Most Android devices and ROMs these days include some kind of support for displaying the battery percentage in the status bar, but not stock Android. For whatever reason, Google has neglected this very basic feature – until now. Android 4.4 on the Nexus 5 includes a battery percentage display option, but it's pretty buried and far from an ideal implementation.

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You can enable this hidden feature (without root) on the Nexus 5 using the following ADB shell command:

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

adb reboot

After the device reboots, you'll have a battery percentage indicator, but it's inside the battery icon and the digits are white. Yes, that means you can only see the number when the gauge gets fairly low – in the mid-40s or so. If the ADB thing isn't up your alley, an XDA member has thrown together an app that can do the same thing, and just like the above, no root is required.

2013-11-11 06.00.32 2013-11-11 06.00.43

This really feels like an unfinished feature. The fact that there isn't even a toggle in the developer options bears that out. Still, the code is there. I can only hope Google makes this a real option with a future OTA.

[AusDroid, XDA]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • Jadephyre

    Nice effort... hope they make this a standard feature some day.
    Hopefully they'll change the font color to black though ;)

    • Bazar6

      They'd have to make it change to white after 40% though... That's probably why it isn't a finished feature yet..

      • Jadephyre

        True enough. They could also make it dual-colored. You know, the part that's still stuck in the white part of the battery could be made black.
        No idea if that wouldn't look too jarring though, i'm still on 4.3 and use a ThemeChooser theme ;)

        • Bazar6

          That would be fantastic

        • turdbogls

          or, you know, choose a color right in between black and the white/light gray of the icons....like a medium/dark gray. :O

          • DJTEN23

            ¿Porque no los dos?

          • paxmos

            How about...text only??

          • anthony909

            Exactly, I used to run CM 10 on my Evo and I had the option to just have a text display only. The battery image is honestly kind of useless.

          • Nathaniel Webb

            #808080 FTW

      • gelatinguy

        Why would they need to do that? The battery icon's background is gray. You can see black on white or gray. Ideally it would be a punch out though, as the black bar on top might change color and they'd want their icons to work universally.

  • Sean

    Hoping this will come with the rumored 4.4.1 update.

    • http://twitter.com/anishbhalerao Anish Bhalerao

      Oh wow, 4.4.1!!!
      Oh well, I'm still "stuck" on 4.3 on my Nexus 4. Almost feel like a Galaxy Note 2 user. 😢

      • jibust

        Doubt it, my battery actually lasts me a whole day ;)

        • http://wishu-blog.net/ Marco (Wishu) Kaiser

          YMMD :D

  • Gary s

    Ive stock 4.3 on i9300 with that ?

    • Felix Klein

      Then it isn't stock -__-

    • http://blog.artesea.co.uk/ artesea

      Samsung have had the feature for years, along with drag at the top of the screen to get the status bar during games, but then Samsung isn't stock.

      • Gary s

        I ment I didn't change from stock

        • Mat Sadler

          you've never had stock on an i9300, unless you rooted it and put it on, which I doubt you have.

          • Gary s

            Ive always called it stock unless I was was running omega etc ah well lesson learned

          • Mat Sadler

            yeah well it's stock samsung I suppose. Just not stock android.

        • http://blog.artesea.co.uk/ artesea

          Touchwiz ≠ Stock

          • http://wishu-blog.net/ Marco (Wishu) Kaiser

            It’s Stock for Samsung Phones.

      • Roh_Mish

        Although samsung roma are full of bloat, therr are some minor but good extras like this.

    • Jadephyre

      Samsung's touchwiz can't be referred to as "stock" as that only applies to barebones AOSP ROMs ;)

  • Jeff718

    I think it's fine that the font is white. Don't really need battery percent until it's lower anyways. Although I understand you might want to track battery status above 50%, so it's not an ideal situation.

  • Gary s

    Are Samsung doin custom roms now that I dont no about ??? In 4.3 go settings battery scroll down and tell me what u see

    • Mat Sadler

      yes samsung do custom ROMS.

    • Guest

      yes samsung do custom ROMS

      • Gary s

        Is that in saying they all do since they all add something to there phones to make them different

        • Mat Sadler

          yes. They all take AOSP and shove their own bloat/features on there to make it their own and differentiate from other manufacturers/try and get you to use their services instead of googles.

          In fact, I believe the nexus 5 rom is custom too, as some features on it won't be available to other devices (like the nexus 4 and 7). probably.

    • SetiroN

      LOL seriously?

    • usaff22

      Did you even read what he wrote? FACEPALM

  • Qbancelli

    I did this 6 days ago. Almost useless in my opinion.

  • futurejohn

    Wow, your battery is dropping like a rock. 21% in 29 minutes?

    • Gary s

      Yep I downloaded vice city and watched some videos but yes since 4.3 my batt not great at all :(

    • http://rootzwiki.com/news Max M.

      Do ya think maybe he purposely drained the battery so he could make the post without having to wait hours?

  • DirkBelig

    Because they changed the way battery stats are accessed, apps like GSam Battery Monitor are broken in KitKat, but I found that Battery Widget Reborn (Beta) (<<---that's clickable) puts a percentage readout on the notification bar. It doesn't do much more than open the battery page, but it does have a useful Nighttime Mode where you can shut down your wifi etc while you're sleeping.

    • andy_o

      I use Battery Monitor Widget which purports to also track mA usage, but in the N5 (which it was updated to support) it's giving me suspiciously high readings of like 200~400mA in sleep mode. On the N4 and N10 it seemed accurate.

      • ins0mn1a

        hm, a couple of days ago i charged my N5 during the day/evening and didn't plug it in when i went to bed. it must have been around 90% at that time. in the morning the battery was almost completely drained. it actually did consume on average 200mA. i would say there is something wrong with power consumption on N5, especially in standby mode. many people reported inconsistent battery behavior. i really hope this is something that can be fixed.

        • andy_o

          Today it settled on around 40-50 FWIW.

          • ins0mn1a

            yep. inconsistent. some days it behaves just like it should, and other times it just gets drained seemingly doing nothing. to say that that's annoying is an understatement.

    • Simon Belmont

      I've been using Battery Widget Reborn (PRO) for a while. It works the same as it did for previous versions of Android.

      The only thing I'd like to see change is the holo blue change to the white color to match KitKat, now. Hopefully we'll see an option for that in a future update.

  • RJ

    Just for the record, my galaxy S4 has this option stock. It's not in the battery like this but right next to it. My favorite tweak!

    • brararsh

      Really?? You are a genius!!

  • TheSparks

    I've always thought when Google will introduce such a basic feature in its OS

  • Christopher Bement

    I actually like this. It teaches you to stop fucking looking at your battery percentage when it's not an issue. I stopped using percents in custom roms just to keep myself from worrying about it.

    • John Smith

      agreed. battery exact percentage is distracting and unreliable anyway. and it causes unnecessary stress in your life.

      • ltredbeard

        I like the percentage, but I also don't let it stress me out.

        • Joseph Cascio

          Exactly! I does the opposite for me. Seeing it drain two percent every hour or so gives me peace of mind. I can perfectly gauge my battery life. Right at this moment I'm at 66% with 1h44m screen on time, and 17h30m on battery time. Because I know the exact percent I know that I won't need to charge until tomorrow night. I'm at peace.

          • bat_tery

            Fill us in on the percentage status of you getting laid before the end of 2013... time's running out.

          • Joseph Cascio

            You must have alot of friends.

      • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

        "unnecessary stress and anxiety"? yikes, what about people who just like to see it and who aren't neurotic?

      • JerseyShoreIntrovert

        I read that in George Constanza's voice.

        • John Smith

          You know, we're living in a society!

  • Adie

    Well I doubt if many people will use stock ROMs on a Nexus so its not a deal breaker

    • Nick

      Quite the fallacy there. Many people buy Nexus devices specifically so they CAN use stock roms.

      • Adie

        Or Maybe the good development it offers in terms of custom ROMS as it is supposed to be a developer phone.

        • TheFluffyOne

          You might be surprised how many people buy Nexus devices so that they get the Google/AOSP experience rather than the skinned manufacturer UI.

          You're undoubtedly right that a lot of people buy Nexus devices so that they can flash custom ROMs; just don't underestimate the number that are happy with stock.

          An interesting poll (though probably skewed due to the Nexus 5 only being released very recently):


          And one for the Nexus 4 that, sadly, has only a very small sample size:


          • Adie

            Well I have a Nexus 4 and I think Stock roms are pretty stupid. No offense to anyone. But I like to have the freedom to customize my status bar, lockscreen and stuff.

          • Paul Taylor

            ...all of which can be done without flashing a custom ROM. I don't have any problem with custom ROMs, but I wouldn't say the stock N4 ROM is "stupid".

          • TheFluffyOne

            I have owned many Android phones and tablets right from the T-Mobile G1. Over the years I've installed countless custom firmwares to correct things that Android lacks. Since ICS, I found that there just weren't any major issues for me that warranted the use of a custom firmware. I currently have a Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7, and an Asus TF300 all on stock firmware and I'm more than happy with them all.

            Obviously you want features and behaviours that the stock firmwares don't provide, and of course that's cool. The great thing about the Nexus devices is that they get the latest versions of Android. And when Google stops releasing updates for a particular model, I know that I have the option to flash custom firmware and that will probably keep the device going for another few years.

            The key, I think, is to understand that although you think something is 'stupid', don't assume that there aren't many other people who are quite happy with it.

        • Paul Taylor

          That was several years ago. Now it's the flagship phone for demonstrating the stock ROM experience.

        • remister

          You think people get Nexus' for the price point *sarcasm*

    • duse

      I buy Nexus devices specifically so I don't have to use ROMs. When you think about it, the entire concept of them is pretty ridiculous. Putting software that is most of the time not even alpha quality on a device you depend on everyday. Software that was just checked in last night by some volunteers at home. Sure, eventually they release a stable build, but by that time the next version of Android is out and you're back to nightlies again. It's great that the option exists, I love that Android is open source, but I got pretty tired of spending countless hours on the forums, wiping/flashing, settings things up, etc. It's great to just set it up once and then forget about it for two years.

      A lot of things people feel they "need" to tweak, they really don't. You will get by just fine with the default quick settings tiles, or the default nav bar layout, etc. In the process of letting go of ROMs I learned to let go of my need to control every single minute aspect of the OS as well. Usually you can just learn/get used to the default way.

      With that said, there are always ways Android could be better, and it's genuinely exciting when the modding community accomplishes this. I'm increasingly interested in testing such things via Xposed/other root tweaks instead of a full blown ROM, just so I can keep my phone on stable, stock software.

  • Michael Nguyen

    That white on white doesn't look like it'll help

  • Cody Curry

    Now we just need an easy way to mod the Holo Blue color back into the navigation bar.

    • Bazar6

      I'm sure we'll be able to once the Theme Chooser is implemented in to custom Roms

    • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

      lol, there really is no accounting for taste...

  • Bluewall

    I should be the only one who likes to not have a percentage showing in my status bar. When I have it I'm like :
    "Omg already 97%"
    "Shit shit shit 94%"

    With the picture only I'm less stressed :D and if I really need to know, I just pull down the notification shade.

    Yep. I'm weird.

    • Paul Taylor

      LOL actually you're probably in the majority. But it's handy when you're actually investigating battery drainage though.

      • Bluewall

        But it's not that accurate. 100 to 90 and 20 to 00 goes down way faster than 50 to 40 :p

        • Besbes Souhaieb

          that's because of how batteries chemistry works
          it's perfectly normal

          • battery_university

            And that's why you shoud keep your battery in the 80 to 20 range.

          • Besbes Souhaieb

            but the problem it's very hard to do everyday

    • TY

      Weirld how I'm the complete opposite.

      Without the number I'm like:

      "OMG what's the percentage now *pulls down quick settings*"

      "Bored. *unlocks phone, pulls down quick settings*"

  • Or Carmi

    I use the wonderfull app Battery Overlay Percentage for that. Great app, tons of options (android 4.3+) https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.talaviram.overlaypercent

  • markotamcar

    Great. Now put the little network activity arrows back, too.

    • Simon Belmont

      This. I just noticed that today.

      You can see the activity in the quick settings, but that's a bit of a pain to check. You can't just quickly see if network activity is happening if you glance at the status bar.

      • markotamcar

        Yup :( I have no idea why they would remove this nor why they did it so silently.

        • Simon Belmont

          Hopefully Android 4.4.1 brings it back. I'm using Network Monitor Pro right now and like it, though.

          It's a good replacement and tells you the amount of data going up and down at any given moment. Good stuff.

  • vict90

    xda I love u

  • Simon Belmont

    Lol. Why couldn't they have just made this an option in an overflow menu under "Battery" settings? :D

    Also, why not just make the percentage have a black coloring against the white battery background? Another strange thing I noticed, today, is the Wi-Fi and RSSI don't show network activity anymore in the status bar (you can see it if you pull down the quick settings, though). :(

    • remister

      I am not sure why the Android team has changed this. I want to know if data is being sent and received properly!

      • Simon Belmont

        Me, too! It's something I always appreciated.

        I have no idea why they'd take it away. I'm using Network Monitor Pro, now, and I do like it a lot!

      • chosen one

        My guess is it's one of ways KitKat saves battery. The same reason the GPS icon no longer blinks when acquiring a lock. Constantly refreshing the status bar likely drains more than leaving it static. I liked the activity arrows too.

  • Whyzor

    I use an app "Notification Toggle" that is way more useful than the Stock Notfication settings/toggle. It has a feature to turn its service icon to report battery percentage. 2 birds with 1 stone.

  • Ashmedai ♔

    I wish the status bar was transparent throughout and the icon colours would change according to background like in iOS 7. :3

  • remister

    I like the visual aspect of the battery indicator. The numbers appear when the battery is getting midpoint, instead of showing all the time.

  • GreatNews

    xda has it as an app?

    • remister

      Yes, if you click on the XDA link at the bottom of the article, it will lead you to the APK.

      • GreatNews

        and when i use the app will i still need to to this?

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

        adb reboot

        • Crispin Swickard

          The app is so you don't have to do the adb command. Mine hasn't gotten low enough to verify it working yet though. XD

          • GreatNews

            ok thanks

        • remister

          Once you install the APK and enable the function, you can uninstall/remove it from your phone.

  • Toboe

    Dear Google, White Letters LOVE Black-outlining

    • Gabernasher

      especially on the ultra high res N5 screen.

  • Cat Astrophy

    how about just a % instead of a silly battery icon

  • Nathaniel Webb

    If we want to disable the feature, could we just set the bind value back to 0?

  • Mocke


  • Maher Salti

    So do you guys think Android 4.4 is saving battery life? opinions please.. I'm on 4.3 :)

    • Steph Chi

      Do you mean Android 4.4 or 2300mAh Nexus battery with a big HD screen ? ;-)

  • sam

    I do not know how google ignored this very basic feature all these years.

    This should be finalized and push to the stable build ASAP

  • steven sullivan

    didn't work for me.. error unsupported argument value :i:1

  • Kiran Parmar

    How about a bold-type text with black-borders but filled with white color on the inside? It solves issue of displaying on both white and black colors :)

  • saf

    Dont care battery %

  • Adi

    Does this thing work on all devices with KitKat (case in point Nexus 7?), or is the code Nexus 5 specific?

  • Daniel Grabowski

    Worked on my newly updated Verizon Moto X with KitKat. Thanks!

  • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

    Had updated my N4 to 4.4 this morning. Ran this adb command on it now and nothing failed. Battery is at 89% right now, so don't know if it worked or not.

  • Zohaib

    I`ve downloaded this and decided i liked my other battery percentage app better so i disabled the box and rebooted my phone, when my phone turned back on, the number was still showing so i deleted the apk and rebooted the phone again and still it shows the number. Help me get rid of it.