Is System UI A Spy App Or Not?

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System UI is not a spy app or a virus. It is a system application that enables you to control or customize your smartphone’s user interface (UI). The System UI app is vital for running your Android device efficiently.

Have you ever seen System UI in the list of your installed applications and thought it was a spy app? One of my friends did. His Android phone was working slowly, so he opened the list of installed apps to uninstall a few. Not being very tech savvy, he thought System UI was spyware. But is that true?

Is System UI A Spy App?

Many people consider System UI spyware because most spy apps use generic system application names to stay hidden from the target user. For instance, the mSpy app uses the dummy name “Update Service” when installed on the target device. But you can also find out if someone is tracking your phone using mSpy or any other spy app.

This is what got my friend confused. I used mSpy to monitor my nephew’s phone and discussed how useful it was with my friend, so he knew that spyware apps use such dummy names. That’s why when he saw System UI in his app list, he thought it was a spy app.

However, System UI is not a spy app or a virus. According to BrowserStack, a cross-browser testing tool platform, System UI is a system application vital to user experience. In the simplest terms, it is everything you see in the Android system user interface when not using any specific application.

You will find this application on any device running on the Android operating system because running the Android system UI efficiently is vital. You won’t find it on Apple devices, as iPhones don’t have System UI.

Another thing confirming that System UI is not spyware is that it does not ask for access to your data. A spy app usually asks permission to access contacts, applications, messages, and other data.

This means that System UI is not a spy app and does not risk your privacy.

Is There Any Spy App Named System UI?

As I mentioned, spyware apps use generic system names like “Update Service,” “System Update Service,” “Play Services,” “Sync Services,” etc. In fact, according to an article from TechCrunch, a global online newspaper focusing on technology and startup companies, several spyware apps were also found to be using names like “Device Health.”

I have used several spy apps over the last couple of years, but I’ve never seen any prominent spy app using System UI as its generic name.

There is one catch that you should be aware of, though. My friend who saw System UI in his apps list told me that he had never seen it listed with the apps before that instance. So I told him that you will only see System UI if you enable the option to see system apps in the apps list. Any Android device user can enable the “Show System” option to find all the system apps installed on the phone.

How To Find System Apps Installed On Your Android Phone

Given below are the steps to find system apps installed on your Android phone. I am using a Realme Narzo 50A for the screenshots.

  1. Open the Settings app and click on “App Management.”
    The interface may differ based on what device you are using.
App management option in the Android smartphone settings
  1. As you can see in the below screenshot, there’s no System UI mentioned in the list between the StepSetGo and Telegram apps
System UI missing from the list of installed apps
  1. Next, I tap on the three vertical dots in the top right corner and select the option to “Show System.”
Show system option in the menu to show system apps
  1. This time I can see the System UI app in the apps list between the StepSetGo and Telegram apps.
System UI showing in the list of apps

This means that if you see System UI, even when you don’t select the “Show System” option, there might be something to worry about. Another place to look to confirm if the System UI on your phone is spyware is the app drawer. System apps don’t appear in the app drawer.

The app drawer is where you see all the installed apps on your smartphone’s user interface. You can refer to the below screenshot for this.

App drawer on Android smartphone

If you can see System UI along with other apps in the app drawer, it is likely a spy app.

What Is System UI Tuner And How To Use IT?

According to MUO, a global online technology publication, System UI Tuner is a tool introduced by Google In Android 6 Marshmallow and Android 7 Nougat. This system app enables users to customize various UI aspects, including the status bar, ambient display, etc.

It was discontinued from Android 8, but fortunately, I was able to check it out on one of my friend’s phones. He read about it on a website and asked me to help him customize his phone’s status bar. In my opinion, it was very easy to change what appears on the status bar based on my friend’s preference.

If you use an Android device with OS version 6 or 7, here’s how to access System UI Tuner:

  1. Slide down the notification bar to access the quick settings panel.
  2. Press and hold the settings icon for a few seconds.
Gear icon at the top right corner
  1. You will receive a notification that System UI is enabled.
    If you don’t see the confirmation message, your phone does not have the System UI Tuner tool.
Message showing, System UI tuner has been added to settings

You can also refer to this YouTube video to see how to access System UI Tuner:

If you use a phone running on Android 9 or later, you can still access System UI Tuner for display customization. Here are the steps to use System UI Tuner with Android 9 or higher.

  1. Download the System UI Tuner Android app from Google Play Store.
  2. Launch the app.
System UI tuner app main page
  1. Tap on the “Status Bar” option.
    This will include all the options that can go on your phone’s status bar. You can enable or disable these options to customize the system’s user interface.
Available options in the System UI tuner app
  1. The other option available is Do Not Disturb.
    This has only one option in it, which is “Volume Buttons Shortcut.” This means when you keep pressing the volume down even when it is zero, it will enable the “Do Not Disturb” mode.
Toggle button to turn on volume buttons shortcut


What Is System UI App Used For?

System UI app is used for changing a device’s user interface. Google allows developers to change a phone’s UI based on their requirements. For instance, if a developer wants to hide the navigation bars when a user turns on fullscreen mode, he or she can do so.

Is It Safe To Delete System UI?

It is not safe to delete System UI. If you disable the system UI, you may face challenges with the Android user experience. It will also reset any UI customization you have enabled for your phone.

Is System UI A Spy App – Final Verdict

In my opinion, most non-tech-savvy individuals often consider system apps like System UI or CofigAPK to be spy apps. But as we discussed in this article, System UI is not spyware. Instead, it is an essential app that handles the user interface of a device.

However, if you have doubts, check if System UI shows in the app drawer or ask permission to access your phone’s data. If any of these is true, System UI can be spyware.

If you have any questions on this topic, please write them in the comments.

About The Authors

  • Kailash Vaviya

    Kailash Vaviya is a freelance writer who started writing in 2019 and has never stopped since then as he fell in love with it. He has a soft corner for technology and likes to read, learn, and write about it. His content is focused on providing information to help build a brand presence and gain engagement. You can connect with him on: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

  • Jenn Peters

    Jenn Peters is an experienced content manager and editor who holds a degree in English and certifications in Social Media Marketing and Copywriting from the College of Media and Publishing. She has been working for TechUntold since 2018. In addition, Jenn works as a content editor for Valnet across 7 company sites, publishing numerous articles weekly. Connect with Jenn on LinkedIn.

Photo of author

Kailash Vaviya

Kailash Vaviya is a freelance writer who started writing in 2019 and has never stopped since then as he fell in love with it. He has a soft corner for technology and likes to read, learn, and write about it. His content is focused on providing information to help build a brand presence and gain engagement. You can connect with him on: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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