How to Turn Off Android Phone Sensors

Use dev options to make a 'Sensors Off' toggle for an extra layer of privacy

What to Know

  • First, enable the toggle: Settings > System > Developer options > Quick settings developer tiles > Sensors Off.
  • Then turn it on: Swipe down from the top of the screen and tap Sensors Off.
  • It will immediately disable access to the mic, cameras, accelerometer, and more.

This article explains how to turn off sensors on Android by tapping a single button. It also explains what's affected when you do so.

How to Turn Sensors Off on Android

The quickest way to turn off all sensors at once is with Sensors Off, which is a toggle you can enable through developer options.

  1. Enable developer options. On some phones, this is done through Settings > About phone; tap Build number until you see a message that you're a developer.

  2. Go to Settings > System > Developer options > Quick settings developer tiles.

  3. Tap Sensors Off to enable that quick settings tile.

  4. Swipe down from the top of the screen, and tap Sensors Off.

    Android developer options with Quick Settings, Sensors off, and Sensors Off highlighted

    A quick way to see if the sensors are off without checking the toggle is to look for the horizontal symbol with a line through it. It's located at the top of the screen, on the same line as the battery life indicator and signal strength.

These steps were built using a Pixel phone running Android 12. Your device must have at least Android 10 installed for these steps to work. Learn how to check for updates on your Android phone to see if a new version of the OS is available.

What Does 'Sensors Off' Do?

Just as it sounds, toggling Sensors Off to the on position will activate this function, which turns off all sensors. This means the microphone, camera, accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity sensor, magnetometer, and more can't be accessed by the phone or your apps.

Here are some examples of what that means:

  • The Camera app will crash if you open it to take a picture or video, and other apps that need the camera might display an error.
  • Audio recording apps will "record" silence.
  • The Fit app will no longer be able to detect your heart rate.
  • The brightness level won't adjust automatically.
  • Apps like Google Maps won't know which way you're facing (you still need to turn off location services if you want to stop location tracking).
  • The lock screen won't automatically display when you turn the phone over to look at it.

You can still use your phone, though. Wi-Fi and mobile data will not be shut off, your keyboard will work essentially the same (aside from mic access), the speakers will still transmit audio, and all other apps unaffected by disabled sensors will work normally.

Of course, you're free to toggle sensors on and off at any time, as many times as you want. Immediately after tapping the toggle, the sensors stop (or start) reporting data to the system and apps. For example, if you're recording audio, and you toggle sensors on and off over and over again, the recording will show muted spaces each time the sensors were off.

FAQ
  • How do I turn off Safe Mode on an Android?

    To get out of Android Safe Mode, reboot the device; it should reboot into normal mode. If the device boots in safe mode, rebooting should restore it to normal mode.

  • How do I turn off Google Assistant on Android?

    To turn off Google Assistant on Android, say, "Hey Google, open Assistant Settings." Then, under All Settings, select General, and toggle Google Assistant off. Or, select Google > Account Services > Search, Assistant & Voice. Select Google Assistant > Assistant tab > Phone and tap on the Google Assistant slider to turn it off.

  • How do I turn off live caption on Android?

    To turn off live caption on Android, go to Settings > Accessibility > Live Caption. Tap the Live Caption slider to turn off the feature.

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