Hide Back-Button-Bar of AlienDalvik

How to Hide the Back-Button-Bar at the Bottom of the Alien-Dalvik-Implementation shipped with the Payed SailfishOS Xperia X (Compact) Version?

Im using just 3 Android Apps that doesn´t use or need a Back-Button, so i like to use it in Fullscreen-Experience like native Sailfish-Apps.

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Yes, agree. This would be fine as an option in AD settings.


There is the little tool Hide/Unhide android navigation bar, which does exactly what you want (though it is currently unmaintained). But it needs Aliendalvik Control, which also is unmaintained and stopped working with some SailfishOS 4.x release.

Fixing the “Hide Android back-button” tool should be easy (if it needs any fixing), because it is quite simple, but first fixing “Aliendalvik Control” requires much more know-how.

It is sad that a couple of very useful and really nice tools have stopped working, because the amount of people willing to spend some of their spare time developing and maintaining tools (in contrast to apps) for SailfishOS seems to be diminishing in the last couple of years.


So no easy dbus-command or config-file-edit to get rid of the for me useless back-button-bar?

Android’s back-button seemed to be completely useless for me too, many years ago, but I then discovered that quite a lot of Android apps need it, many of these only in certain situations (e.g., to get out of configuration pages).

While you may analyse aforementioned Patch and it will likely be not much more than some “dbus-command or config-file-edit”, that does not make one happy in the long run.

BlackBerry 10 had a gesture ( swipe accross one of the lower corners of the screen) doing the same as Android back button. Hence in its UI there was officially an option to hide that button and enjoy a full screen experience in Android apps. I wish SFOS had the same.

With newer Android-Versions (10+) the Back-Button is obsolete while replaced by swipe-gestures, so no big deal here.

Please think of this: the more buttons are replaced by gestures, the more gestures have to be learned, remembered and performed more exactly by the (poor) user. A button on the screen remembers the user for the available options in the current screen.

2nd: this gestures have to be recognized correctly by the OS. It’s boring if the user frequently has to struggle with misinterpreted gestures and have to go back (if possible) and try again.

3rd: There are people who complain about using the phone with one hand is difficult. This problem would become worse if more gestures are necessary to operate the phone.

So I vote against replacing buttons by gestures. I suggest an option in Settings/Gestures: ‘Do you prefer gestures or buttons to control apps’, with 2 options.

This way, both, the gesture fans and the tapping fans could have what they prefer.

In fact you have he choice between on screen buttons and swipes for OS navigation in modern Android.
Main problem for SFOS would be the conflict between the edge swipes used in Android and the native edge swipes (if at some point the Android version reaches the required version)

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While everything have its pro and cons, i like the way SailfishOS offers the complete Screen-Space to your App which was one of the big reasons for me to leave Android for SailfishOS.

Are any of hose gestures supported by SFOS’ Aliendalvik? I’m afraid they’re not.

Well implemented gestures simply do work. The BB10 (BlackBerry 10) OS was entirely gesture-based and I don’t remember having to struggle with any of its gestures. They simply worked. In fact, much better than on SFOS.

The BB10 swipe for the Android back button was “actoss one of its bottom corners”, i.e. the gesture was a straight line forming a triangle with screen edges, close to either left or right corner. Quite unique, not conflicting with anything else, and at the same time simple and quick enough to do.

In portrait mode of the currently supported bananaphones, the small bottom bar with the back button is not a serious problem. But in landscape mode it could be one.
(fortunately my few Android apps are better useable in portrait mode, so i need no landscape mode when running Android apps.)

Actually when I turn my phone to landscape mode, the android back button remains at the same place

The last remaining Android-Apps (Synology DS-Note and DS-File) i need to use have their own “Back Buttons”, so no need or worry about a second Back-Button for me.

Wait until libgbinder 1.1.28 arrives (many thanks to @slava for updating binder-call utility) to SFOS.

Then run on SFOS device:
$ binder-call -o -a -d /dev/puddlejumper window 14 '{ 0 0 0 0 -145 }'
(play with last argument -145 number for adjusting proper value for your device, for position-reset use 0).

Tested on aliendalvik with android 10 support. Seems like setOverscan (transaction #14 used in binder-call above) was removed in android-11 so we’ll need to find another solution if/when aliendalvik moves to android11.


Thanks for this for me very valuable hint. In the meantime i was able to replace DS Note with the genious Foil-Notes, by Softlinking the Jolla-Notes-SQL-Database to my mounted NAS, also the Encrypted Foil-Notes on my NAS. In theory i can also get rid of DS File, because the NAS is mounted and i build me a Photo/Screenshot/Video-Backup-Script. But then for my WOrk i need the Lenovo PC Diagnostic Android-App, which running good even with the old Android-Support of my X Compact.

But anyway its good to have this option.

@ litew I will mark your Post as Solution, if i have successfully enabled it on release.

This post is a few month old but @litew could you point out where to find this binder-call? I found binder-add in terminal under root or not. And is this still working?

It’s on SailfishOS device at /usr/bin/binder-call (available after installing package named “libgbinder-tools”). Unfortunately, this method doesn’t work anymore on SFOS since Aliendalvik moved to Android 11 version in this release. I’ll try to find another solution.


Do you have any news about this topic? I’m trying to hide this ugly back button in Android 11 but still no luck :frowning: