Got an Android head unit with no physical buttons (has 1 tiny reset hole only). I was playing around with developer settings and enabled Simulate Secondary Displays with 4K option. Unfortunately this lead to the simulated display overlay taking over the entire screen with no way to get rid of it as the touchscreen is not unresponsive over the overlay. As a note, USB debugging mode was not enabled on the headunit prior to this happening.

I've hooked up a USB keyboard and have managed to get to the app drawer but can't seem to find a way to scroll through and select the "settings" app. Pressing 'TAB' or the arrow keys don't seem to be able to cycle through the app drawer.

If anyone could help with any of the 3 solutions, I would be grateful:

  1. How to navigate through app drawer to get to "settings" app on android via USB keyboard?
  2. How to bring up the android search bar with the keyboard only (that way I can search for "settings")
  3. How to boot up android headunit in safe mode (tried it on my mobile phone and was able to disable simulated display once in safe mode). However my headunit has no physical buttons.


this is as far as I can get with keyboard - can't seem to browse the apps inside the app drawer this is as far as I can get with keyboard

  • Head units running Android often use very old versions. Do you know which one is installed on yours?
    – Robert
    Oct 25, 2022 at 12:28

1 Answer 1


Since you don't have USB debugging enabled, your best bet is to flash the headunit with recovery.sh. I'm not sure the details on your make/model, but for example on a Honda Clarity 2018 PHEV headunit, you would simply have a USB drive (formatted to the correct type, I believe it was FAT32 off the top of my head) with recovery.sh in the root directory plugged into your USB slot (may need to alternate between each if you're unsure which will work correctly), then reboot the headunit. It my also take more than one attempt to power-cycle before it pops up, but it should eventually boot into recovery menu. The recovery.sh file itself may be challenging to find, again depending on your make/model, in the case of my example it was acquired through a reputable 3rd party's site, the developer for HondaHack.

EDIT: I've successfully booted into safe-mode on my head unit once, by holding down some combination of the "soft" keys on the side of the unit (volume buttons, menu, etc).

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