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Nexus 6 has a Hidden RGB LED Under the Top Speaker Grill

Hey, look at that, an LED light on the Nexus 6! Thanks to some digging by owners of the device and the help of the developer behind Lightflow, it is possible to enable and use this hidden feature that Google and Motorola decided to disable out of the box. 

Why would you want to use an LED instead of the Nexus 6’s Ambient Display? Well, options are never a bad thing, first of all. But maybe you don’t want your entire screen lighting up with every notification. Maybe you just want to see a blinking light for missed calls, while the phone is charging, or if you receive a Gmail message. If that’s the case, then enabling this LED is something to look into.

So, how can you enable and use the LED in the Nexus 6? First, you will need to be rooted (instructions). After that, while the Lightflow guys work through this new discovery, you can follow a set of instructions posted by the Lightflow dev here to enable the light and adjust colors. Overall, the process shouldn’t be difficult once you are rooted.

Hopefully, a more user-friendly method will arrive, though I don’t know that non-rooted users will be able to enable this any time soon.

Via:  reddit | XDA
Cheers Bradley!
  • J C

    I had a bad experience with Lightflow on the Galaxy Nexus. I had to return 2 devices I had installed it on because my phone would go into a continuous loop where it kept rebooting until it died. After the 2nd phone, i decided not to install it on the 3rd and didn’t have the issue again. Not sure the app was the only culprit but it just made me adverse to installing it again.

  • Ruvim

    BTW checked out the Nexus 6 in a sprint store and it did not feel as premium as my Note 4, the speakers were really nice though!

  • Ruvim

    Just maybe Google is doing this to secretly promote rooting the phone!!

  • Jaiden Gerig

    I can confirm there is also one on the Droid Turbo, i saw it flash green after it died this morning

  • StankyChikin

    Call me stupid but why on earth would they put it there and not use it? Just seems odd to me 🙂

  • Austin_tacious

    The 2014 Moto X has the same light. Although, it’s even less useful, since Moto Display is great.

  • Aaron C

    This is why we flash all the things.

  • jerbanumbi

    I like this phone

  • BoFiS

    That’s awesome, I really really like having a notification (and charge) LED, now if only this phone came in a smaller version :-

  • The new Moto X has one too.

  • taz89

    Backwards Google, why would you include a led light if you are not going to use use it.

    • gmo8492

      Because of reasons…

  • Terrance Steiner

    Same goes for the Moto X (2014). When I first got the Moto X I turned off Moto Display and got the LED behind the speaker. I just tried to replicate it but cannot seem to make it work again.

  • ceruleanblue



    Ha. All you non-rooters can dream about this light.

  • Ken Bosse

    mine was suppose to be here today, but got delayed due to a truck arriving late. Very sad. lol

  • James Pineapple

    I’ve found the same for the Moto X Pure edition 2014. It had died on its self and a very small LED blinked just above the ear piece indicating it needed a charge.

  • CabbageHeadCat.

    Wonder if this feature is on the Nexus 6 cousin, the X?

    Edit: And that would be a no. Lol

    • ReturnfTheMack

      Yeah it is, last year’s too.

  • sucka

    Buy the new Nexus 6 minus the Nexus today lololololololol #suckers

  • J Davis

    I’m waiting on Verizon to get this phone or else I would have already had one. I just seem to be getting cold feet daily because of the launch situation. I need someone to talk me from the cliff that is buying the GN4.

    • Defenestratus

      Get the nexus – its worth not having to deal with Touchwiz. Take it from someone who just went from Note 3 to N6.

      • Ryan

        I did not really enjoy my experience with my S4 and am really excited about the N6 but even with my experience with my past experience with Touchwiz I am kind of intrigued by the note series. I just upgraded in July of this year so I likely won’t be getting anything anytime soon but I keep going back and forth. How much did you find you actually used the S pen on your note? I’m definitely still wanting N6 but some of the features that samsung has on the Note 4 seem like nice options to have.

        • JoshGroff

          Definitely my two favorite phone series, you really can’t go wrong with either, especially if you’re willing to root and there’s an available exploit. (Which really helps with some of the TouchWiz junk)

    • Skittlez

      why don’t you just get it now from google play or motorola? i got mine from motorola and it’s working perfectly on verizon

  • Ed G

    As a person who loathes audible notifications, Light Flow and and LED are a must for me. Nexus 6 just got a little more appealing to me with this discovery.

    • Bobby Cornwell

      Natty Boh HON!

      • Ed G

        You better BOH-lieve it!

  • Neel

    My nexus 5 and oneplus one are customize-able without root, motorola really got some small things wrong on the nexus 6

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    Nexus 6 has a hidden Supply Chain

    • JP
      • Austin_tacious

        I can’t upvote this enough.

        • Annette Rogers

          He­r­e i­s h­­ow t­­­o s­­­t­art ear­­­ni­­ng a de­­­ce­nt pr­­­ofi­­­t ev­­­er­y si­­­ngl­­e mo­­nt­h… A­­fte­­­r lo­­­osi­­­ng m­­­y jo­­b ha­­­lf a ye­­­ar ag­­­o, I st­­art­­­ed t­­o wo­­­r­k ov­­e­r t­­h­e we­­bs­­it­­e i f­­ou­­nd on­­­li­­ne, A­nd n­­o­­w i wo­­uld­n’t t­­rad­e i­t fo­­r no­­th­i­ng!. I a­­­­­­­m e­­­ar­­ni­n­g 1­­­­­­2­­­­k/mon­­­t­h no­­w. Y­o­­­u c­a­n d­­­o i­­­t t­­­­o­o!
          -> CL­I­C­K O­­N L­I­­NK “MO­RE” O­­N TH­­IS W­EB­SI­TE FO­R PRO­OF <-

    • simmons elton

      What’s the use again of the LED light? /elton from http://www.rankingslisted.org/phones/

  • rawson815

    Kellen keep up the good job man thanks for all the hard work you guys put in root or no root I’m glad this community is for everyone and I’m tired of people pointing out dumd stuff

  • Marcellus1

    One thing to note is that over at XDA the lightflow dev has said blinking is not currently an option. Just turn on for notifications, charging or the like.
    [Edit]: Source: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=56934625&postcount=35

    • vincent scala

      luckily blinking is never the option i chose i’ve always preferred always on and i’m now more interested in the N6 since i always root and wasn’t a fan of onscreen notifications. So i wouldn’t have to worry about the phone doing things while in my pocket.

  • Jeremi

    My day has been made. Real talk.

  • pilot25

    I’d say the whole thing is hidden since no one can buy it, no one can use it because of faulty data encryption, and no one can make calls on it unless you have a hack saw to shape the sim card. What a great phone!!! I can’t wait to get one.

    • dannyWHITE

      A bit much don’t you think..

      • pilot25

        are you an Android apologist? Everything I stated is accurate.

        • Chris Franzen

          Not really, no. No cutting for me, no encryption problems whatsoever. Sounds to me that you’re a bit butthurt.

          • pilot25

            Yes, because when a flagship device is released it’s usually not this much of a disaster. But then most Nexus rollouts are a disaster. Kinda ubiquitous now.

          • Greg

            Congratulations! You’re an idiot.

          • pilot25

            Really? Did you see AT&T is sending back their entire stock of N6s to Moto? Yep, and I’m the idiot….. This isn’t a disaster at all. Yes, I’m new…… (dripping with sarcasm…)

          • Chris Franzen

            You must be new.

    • RicoDelicioso

      I bought it, the encryption doesn’t bother me, and I’ve made plenty of calls on it since I “hack sawed” my SIM card. It is a great phone, and I’m glad I got one. Thanks for your opinion, though.

      • 6stringslinger

        Curious about you “hack saw”-ing your sim…I’m gonna try that too. My micro sim from my Gnex will require “hack-sawing” a bit of the metal contact area to get to nano sim size. My understanding is that is ok, it’ll still work. Did you have to cut any of the metal contact area from yours? Did it work without sanding the back side down a little?

        • Rich Robinson

          I cut my VznW micro sim to a nano sim easily using this guide and a pair of scissors. First place the micro sim on the sheet, use a ruler and draw the lines on the card. Then just cut the card and it works perfectly! I did not need to sand at all. Love this phone!

        • RicoDelicioso

          Use this and all your dreams will come true. http://amzn.com/B009P16FKY

    • Thomas Wolfe

      Or you could just go to your damn provider and get a new SIM.

    • DanSan

      if it bothers you, unlock the bootloader then flash the encryption fix. then root the phone and you’re golden.

      • pilot25

        DanSan, the whole thing bothers me. I will root it the day I get it and am usually flash happy. Flashing every ROM for a few weeks.

        Problem is Google has no handle on the telecoms. They have no ability to get a product to the masses without major problems. Galaxy Nexus was a prime example of how badly they do business. N6 is a continuation. It’s been 3 years since GNexus came out and they haven’t learned a thing.

    • Skittlez

      i’m using mine perfectly fine on verizon,

  • dannyWHITE

    Any way to enable tap to awake? I would much rather have that than an LED light or Ambient Mode.

  • Curtis Black

    As much as I love ambient display, there’s something to be said about a RGB notification led. I had one on my Droid X2, and I loved it. It would blink different colors for every kind of notification, and I could tell what I was missing when my device was on the other side of the room. Manufacturers should bring them back!

  • Matt

    Did anyone ever figure out how to use the LED in the original MotoX speaker grill?

  • Andreas

    LTE disabled on Nexus 4 and now this?

    • Chris Franzen

      As if those are even remotely on the same level.

  • Dan

    This is the best f’in news I’ve heard all day! Believe it or not this was my biggest hesitation to buying this phone. I see way to many notifications I would otherwise miss from across the room.

  • @haggerty84

    This launch is appraoching One Plus status! Why won’t they just tell us when it will launch and when we can purchase directly from Moto or Google!

    • Chris Franzen

      They’re already available from both Moto and Google and they give delivery dates.

      • @haggerty84

        No they’re actually not. They have been available just a couple days…every Wed, except this past Wed, and there are only a limited number of devices available and they sell out in a matter of minutes. That is horrible planning on a release of a flagship device, especially since this is supposed to be a pre-order for the Nexus6! If it were at true pre-order, then anyone could order it and then they would ship it when it was officially launched. This is just reaching the ridiculois status! I cannot stand Apple, but one thing Google and device manufacturing companies for Android do not beat Apple at, is a release of a flagship device. Apple really knows how to handle a big release.

        • Chris Franzen

          You just contradicted yourself. Congratulations. Having bought mine from Motorola, not to mention all the other people who bought their’s from Motorola, it’s a fact that you can buy it from them.

          • @haggerty84

            Well congrats to you for being one of the lucky 100 people in the US to get one! Everytime I have gone on the Moto site or Google Playstore, it has been out of inventory. I have even received email notifications from Moto telling me it was availaable and I went on their site the second I got the email, the 64GB was already out of inverntory. So if you got one, good for you! I know there are people that bought one but my whole point is that this whole pre-order was a bunch of BS! If it was a pre-order, everyone who wanted one should have been able to go ahead and make their order and then it would ship when it was either released or there was a fresh set of inventory. Moto and Google have just done a horrible job of giving a release date and keeping people in the loop. I wouldn’t even care if they said, everyone can buy it as of such and such date! That’s all I’m saying! If I could go on there and buy it, I would have instead of making comments back and forth with you…don’t you think??!!

  • Jay Ward

    I did this on my nexus 6 I picked up from a Sprint store… I don’t really care for it though so I’m deactivating it again.

  • Suicide_Note

    Just one more reason to root.

    • michael arazan

      And the best part is to learn of this before we buy the phones and can root on day one and not have to worry about back ups and erasing data.

      • awesome_farts

        Wouldn’t it be nice if androids gave you the option to come with an unlocked bootloader so you can essentially root down the line and not wipe data?

  • Pakmann2k

    This is the type of thing that I was talking about yesterday when I seemed to have stirred up a hornets nest. There are things in these phones that are disabled for whatever reason but the developer community (or tinkerers if you prefer) always finds a way to enable everything these devices have to offer. This is just an LED, what other possible things might be lurking under the hood?
    Like my example from yesterday, the Original Droid had an FM transmitter built in so you could play your music through a car stereo or home stereo without wires or bluetooth. For whatever reason, Verizon disabled it before launch and it was officially removed from the list of features for the phone. Most people never even knew it was there.

    • ghost

      I think of finding the LED like an easter egg…

      Disabling features like wireless charging out of box makes you buy their wireless charging cases for $60 each. Disabling FM radios forces you to stream though radio apps and eat up data…Disabling an FM transmitters would force you to buy their car charger and car accessory bundles, however I never heard of any phone having a transmitter. Do you just mean an FM radio?

      • hkklife

        I definitely remember playing the FM Radio on my OG Droid X, not sure about the OG Droid 1. I think the Droid 2 had it and that was the source of the leaked APK that worked on a number of Moto handsets from that era. BTW, I am ashamed to admit I bought a horrible FM radio dongle w/ integrated earbuds for my V60c back in 2001 so I could listen to the radio on my phone!!!! Times sure have changed!

        • Pakmann2k

          I had a Zune, just for the FM radio part. lol!

      • Pakmann2k

        It technically had both. I had to go back to some Motorola Milestone (Droid) forums to refresh my memory and make sure I remembered correctly. The early developers worked for almost a year to get it running but eventually quit.

      • sevic

        Yeah, i had a milestone (droid) it had an fm chip, but as far as i remember they never get it to really work

    • michael arazan

      I Heard You Can Go Back to the Future with the Nexus 6, but they disabled the ability to achieve 88 MPH

      • Pakmann2k

        Just wait until people figure out the headphone jack doubles as a vaporizer. That’s locked too!

  • Blue Sun

    Ahh, there you are good friend.

  • TSY87

    As excited as I am to try out ambient display, I really like notification lights, especially if they are RGB. HURRY UP GOOGLE AND SHIP OUT MY PHONE!!!!!!!!!

    • @haggerty84

      At least you were lucky enough to even order one.

  • Brian Menius

    It really is a Moto X.

    • Marcellus1

      There had been rumors of a Moto X Play, which many speculated was the GSM version of the Droid Turbo. On my invoice for my Nexus 6, however, it listed the device as a Moto X Play. This device has many similarities with the Moto X–appearance, hardware, features, etc.. I think it was originally slated to be a larger, beefed up Moto X for games and media consumption (hence the “play”) before Google snagged it for the Nexus.

      • Jerry Huster

        Aha! You are right… I thought the same thing when I saw that on my invoice. Makes sense.

  • Reginald Spence II

    NO WAY! Sweet Jeebus, this is terrific news! I’ve grown mighty attached to the notification LEDs from the N4 and N5. I would seriously miss not having that feature.

    • Pakmann2k

      Loved Lightflow. The ability to set custom colors and flashes for different notifications was the bomb!

  • moelsen8


  • ThatBabyAintMine

    I’m pretty sure Droid Life reported this when you guys first took a look at the N6 weeks ago.

    • Pakmann2k

      Pretty unlikely seeing is how they are just posting it now. There are only like 5 dudes in Droid Life, they would remember.

  • King of Nynex

    Why wouldn’t they just give you the option out of the box?

    • ReturnOfTheMack

      Ambient display.

      I still think it should be an option though, just like you should be able to easily turn encryption off.

  • gambit07


  • Brandon Rosonina

    First you will need to be rooted… goes against everything said yesterday!

    • ReturnOfTheMack

      Not really, he just said most do not buy a Nexus device just to pop the hood and mess around, but the capability and ease of doing so is there should you want to.

      • Steveo

        Remember when DL used to have “ROMs of the week”? I thought everyone still fiddled with their phone. I was very surprised with the >50% not rooted stat from the survey yesterday. Especially because root is now almost always one-click, compared to the hoops we used to jump through to get it. But to each their own, no judgement whatsoever either way.

        • JRomeo

          I dont think there’s a one-click root for the Nexus5

          • Marc

            Isn’t there a Toolit? That’s pretty damn close to one-click….

          • JRomeo

            point is, that it isn’t as easy as 1-click. If i want to root my phone, i should be able to do it while waiting in line at starbucks, to do something or test whatever, etcetera. and then when i sit back inside my car, click to remove root. should be that simple.

          • ReturnOfTheMack

            There actually was a very popular app that did just that a number of years ago. Security on Android has changed over the years and as a result it’s not that simple anymore. I think the platform is better for it though.

          • Zenzr
        • ReturnOTheMack

          There are one-click toolkits that work for Nexus devices and thanks to developers like ChainFire, it’s pretty easy to root most other devices too. I just think people don’t always want to bother if they don’t really need to and the reasons for rooting are definitely less than they used to be.

          I do remember all the ROM and root posts that used to be very frequent here, but things have obviously changed and in many ways that’s a good thing for Android. On a side note, rooting was the reason I discovered this site years ago.

      • Brandon Rosonina

        Yes I know, was more sarcasm than anything. Stock is amazing, however some of the things you can do on rooted make things REALLY convenient. Things i have used were holding the volume up to turn on the flash light while the screen is off, and using the status bar as a slider for screen brightness. I know they’re simple but they become handy when you need to do those things quickly.

  • evan brown

    The launch keeps getting worse, but the phone keeps getting better, cant wait to have this thing in my hands

  • Mike Aurin

    I am 99% sure the Moto X has a similar light in the grill. I’ve seen a quick green flash every once in a while when I turn my phone on. Anyone confirm?

  • What the hell, seriously. First tap to wake disabled, now this is also disabled. I wonder if this thing also cooks and yet it’s disabled.

    • andre08

      Moto X was the same way had a nice LED that was disabled

      • DKDigitally

        The second generation Moto X is the same way. I’ve only ever seen it when my phone is beyond dead and on the charger.

      • Pakmann2k

        Probably shut it down to show off their active display notifications.

    • h_f_m

      I heard there was a Google android product engineer saying something like “The yolk on over-medium is a little too cooked.. disable it..”

    • Ryan

      That tap to wake function, according to another article I read, was removed for various reasons I think. I don’t recall the article exactly off hand though… But according to some code commits, the coding itself was removed from the source, so there would be no method of enabling it unless someone coded up their own solution I suppose.

    • yahyoh

      lol they enabled encryption but without hardware acceleration too…

    • michael arazan

      I love the colored LED option, a lot more than the entire screen flashing, When across the room I can see what color the light is and instantly tell what notification it is and if it’s important, don’t want to have to go get my phone while charging or what ever to have to be close enough to read the screen.

    • kixofmyg0t

      Simultaneous voice and data is also disabled…..on Verizon 😛

      • Averix


    • Kagnon

      I heard it’s waterproof (jk)

      • mike

        im sure thats just a disabled feature also

      • Richard Gao

        It is waterproof but they don’t give any IP certification…same with the 2nd gen Moto X

  • Tyler Durden

    So it’s like the Z line from Sony.