Lock screen widgets are a convenient way to access useful information and functions without unlocking your phone. They were once a standard feature of Android, but they were removed in Android 5.0 Lollipop. However, according to some clues found in the latest Android 14 beta build, Google might be bringing them back soon.
What are lock screen widgets and how do they work?
Lock screen widgets are small app-like components that you can add to your lock screen. They can display various types of information, such as the time, weather, calendar events, notifications, music controls, and more. You can also interact with some widgets, such as launching the camera, toggling the flashlight, or scanning a QR code.
To add lock screen widgets on Android 14, you will need to enable a new SystemUI flag called “widget_on_keyguard” in the developer options. This flag is currently only available on Pixel devices running the Android 14 beta, so it is not clear if it will be supported by other Android 14 devices or not.
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Once you enable the flag, you can long-press on an empty area of your lock screen and tap on the “+” button to choose a widget from a list of available options. You can add up to four widgets on your lock screen and swipe through them horizontally. You can also customize the size, position, and appearance of the widgets by tapping on them with two fingers.
Why are lock screen widgets useful and what are some examples?
Lock screen widgets can make your phone more functional and personalized. They can help you access important information and actions quickly and easily, without having to unlock your phone or open an app. For example, you can use lock screen widgets to:
- Check the battery status of your phone and connected devices
- See your upcoming appointments and reminders
- View the current time in different time zones
- Track your fitness goals and activity rings
- Control your music playback and volume
- Launch the camera or record a video instantly
- Turn on the do not disturb mode or mute your phone
- Access your Google Home devices or wallet
- Scan a QR code or barcode
These are just some of the possible lock screen widgets that you can use on Android 14. You can also create your own custom widgets using apps like KWGT or Zooper Widget.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of lock screen widgets?
Lock screen widgets have some pros and cons that you should consider before using them. Here are some of them:
- They can save you time and hassle by providing quick access to information and actions
- They can make your lock screen more attractive and unique by adding some color and style
- They can enhance your productivity and convenience by reducing the need to unlock your phone or open an app
- They can consume more battery power and memory by running in the background
- They can compromise your privacy and security by exposing sensitive data or functions to anyone who sees your lock screen
- They can clutter your lock screen and make it harder to see your notifications or wallpaper
How to enable or disable lock screen widgets on Android 14?
If you want to try out lock screen widgets on Android 14, you will need to have a Pixel device running the latest beta build. You will also need to enable developer options by going to Settings > About phone > Build number and tapping on it seven times.
Once you have developer options enabled, you can follow these steps to enable or disable lock screen widgets:
- Go to Settings > System > Advanced > Developer options
- Scroll down to the System UI section and find the “widget_on_keyguard” option
- Toggle it on or off according to your preference
- Restart your phone for the changes to take effect
After that, you can add, remove, or customize lock screen widgets by long-pressing on your lock screen and following the instructions above.
Lock screen widgets are a cool feature that might return to Android with the upcoming Android 14 update. They can help you access useful information and functions without unlocking your phone. However, they also have some drawbacks that you should be aware of before using them.
If you have a Pixel device running the Android 14 beta, you can enable lock screen widgets by using a hidden developer option. You can also choose from various widget options and customize them according to your liking.
What do you think of lock screen widgets on Android 14? Do you like them or not? Let us know in the comments below.