There is a really annoying bug in Android that makes your Home and Recents buttons disappear and prevents the notification shade from working. It only happens after flashing an OS update without wiping, but since I've now run into this issue at least 3 times after updating my Nexus devices, and it's a pain to find any info on how to fix it online, it's time for a quick post.

Specifically, I just flashed the updated LPV81C L preview build on top of LPV79 (again, I did it without wiping data - just open the flash-all script and remove "-w" to do so) and observed the Nexus 5 boot into this:


If the buttons disappear for you for the first time, you will be stumped. Confused. Mad. You will then try to reach out for your notifications, but you won't be able to. And you will likely just wipe data to fix it. But there's no need.

The Fix

The fix was found by the founder of MoDaCo Paul O'Brien back in 2013 when the same thing happened to the KitKat OTA. There is only one step, granted that you've enabled USB debugging and installed adb on your computer.

Fire up adb and run the following command:

adb shell am start -n com.google.android.setupwizard/.SetupWizardTestActivity

The phone will display the Welcome dialog where you select your language, then ask you to join Google Now, and finally go back to the home screen. At this point, your notification shade will work. The buttons, however, may still be missing. Don't fret - just reboot.

Ah, much better, isn't it?

wm_Screenshot_2014-08-07-14-15-45 wm_Screenshot_2014-08-07-14-16-10

Cheers to Paul O'Brien once again for root causing the bug and finding the missing piece of this puzzle.

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • siddude11


    asking behalf of million people.

    • Armando Rodriguez

      there's none.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Google Fit.

      That's it most likely.

      • Guest
        • siddude11

          lol i posted twice. how to remove

      • siddude11

        Damn :(

        • joser116

          I'm not sure how to feel about that image.

        • droid4lif3


      • http://droidagency.blogspot.com Vardan Nazaretyan

        Not updating then. :(


      Haha u lagdroids are always trying to fix your buggy phones

      • rapturecapture

        Wow there's a reason its in BETA TESTING you dense twat. Do you know what the point of beta testing is? The best way for an OS ecosystem like android to iron out bugs, lagging, and force closes before a final product is released to the public. Next time think and understand more before you make another ridiculous fanboy comment again

  • Steve Jobs

    Or you could just use a phone with pysical buttons, which won't disappear randomly.
    I know, it sounds crazy.

    • http://www.droid-life.com/ Steve B

      Die. Oh wait...

    • Gah

      Which is a waste of screen estate whenever you don't need the buttons. Do you still use a QWERTY phone?

      • PiLoT .

        most apps fullscreen over them now though

        • Gah

          That's just Google simplifying everything for the average retarded user. Retards don't like having options.

        • ash

          He was talking about physical button.


        Haha you waste 0.2" of your phones screen with on screen buttons and you still have a huge bottom bezel not to mention no fingerprint scanner wow you fandroids really are dumb

    • Mark Curtis

      I have never heard of a phone with 'pysical' buttons.

      • ash

        Oh you didn't heard of samsung? It has physical buttons.

        • Crispin Swickard

          More like 1 physical, and 2 capacitive... Weird choice.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          But not pysical.

          • ash

            I get it :P

    • Sergio Demoraes

      The bug involved physical buttons too. My phone's physical home and menu buttons just stopped working. Which is even more confusing.

    • alex

      Actually, physical buttons will be disabled just the same as non-physical one.

      *troll* They just are more uggly, not invicible or anything :D

    • mikedg

      Physical buttons stay there but stop working randomly.

  • schoentoon

    Thank you very much, I was having exactly this issue.

    • osm0sis

      Same. I originally dirty updated to the preview when it first came out and ran into exactly this. Annoyed, I wiped. Figured it was just something to do with it not being ready for OTA yet.

    • Thomas

      I managed to wipe mine first, oh well, wasn't really any much data on it since it was running L anyway.

  • Wesley Modderkolk

    I thought it was common knowledge that upgrading/switching versions without wiping can give issues?

    But then again, we just want to take the risk on it, just to not have to setup our devices again.

    • osm0sis

      It shouldn't though, because that's what OTAs do.

      • Wesley Modderkolk

        This isn't really an OTA though. afaik it's the same thing as the previous developer preview + Google fit. Imo it's pretty much like when flashing PA over OmniROM for example, could be the same android version, but still requires you to wipe the device.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          Technically, it is like an OTA, just without any scripts to handle the transition. But since it happened to even OTAs before, it was worth a mention. I bet we'll get comments from search engines here for months.

  • blindexecutioner

    Those are seriously the new icons? Google's original design team must have all shipped off to Facebook or something.

    • Sashank Narayan

      I thought the same, then got used to them pretty soon and kind of like them. They could've been much better though.

  • burdo

    any solution to this bug ? An app from the recent app menu will show up when closing another app by tapping the back button quickly..


    • tyguy829

      well this bug isn't in the L preview because there is no battery icon in the quick settings...

      • burdo

        It has nothing to do with the battery icon. That was just an example. It happens on every app

  • Luxferro

    It would be nice if they updated the ADT-1 to LPV81C as well, and maybe included the missing TV apks. Not that I am developing apps with mine, but I'm not sure how developers are expected to develop TV apks w/o the missing functions. You can't really test live tv applications in an emulator...

    It would be nice to test out SiliconDust's TV input app w/ their network tuners. And maybe give them some feedback.

  • Chris G


  • CuriousCursor

    Well looks like this might be slightly more than just a Google Fit update. The date doesn't show up when the notification shade is down on LPV79. It only shows up when you expand Quick Settings, but in your screenshot, it seems like they fixed that.

  • Pancake345

    The "-w" is an awesome tip, thanks!

  • Sergio DeMoraes

    Wow. Thank you! I ran into this and for the life of me could not figure it out.

  • Alan Shearer

    Happens to me somtimes is 4.4.2, turning the phone screen off and on fixes it everytime for me, seems to be a bug with some games and full screen immersion mode (looking at you clash of clans)

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      This has nothing to do with that though. The bug here is strictly about Android updates.

      • Alan Shearer

        Started after my phone was updated to 4.4 from 4.3

  • Romdude

    Or you could simply install a home button app using google play store if you have access to all apps using swipe pad or other shortcut launchers then fix it with the above fix.

  • Dentou

    If you don't have adb, creating an shortcut to SetupWizardActivity acomplish the same thing

  • SoKreemy

    might have to restart the device for this to work :)

  • http://whatsappforpc.us Whatsappforpc

    hope so it works

  • Abdulmlik

    Can Show a video for the Fix

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    This stopped working fully in Lollipop. There's a black screen that sits on top of the activity blocking everything, and I don't know how to get rid of it without wiping.

    • Simps

      Same here. I have bit the bullet and done a full wipe :(
      Ahh well least its a clean install now.
      I had the black screen and when you keep pressing the power button you could see something had crashed and waiting for you to tap 'Wait' or 'Restart'

    • Alvin Brinson

      I tried it too, and it does NOT work, despite some others claiming it does who obviously didn't try it.

  • Guest

    Gack... this would be useful... except that my device suddenly decided not to show up on ADB after the update also... ... even though ADB/usb debugging was working just fine before the update.

  • http://ww.evanrooijen.com/ Lefty
  • Petr Minařík

    Possible fix for missing buttons. I had the issue with black screen after upgrade. The solution was to boot to recovery and delete folder /data/data/com.android.systemui
    After that you need to restart the device TWICE (after first reboot, the buttons and notification bar will be missing). After that, everything is allright, no need to wipe :)

    • Petr Minařík

      guess it makes folders after first boot and fills them on the other one... so maybe if you delete only content, it will work right away