Dec 30

Five-minute AOSP hack: remove proximity sensor support

I recently dropped my Nexus 4 and broke its LCD. If replacing this £85 part wasn’t annoying enough, I also managed to lose the tiny rubber part which makes the proximity sensor work. Without it, the LCD turns off, and stays off, during phone calls. (Actually, I didn’t break the LCD — I just cracked the front glass — but I had to buy a new LCD + glass + digitiser assembly anyway.)

Fortunately, the proximity sensor sucked even before I broke it. :) I don’t press phones right up to my face, so talking is often a flickery screen-on, screen-off business anyway. So I hacked AOSP to ignore any hardware-supported proximity sensors.

With this change, you can control the LCD normally using the power button, even during phone (or Skype, etc) calls.

wzdd@ubuntu:~/aosp-nexus4/frameworks/base$ git diff
diff --git a/core/java/android/hardware/ b/core/java/android/hardware/
index 0204e94..9dd8d7f 100644
--- a/core/java/android/hardware/
+++ b/core/java/android/hardware/
@@ -265,7 +265,7 @@ public class SystemSensorManager extends SensorManager {
                     Sensor sensor = new Sensor();
                     i = sensors_module_get_next_sensor(sensor, i);
-                    if (i>=0) {
+                    if (i>=0 && (sensor.getType() != Sensor.TYPE_PROXIMITY)) {
                         //Log.d(TAG, "found sensor: " + sensor.getName() +
                         //        ", handle=" + sensor.getHandle());