Is it necessary to hide the status bar? Does a 20px bar make the difference in your experience? Lately, I’ve been wondering whether or not designers and developers consider showing or hiding the status bar in their apps for usability or just for the sake of saying that they have a “fullscreen” app. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that 20px of screen real estate is extremely important. It’s hard enough to be constrained to the display requirements on mobile, let alone thinking about a bar that tells you about signal strength, time, and battery power.
There are cases where it makes some sense to hide the bar, even though it’s not in the best interest of the user. Most games hide the bar, for what I assume is an effort to block the time and the battery indicator so you have no idea how long you’ve been playing, and when you need to start conserving battery. The case can also be made that displaying the status bar can ruin the entire aesthetic of your experience.
It makes sense to hide the bar when watching a fullscreen video. But the Youtube app does a great job of displaying it when you tap on the screen to display the controls.
Sometimes, you just need to reference information. When you’re on a FaceTime call, the only way to see what time it is or how much battery life you have left is to pull down the notification center, completely covering up the main experience of your video chat. FaceTime calls are a huge battery drain, so being able to see how much juice you have left seems to be pretty important, especially if you’re not able to charge your device soon.