How to change the DPI of your Android device without root

Galaxy S6

Despite coming with screen resolution that is significantly higher than the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, most high-end Android devices display a similar or even lesser amount of information on their screen compared to Apple’s devices.

Worse, an Android device with a 5-inch Full HD screen and another one with a 5.5-inch Full HD screen will show the same amount of information. The latter will only show them over a bigger surface area that will make it easier to read, but the amount of content being displayed on the screen will remain exactly the same.

The software density of an Android device is completely different from the actual screen resolution. Android categorises devices according to their resolution. For example, the Nexus 6, Galaxy S6, LG G4 and other devices with Quad HD resolution are classified as having an ‘xxhdpi’ screen with a density of 640. This means that inspite of having varying screen sizes, these devices will display the same amount of information on the screen.

With root though, it is possible to change the software density of an Android device thereby allowing you to tweak the amount of information being displayed on the screen. However, not many people know that it is also possible to change the DPI of an Android device without using root. Wondering how? Check out the steps below.

Step 1: Enable USB Debugging on your Android device from Settings -> Developer Options. The Developer option menu is hidden by default though and needs to be enabled by going into Settings -> About Phone and tapping on ‘Build Number’ 7 times.

Step 2: Download and install ADB drivers and Minimal ADB for Windows from below. Make sure not to close the command prompt window that opens up after installing Minimal ADB.

Step 3: Connect your Android device to your PC. If you get a prompt on your device asking you to authorise this PC for debugging, make sure to select ‘Always allow from this computer’ before tapping ‘Ok.’

ADB Authorise debugging

Step 4: Now execute the following command in the command prompt window that had automatically opened at the end of Step 2:

adb shell wm density “INSERT_DPI” && adb reboot

ADB-DPI

Make sure to replace “INSERT_DPI” with a value of your choice. A lower DPI will lead to more information being displayed on the screen, while a higher value will do vice versa. As soon as the command is executed, your device will reboot for the changes to take effect.

Keep in mind that certain system apps on your device might not play well with the change in DPI values. On my LG G4, for example, any DPI value below 540 causes the camera app to crash. So, make sure to play around with the DPI values before settling in on one which you think is perfect.

If you want to reset the DPI back to its original value, run the following command in ADB:

adb shell wm size reset && adb reboot


What DPI did you end up switching to on your device? Drop in a comment and let us know!

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