following the screenshots above) and the tweak should theoretically be activated. If you notice a different let us know!


Explanation

Most application settings are actually just inputs that write a value to a location in a file, and the application reads this for its configuration. These two tweaks do not have a front-end within the Gboard application for changing them, however the app still reads them. These are likely to be experimental features that Google either plan to add or haven’t removed yet. You can have a look through the preferences file and see if you see anything else of interest that may be worth modifying, and if so let us know!

How to Access the Facebook Hidden Settings Menu on Android

The Facebook app, much like its counterpart the Facebook Messenger app, also has its own hidden internal menu using by Facebook engineers for debugging and testing. This Facebook hidden settings menu cannot be permanently enabled, unlike the Messenger’s internal menu. Much like Messenger you need root access or a modified APK by XDA Senior Member evilwombat to access this menu. As in the Messenger tutorial, you will also need to use the Android Debugging Bridge (ADB) or a terminal app such as Termux. If you are using ADB, USB debugging needs to be enabled which can be found in Developer Options on your device.

You will need root access on your phone to follow this tutorial. You can get root access by either flashing Magisk or SuperSU after unlocking your device’s bootloader. Note, that using the modified APK linked above requires you to uninstall any existing Facebook apps you have and instead use all of the modified Facebook apps from the same developer that you plan to use.


Access Facebook’s Hidden Internal Menu

Using ADB

Download the ADB tools of your choice. These can either be “Minimal ADB & Fastboot” from our forums or the official binaries released by Google. Once installed or extracted, in the folder containing the ADB binary hold shift + right click and click “Open command window here” (if you’re on Windows). If you’re on Mac or Linux, then you’ll need to preface the “adb shell” command below with the directory to the ADB binary.

Connect your phone to  your computer and grant debugging access. Next, type the following commands in the command prompt:

adb shell
su

Grant superuser access to “shell” when prompted on your phone.

am start -n "com.facebook.katana/com.facebook.katana.internsettingsactivity.InternSettingsActivity"

You will now see the internal menu open on your phone.

Using terminal

Open the terminal app of your choosing. Personally I use Termux, but anything that can access the terminal will work fine. Type the following commands.

Termux (Free, Google Play) →

su

Grant superuser access when prompted on your device.

am start -n "com.facebook.katana/com.facebook.katana.internsettingsactivity.InternSettingsActivity"

The internal menu will open on your device.


Explanation

We are using adb or the terminal to start the InternSettingsActivity which is the name of the hidden internal menu activity. This is an unexported activity defined in the AndroidManifest file; meaning it cannot be accessed normally from third-party apps. Inside of this internal menu are some settings and tweaks that users of the Facebook app may benefit from. This menu is meant to be only accessed by developers and testers of the Facebook app, so there’s a lot you can do. Scroll down to see some examples.


Example Features of the Facebook Internal Menu

Data Saver

This is my favorite feature within the internal settings. You can enable a data usage monitor, which will stop the app transferring data once it reaches a certain limit. This is good for those of you on metered connections, as Facebook can be incredibly data intensive. It is filled with videos and pictures, so it’s no surprise. Thanks to this menu, you can simply set the amount of data you want to allow the app at maximum, and also reset the counter if you want to allow yourself to use more data. This limiter works on WiFi or mobile data, so those of you on restrictive data caps on your WiFi can make use of this too.

Force App Update

Another interesting feature is a “force app update” feature. It seems to download the latest version in-app and update, though I didn’t get a package install attempt even though a toast told me it was downloading. This feature may be broken, but it seems interesting nonetheless.

Video Stats

Within the internal menu you can enable video specs for playing videos to display the metadata (file information) while you watch a video. You can also enable logging, play videos muted and force autoplay videos. Autoplay settings are in the app already, but it’s still interesting to see them slightly more advanced here.

 

And that’s all, if you find any other useful features hidden away in the Facebook app, let us know down below in the comments!