Lock screen widgets could make their long-awaited return in Android 14 QPR1

Lock screen widgets could make their long-awaited return in Android 14 QPR1

December’s Pixel Feature Drop could resurrect the feature popularized by iPhones recently


  • Lock screen widgets, a feature that was once common on Android smartphones, may be making a comeback in Android 14 QPR1.
  • Google is currently experimenting with this functionality, as indicated by a new SystemUI flag found in the beta code.
  • Apple and Samsung have already implemented lock screen widgets on their devices, and if Google activates this feature in future builds, it will benefit Pixel users and people cheaper phones running less customized versions of Android.

Way back in the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich days, you used to be able to add widgets onto your phone’s lock screen. What feels like a wild concept in recent times used to be the norm across Android smartphones, but unfortunately, Google removed the feature from AOSP sometime afterward. Over the last year, however, the ability to put widgets on your phone’s lock screen has entered into a bit of a renaissance after Apple added the function with iOS 16 in September 2022 (we totally weren’t jealous or anything like that). In August, Samsung enabled similar functionality with its LockStar Good Lock module, and although it’s a bit glitchy, it shows a proof of concept on Android for a return of the much loved feature. Google may be giving us reason to celebrate, as code in Android 14’s first QPR1 beta points to its return.

Android 14’s first QPR beta released recently, giving anyone in the Android beta program loads of settings to tinker with. Truthfully, it’s our first look at new features that will come to Google Pixel phones when the newest Feature Drop releases in December. Android Police senior contributor Mishaal Rahman tinkered as such and found many interesting keywords and phrases within the beta’s code, one of which could pertain to lock screen widgets.

Rahman found a new SystemUI Flag that simply says “widget_on_keyguard”. While there’s nothing else to go off of except for this flag, it makes us confident in saying that Google is at least currently experimenting with lock screen widget functionality in Android 14 on Pixel phones.

When taking into account the current smartphone trends, it makes sense. Apple has successfully implemented widgets on its iPhone lock screens, and Samsung has done the same. However, the current lack of native Android support for it means that cheaper phones that run less customized builds of Android don’t have access to the feature. If Google plans on activating this in future Android 14 builds, then Samsung smartphone users that utilize the LockStar method would also benefit.

This is substantially exciting news for people who used this feature way back in the day. Like all smartphone operating systems back in the early 2010s, however, it was just too bug-filled and resource-intensive on the limited hardware of the time to make worthwhile for developers. With the streamlined Android 14 coming out by the end of 2023, and the UI flag indicating that lock screen widgets could be returning, we feel like a decade’s worth of clamoring is finally ending.

Thanks: Armando

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