How to Turn Off the On-Screen Keyboard on Android TV

Last Updated on June 12, 2023 by Tim Wells

One of the things that I love most about Android TVs is that you can navigate around the screen with nothing more than your TV remote.

Sometimes, having a full-size keyboard would be nice, especially when surfing the web or entering your Wi-Fi password.

The trouble is the onscreen keyboard still takes up half the screen, even if you’re using an external keyboard.
In this article, I will show you how to disable the onscreen Android TV keyboard and stop it from hiding half of your screen.

How to Disable the On-Screen Android Keyboard

Like the pure Android OS, Android TV lets you customize the virtual keyboard layout you see onscreen.

Most of us will change it from QWERTY to alphabetical or a keyboard with oversized buttons.

But there’s an app called Null Keyboard that will let you disable or hide the floating keyboard entirely using the same process.

Null Keyboard is designed for pure Android, not Android TV, so it isn’t available on the Google Play Store. However, you can find it on Aptoide TV, so it’s not much of an issue.

If you haven’t heard of Aptoide TV or need a refresher on installing it, you should check how to sideload Aptoide TV on your Android TV box. That will get you access to thousands of apps that aren’t on the Google Play Store.

Download Null Keyboard

From within Aptoide TV, click the magnifying glass icon to search for Null Keyboard. The app we’re looking for should be the first one listed.

Once you click the Null Keyboard icon, click Install to start the installation process.

No special permissions are required, so the installation should complete in a few seconds.

Once you see this screen, click Done and then exit out of Aptoide TV.

Enable Null Keyboard

When you’re back on your home screen, click the gear icon to reach your Settings menu. If you don’t have an icon on your home screen, you can find your Settings menu icon in your Apps Drawer or All Apps menu.

Once you’re at your Settings menu, click on Device Preferences.

Next, click on Keyboard.

Here you can see a snapshot of which virtual keyboard is active for your Android TV or Google TV device. Since I have an external keyboard connected, I’ve also got the Physical Keyboard menu.

Click on Manage Keyboards to continue.

This will show you a list of all the virtual keyboards you have installed on your device. It’s also where you can change the keyboard layouts to different languages or even specific uses in the same language.

Here, we will enable Null Keyboard by flipping the switch next to it.

When you do, you’ll see a warning box appear.

Since this is a third-party app, Google wants to ensure you know the potential risks.

Click OK to continue, then go back to the Keyboard Menu.

Set the Active Virtual Keyboard

This time we’re going to click on the Current Keyboard menu.

Here you can select which virtual keyboard will be active for your Android device.

Click on Null Keyboard to continue.

Now, you won’t see the onscreen keyboard whenever you type in an input box. Null Keyboard effectively hides it on your Android TV box.

As you can see in this image, I’m typing in the search field using my wireless keyboard, and there’s no keyboard onscreen!

Turning the Android TV Onscreen Keyboard Back On

Turning on the virtual keyboard again is a simple matter of going back to the Keyboard menu and switching back to Gboard or the Leanback Keyboard, whichever you prefer.

Tim Wells