In case you are here to get the persistent search bar back, scroll to the bottom of the post.
I like to make use of as much screen space as possible on my Android home screen. But on stock Android there’s just one thing that used to annoy me: the persistent Google search bar, which used up the whole top row of my screen. And this applies to a very large amount of Android users out there. It doesn’t matter if you have a Nexus, Sony Xperia or any other Android device, you want more space for your apps on your home screen.
By removing the Google search bar on top of your screen you will get an additional row, which you can fill with your favourite apps or widgets.
There are four ways you can get rid of the persistent search bar: installing a custom Rom, installing Xposed Framework, using a custom Android launcher or completely disabling Google Now to delete Google’s search toolbar. Except for a few selected launchers, all other methods are completely free.
Before jumping into the different methods, make sure to check if you can actually just remove the toolbar like any other widget. To do that, press and hold on the Google search bar. If nothing happens, read on. If you see a tiny pop-up menu with an option to delete the widget, go ahead and press it. Problem solved.
Disabling Google Now (no root required)
WARNING – do not use this method on stock Android (for example, any Nexus device): Some users have experienced issues with this method running stock Android. If you are running stock Android without a custom launcher, this method might soft-brick your device. If this happened to you, please follow this guide on how to fix a soft-bricked Android device. Jboss found a great fix if this happened for you on a Nexus 5.
If you are currently using the Google Experience Launcher (GEL) you can simply disable Google Now to make the Search bar go away. Go to your Settings > Apps > swipe to the “ALL” tab > select “Google Search” > press “Disable”.
The only thing you need to do now is restart your device and the Search bar will be gone. However, doing so will disable one of the most useful Android features – Google Now. But don’t worry, there are other ways to accomplish the same result without losing your smart assistant.
If, after following the steps above, you will see a grey bar instead of the Google search bar, restart your phone. With this method, however, you won’t be able to use the space, which has previously been reserved for the search bar.
Using a custom launcher (no root required)
If you want to get the most out of your Android homescreen simply go to the Play Store and download the launcher you like most. A launcher is, basically, an app that lets you change the way your homescreen looks and how you interact with it. If you want to learn more about this, check out our post about the best Android launchers out there.
I, for example, use Nova Prime as my go-to launcher. If you are using Nova, go to your Nova settings > Desktop > Persistent Search Bar > None. That’s it.
If you are using another Android launcher, just check your settings and you will most likely find another way to remove the Google Search bar.
Using Xposed framework (root required)
If your Android device is rooted, there is a great way to get certain custom rom features without actually flashing a custom rom – Xposed framework. If you already have Xposed on your Android device, simply download the Xposed GEL Settings app from the Play Store and disable the Search bar in the settings. Works like a charm.
Using a custom ROM (root required)
Most customs come with the Google search bar on the top of your home screen per default. However, most custom ROMs allow you to remove the annoying Google Search bar by simply deleting it like you would delete any other homescreen widget. Pretty straightforward.
Restoring the Google Search Bar widget if missing
Now that you have successfully removed the bar and found yourself missing it, there are a few ways to get it back.
- If you have previously disabled it using one of the methods above, just trace the settings back to what they used to be
- Go to Settings > Apps > find Google Search > check if the app is enabled
- Long-press on home screen > Widgets > Google App 4×1 > place the widget where you want
If only the third method worked out for you and you happen to use a custom launcher, I recommend removing the widget’s margins by long-pressing the widget and selecting the Remove Margin option. This way you will be able to replicate the look of Google’s original search bar.
I see some of you are having troubles removing or getting the search bar back into its place. All of us would appreciate it, if you could mention your device and Android version, so we can all help each other out. If I see a solution that works for a certain device, I will make sure to include it here in the next update to the post!