[Guide] How to disable the notch on the Pixel 3 XL

If you watched the live stream of the Google launch event on October 9th, you’d have immediately noticed that the Pixel 3 XL does indeed sport a notch on its 6.3-inch OLED display while the 5.5-inch Pixel 3 is entirely notch-free. It’s a trend that we first saw in the Android world with the Essential Phone, although its cutout is minuscule when compared to the in-your-face notch found on the 3 XL, which takes up a chunk of real estate.

For some, it simply doesn’t matter how many cameras the phone has or what fancy new tricks the software can perform, the presence of a notch may give cause to ponder on whether you should buy the Pixel 3 XL or not. This is especially true when the cutout is of such hefty proportions and when at first glance the option to disable it has been removed from Settings. But what if you hate the notch but really, really, want a Pixel 3 XL? Well, there is a way to disable the cutout on the Pixel 3 XL, join us after the break to find out how.

Before we get into the details, it’s best to lead with the caveat that disabling the notch on the Pixel 3 XL doesn’t result in quite the same result as it does on other phones with a notched display. Instead of keeping the notification icons either side of the notch and turning those sections black to help disguise the abomination, when you disable it on the Pixel 3 XL it moves the notifications down below the cutout in a straight line, as you can see in the image above. Essentially, this means that the areas to the left and right of the notch are pretty much useless.

For the moment at least, the option to disable the notch on the Pixel 3 XL is hidden in the Developer Options which you have to enable manually. While this isn’t user-friendly on Google’s part, all you have to do to disable the notch on your Pixel 3 XL is to follow the easy steps that we’ve laid out below.

  • Open up the Settings App
  • Scroll down to System and tap on About Phone

  • Scroll down to Build Number and tap on it seven times
  • You are now a Developer! (No, not really)

  • Tap the back button to re-enter the Settings menu again
  • Scroll down and select Developer Options

  • Scroll down and choose the Simulate a display without a cutout option within the Drawing section

  • Tap the Hide option and wait until the display re-draws itself without a notch
  • And that’s it!

You’ve just disabled the dreaded notch on your Pixel 3 XL, in a fashion. Keep an eye out for our upcoming guides and reviews of Google’s new Pixel 3 handsets, in the meantime, let us know in the comments below if you are going to disable the notch on your Pixel 3 XL or not.

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About the Author: Peter Holden

He's been an Android fan ever since owning an HTC Hero, with the Dell Streak being his first phablet. He currently carries a Pixel 2 XL, Huawei P20 Pro, and a Huawei MediaPad M5 (8.4) in his pockets and thinks nothing of lugging a 17-inch laptop around in his backpack. When not immersed in the world of Android and gadgets, he's an avid sports fan, and like all South Africans, he loves a good Braai (BBQ).

  • pda96

    The best way to get rid of the notch is NOT to buy this phone.

    • Nathan

      That doesn’t get rid of the notch, that gets rid of the entire phone. Yes, I would agree the notch is really large in comparison to other devices (why can’t Google respond positively to feedback and just give us what we all want instead of causing issues like this), but after using the phone for a while I don’t notice it as much as I thought I would. The UX of the phone outweighs the negative of the notch, but if you’d rather care about how it looks than how it acts, then by all means by an iPhone instead.

      • pda96

        I don’t understand your suggestion. So if I hate the notch, I should buy an iPhone, which also has a notch? There are lots of “notch-free” Android phones, you know.