July 18, 2011 13

Disable the Universal Access accessibility menu in Gnome 3

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/gnome3
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gnome-shell-extensions-noa11y

In the new gnome-shell, otherwise known as Gnome 3, there is an accessibility menu called "Universal Access" that cannot be removed by any apparent means. Fortunately it can easily be removed, hidden, or disabled by editing a file and restarting the shell. This method works for gnome-shell version 3.0 (this reportedly works in Gnome 3.2 as well), it may or may not work in future versions.

Edit the file /usr/share/gnome-shell/js/ui/panel.js

Look for the following line, (line 38 in my case):

'a11y': imports.ui.status.accessibility.ATIndicator,

Comment out this line like so:

//'a11y': imports.ui.status.accessibility.ATIndicator,

Then restart gnome-shell by typing Alt-F2 to run command, enter "r" without the quotes, and hit enter. This will quickly restart the shell and you should find that the Universal Access menu no longer appears. If you should find a use for it in the future, simply un-comment the lines found in /usr/share/gnome-shell/js/ui/panel.js

Thanks to the endlessly helpful folks who maintain ArchWiki for this tip.


  • thecolorifix

    THANK YOU! Just installed Gnome 3.2 and that was the biggest annoyance. These instructions worked perfectly.

    • Maris Dembovskis

      Can somebody tell how to enable Universal Access menu in Wheezy Gnome Classic? Because by default it is there, but I like old fashion, so by login I choose Gnome classic. And Universal Access is not there on ther top right corner, however I would likt to use it! Specially like zoom option.


  • http://www.heldaction.com Tyler

    Awesome. Thanks for posting this. Not being able to remove that menu was driving me batty.

  • http://howto.blbosti.com 5ulo

    thanks.. this ‘patch’ is working in 3.2 too

  • Manos

    Thanks for that.
    It is not annoying and indeed is very useful for some people but i just dont need it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Tornikee Tornike

    Hi, thanks for the tip, although I can’t save the panel.js file as I have no system permissions for that. What should I enable/disable to be able to modify these system files?

    • Zac

      Open up a terminal, and type “sudo gedit usr/share/gnome-shell/js/ui/panel.js” without quotes. Enter your password, and the file will open using Gedit, a text editor. Find the line (It was also line 32 for me), put the // in front of the line, save, and exit. ALT+F2, enter “r” and press enter. Worked like a charm for me :D

      • Anonymous

         Thanks Zac, that is what I did as well.

      • Tornike Khomeriki

        Thanks a lot for the hint.

        • Zac

          No problem. By the way, I just realized that the directory should have a “/” before it. So “/usr/share/gnome-shell/js/ui/panel.js” . So if anyone had problems with that before, that should be an easy fix :P

  • Nate

    Genius, thank you! Note that the line mentioned is there twice…comment out the first occurrence!

  • Koray Biçer

     Worked without problem on Debian Wheezy

  • keithy

    Brilliant! Thank you so much for this :)