How to Enable Soft Keys (Navigation Bar) on any Android Phone (4.0+)

If you don’t know what soft keys are, take a look at the picture below. Soft Keys were introduced in android with the first Android 4.0 (aka Ice Cream Sandwich) device, the Galaxy Nexus. The Galaxy Nexus did not feature any hardware buttons below the screen. It had only three hardware buttons viz. power and the volume rocker buttons. Even though the soft keys were introduced about three years back, most of the current devices running on Android 4.0 and above, come with hardware buttons and soft keys are disabled on them by default. But the soft keys or the navigation bar can be enabled easily by following the below steps.

Soft Keys

Before proceeding, you must know that following this procedure may render your phone inoperable (bricked state). This happens very rarely. Neither we nor the developer will be held responsible for any damage caused to your device in any case.

How to Enable Soft Keys:

Section 1: Pre-requisites

  • You need to have root access on your device.
  • Install Root Explorer or ES File Explorer or any file manager with which you can access the system partition. Below steps are given for Root Explorer.
  • Make sure your device is at least 70% charged to avoid complications during the process.

Section 2: Procedure

  • Open your preferred file manager and mount the system partition as read-write in stead of read only. Grant superuser access when it prompts.
  • Go to the system folder present in the root of file system. i.e the path- /system

root explorer

  • Now open the file  “build.prop” in any Text Editor. For Root Explorer users, long click on “build.prop” file and tap on “Open with Text Editor”. (Before editing this file, for a safety, copy this file to the external memory card and save as a backup.)


  • Now add the following line to this file at the end:
  • Save and Exit.
  • Now reboot your device.
  • Voila! You now have soft keys on your device!

If soft keys are still not enabled, please check if you have typed in the exact line as above. There are some apps which do this for you with a single click. But these apps may cause boot loops. Happy Androiding!

Comments (34)
  1. Ravi Kant Rai July 26, 2016
  2. nuh March 3, 2015
  3. Ankur March 1, 2015
  4. Murugan February 15, 2015
  5. Karthikeyan R October 13, 2014
  6. Naveen October 3, 2014
  7. doc s September 26, 2014
  8. ANKIT September 12, 2014
  9. Danish September 7, 2014
  10. Jason August 26, 2014
    • Jackson September 14, 2014
      • hurlyndr October 10, 2014
  11. ezequiel August 25, 2014
  12. grx77 August 22, 2014
    • Viraj Kshatriya August 23, 2014
  13. Dennis August 20, 2014
  14. Afaque August 17, 2014
  15. Gurtej singh August 15, 2014
  16. Fola August 6, 2014
  17. tfouuw July 29, 2014
    • Viraj SK July 29, 2014
  18. Mithun July 26, 2014
  19. Tony July 20, 2014
    • Naveen October 3, 2014
  20. Diego1751 July 7, 2014
  21. Chinnu189 June 23, 2014
  22. andi June 22, 2014
    • Viraj SK June 22, 2014
  23. xtony75 May 1, 2014
  24. Viraj SK April 13, 2014
  25. lloyd February 25, 2014
    • Viraj SK February 25, 2014
      • allen June 13, 2014
  26. steve February 24, 2014

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.