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Immersive Mode was one of the cooler features introduced in Android KitKat Android 4.4 Is Out: 6+ Reasons You And Your Non-Techie Friends Should Care Android 4.4 Is Out: 6+ Reasons You And Your Non-Techie Friends Should Care Android KitKat is out, and there's no way you've missed it. But should you care? Why, yes, yes you should. Read More , but it was only introduced for certain apps. Now you can get Immersive Mode across all your apps if you’re running Android 4.4 KitKat or later, and it doesn’t require root access. (Though it is just one of many great KitKat features you can get on any device Don't Wait: 5 Great Android KitKat Features You Could Get Right Now Don't Wait: 5 Great Android KitKat Features You Could Get Right Now A few of KitKat's coolest features are available right now, either through official APKs or third-party apps. Read More .)

Care to learn how? Read on.

What Is Immersive Mode?

Immersive Mode simply hides the status bar and navigation bar when not in use. This allows for a more immersive experience while in the app, maximizing your screen real estate and reducing distractions.

immersive-mode-1

Above, you can see the difference between an app operating in regular mode (left) and Immersive Mode (right). Notice that you can read further into the article with Immersive Mode, but also take note of the red line — we’ll discuss that later.

Your status bar is the bar along the top of your screen that shows the time, your battery life, and your notifications. The navigation bar, however, runs along the bottom of your screen and is only present on some devices. Most Samsung devices, like the Galaxy S5 Samsung Galaxy S5 Review and Giveaway Samsung Galaxy S5 Review and Giveaway The S5 can no longer be considered brand-new -- but it is Samsung's flagship, at least for the next few months. Read More , have hard keys that are below the screen, so they don’t use the navigation bar.

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Other devices like the Nexus 5 Google Nexus 5 Review and Giveaway Google Nexus 5 Review and Giveaway Approximately a year after Google released the Nexus 4, the company behind Android has come out with its successor -- the Nexus 5. Read More or LG G3 LG G3 Review and Giveaway LG G3 Review and Giveaway Read More  don’t have hard keys, and instead rely on the navigation bar for the Home, Back, and Multitasking options. For more on the differences between Android devices, see our explanation of Android skins Android Skins Explained: How Do Hardware Makers Change Stock Android? Android Skins Explained: How Do Hardware Makers Change Stock Android? Hardware makers like to take Android and morph it into something that is entirely their own, but is this a good or a bad thing? Take a look and compare these different Android skins. Read More .

Using Immersive Mode In All Apps

The app that gets this all done is called GMD Full Screen Immersive Mode, and it’s available as a free download in the Google Play Store. Head over there, download it, and you’re ready to go.

It will warn you once you first open it that your keyboard might not function while the navigation bar is hidden. In some cases, you’ll need to summon the navigation bar for the keyboard to work.

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Then you will be presented with four options: General, Trigger, Applications, and Upgrade. General should be your first stop. Here, you can decide if you want a persistent notification, if you want the app to start when your device boots up, and if you want it to affect the lockscreen.

Three buttons run along the top of the app on all screens, and they are for setting your level of Immersive Mode. The icon to the left with bars along the top and bottom represents no change — your status bar and navigation bar will stay where they are. The second option keeps the status bar but auto-hides the navigation bar. The third option allows you to hide both the status bar and navigation bar.

The biggest downside here is that these settings apply system-wide, across all your apps. To customize the settings on a per-app basis and adjust other aspects of the app, you’ll need the Pro version.

Unlocking More Features

The Pro version of GMD Full Screen Immersive Mode costs $2.70, and is available as an in-app purchase. This unlocks the ability to change settings on a per-app basis. Under the Applications section, you can set specific apps to open either in Immersive Mode, partial Immersive Mode (just the navigation bar hidden), or normal mode.

immersive-mode-3

Under the Trigger section, you can change several options as shown above. These allow to you customize the trigger area so that it is small enough to stay out of the way while big enough to hit easily. Remember that red line from earlier? It’s back.

Below, you can see the red line that you have to deal with in the free version. When the navigation bar drops down, the red line stretches along the bottom of your screen, and tapping on it will toggle Immersive Mode. To make it a different color or invisible requires the Pro version.

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The fact that the Pro version is required to make the trigger area transparent is a bummer, but as the only app of its kind, the developer is able to ask for that. All other ways of enabling Immersive Mode so far (like flashing a custom ROM How to Find and Install a Custom ROM for Your Android Device How to Find and Install a Custom ROM for Your Android Device Android is super customizable, but to fully take advantage of that, you need to flash a custom ROM. Here's how to do that. Read More ) have required root access, but this one is available to non-rooted users.

What Do You Think Of Immersive Mode?

Immersive Mode, while it can be extremely handy, isn’t for everyone. It does seem to be sticking around, though, for the release of Android Lollipop Nexus 6, 9, Player, and Android Lollipop: Everything You Need To Know Nexus 6, 9, Player, and Android Lollipop: Everything You Need To Know It's official: Android 5.0 Lollipop is here and is bringing with it three new devices: the Nexus 6, Nexus 9, and Nexus Player. Here's a comprehensive rundown of all the new hardware and software. Read More in the coming weeks.

Is Immersive Mode something you like to use regularly on your device?

Image Credits: Hands hold the pin Via Shutterstock

  1. Larry Kemp
    July 5, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    So you are saying with a home keys navigation app I can have another full screen going say Facebook and video is recording the entire time totally unknown and unseen.

  2. James V
    March 13, 2016 at 10:03 pm

    Love it :-)

  3. Tony Klik
    November 26, 2015 at 5:19 am

    I only need it for when I'm either swiping photos on the internet or saving banking receipts so this is just what i want. Will download and post results for my Samsung S5. Thanks

  4. Nithin Chandra
    May 16, 2015 at 1:31 am

    is there any app so that it makes these bars transparent not completely immersing them.?

    • newfairway
      June 4, 2015 at 5:31 am

      Not without rooting (as far as I know). If you root you can install Xposed Framework and then install a module called Tinted Translucent Statusbar. Using that you can make the statusbar and navbar transparent.

  5. Angel
    April 9, 2015 at 8:06 am

    Hi i just purchsed the pro version and unfortunately my nav bar doesnt disappear,i see the the red line but the bar is still there.
    Please advise
    Pipo P1 ,4.4.2

    • newfairway
      June 4, 2015 at 5:34 am

      Have you changed the settings accordingly? If you have and it still doesn't work you should e-mail the app developer.

  6. Alan
    April 3, 2015 at 10:49 am

    Fantastic app. Glad I found this article :)

    App works perfectly on un-rooted Nexus 4. Dam shame google forced the nav buttons on the UI. With nav button on the Nexus 4 screen looks a whole lot smaller than the same sized HTC One X screen with capacitative buttons.

  7. Erick
    March 23, 2015 at 11:02 am

    Doesn't work correctly on my Note 4. Status bar text disappears but I'm left with a blank notification bar that will not go away, meaning screen real estate does not increase. Bummer :(

  8. bandar togel online
    February 4, 2015 at 11:33 am

    the best root aplication , must try this

    • Justin Dennis
      February 18, 2015 at 1:27 am

      awesome! glad you like it. :D

  9. Isaac
    November 15, 2014 at 12:14 am

    There's a way to do this without a rooted device, and you can choose when it is on and off, but not per app. You simply enable it through a gesture. It's an app called all in one gestures.

    • Justin Dennis
      February 18, 2015 at 1:26 am

      cool, thanks for mentioning that!

  10. Eric
    November 13, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    this does require a rooted device, it says it immediately as soon as you launch it.

    • randall
      December 14, 2014 at 8:14 pm

      This doesn't require root. I have note edge no root. And it works.

  11. ZoNi
    November 13, 2014 at 8:19 am

    I prefer to see notification bar ALL the time (only time when I don't want to see it is when watching movies or pictures - but than it goes away anyway ;) ).

    • Justin Dennis
      February 18, 2015 at 1:25 am

      yeah, that's fair. :) a lot of people are like that. guess it just comes down to personal preference.

  12. john fu
    November 13, 2014 at 4:27 am

    it is nice to have, my Moto X 2 working fine, LG G3 already have it from factory

    • Justin Dennis
      February 18, 2015 at 1:24 am

      nice! yeah both very cool phones. :D

  13. Moin
    November 12, 2014 at 6:10 am

    Why would I use immersive mode? It will just use RAM on my phone. And will drain battery faster than any other app as it runs continuously.

    • Justin Dennis
      February 18, 2015 at 1:24 am

      i mean, yeah, if you prioritize those things, then might not be the best choice. I just really enjoy immersive mode and my phone as the space to handle it.

  14. jonen560ti
    November 10, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    The Shield Tablet comes with full immersive mode out of the box. Why wont other manufacturers follow suit?

    • Justin Dennis
      February 18, 2015 at 1:23 am

      probably just a personal preference thing. not everyone loves immersive mode. :P

  15. Tammy Jessup
    November 10, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    Not compatible with AT&T Samsung Note 3 running KitKat 4.4.2. :-(

    • best root apps
      November 28, 2014 at 5:10 pm

      yes,You're right

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