The Pixel 3 XL is a great Android smartphone that excels in every area that matters. There are only two things wrong with it, really. The first problem is that it's not hugely different to the Pixel 2 XL. The second problem is its massive, ugly-arse notch.
Google's new Pixel phone isn't so much a revolution as a solid improvement: like this year's iPhones, Google is making incremental changes this year. If you're wondering whether it's worth going for the shiny new Pixel 3 over the now sure-to-be-discounted Pixel 2, read on.
It’s actually easy to hide the Pixel 3XL’s divisive camera notch from within your smartphone’s settings, but there’s a catch. Turning “off” the notch also disables the screen area around the notch that turns the uppermost slice of screen space into an unused black bar — it pushes the system tray and notification icons that would normally be displayed to the left and right of the notch down into the main part of the screen.
Fortunately, there are a host of third party apps you can install that will solve this. But first, we’ll show you where to find your Pixel 3 XL’s screen notch settings.
How to hide the Pixel 3 XL notch in the Android settings
First, we need to enable developer mode. If you’re already in dev mode, you can skip down to the next section.
Open the Settings app, the tap “System.”
Scroll down and tap “About Phone.”
Find “Build number” then tap it seven times to enable developer mode. You’ll know the mode has been toggled when a message pops up saying “You are now a developer.” Who knew it was so easy?
With developer mode on, you can now find and disable the notch setting.
Go to Settings > System > Developer options
Tap “Display cutout.”
Tap “Hide.” Your notch should now be hidden by a black bar.
We suggest giving this a shot just to see how you feel about the black bar look. It’s not terrible, to be fair, and definitely hides the notch, but it’s also a bit of a monkey’s paw solution, isn’t it? After all, the notch is annoying because it intrudes into your screen, and losing more of your display to notification and system icons seems like a crummy compromise.
If you absolutely must have that extra space (and we don’t blame you if you do), here are some apps that will remove the notch and reclaim that extra screen real estate.
Hide the notch with an app
While there are many apps that can do this, the most widely recommended is Nacho Notch. It does basically the same thing as the stock Android solution by hiding the notch with a black bar, but with the crucial difference of keeping your battery, network, notifications, and all other system tray info displayed within the black bar next to the notch, which keeps your screen unobstructed. It also makes those system icons easier to see, since they are more starkly contrasted against the pure black bar obfuscating the notch.
To hide the notch with Nacho Notch, download the app from the Google Play Store, then load it from your app screen. Follow the setup instructions (the app will need certain permissions in order to work).
Once installed, you’ll be able to turn the notch on and off, and you can even add a toggle to your quick settings menu for easy access. The only thing to note is that Nacho Notch can only hide the notch while the phone is unlocked—your lock screen will still have the notch displayed.
The app also works with other Android phones afflicted by obtrusive notches - click here to learn more.