Notch haters of the world certainly had one more thing to complain about yesterday, as Google confirmed the XL version of the new Pixel 3 would include a cutout at the top of the screen to accommodate the phone’s two front-facing cameras and sensors.
But in a tweet yesterday, the Made by Google account noted that the notch could be hidden if you “prefer a more traditional smartphone look”.
Replying to Twitter user @mo7ammad_uj’s question about hiding the Pixel 3 XL’s notch — as competing devices such as the Xiaomi Pocophone F1 allow — Google’s account points out that it is indeed an option in Android Pie, although one currently only available inside a hidden Developer Options page.
For people who prefer a more traditional smartphone look, we’ve added an option to hide the display cutout (the notch).
— Made by Google (@madebygoogle) October 9, 2018
The option will certainly make some potential Pixel 3 buyers happy, and we’ve reached out to Google to find out if the disappearing act will eventually be made more readily available to consumers, but the phone’s camera lenses and speakers up there aren’t really going anywhere.
Instead, with the option turned on, the small sections of screen on either side of the notch simply get blacked out, creating a large bar that runs all the way across the top of the display.
Notch on, notch off. Current Android P developer option, which isn't new. Not sure yet if the option Google has confirmed is this, or some kind of user-facing setting that will put time/date/notifs up there. pic.twitter.com/4cpebmUoYq
— Stephen Hall (@hallstephenj) October 10, 2018
Whether those areas will always be lost screen real estate, or could one day be used to show status icons, is unclear. But users testing the developer option have found Android Pie’s clock and other icons are simply pushed down and placed below the added black bar.