The third beta of android's second QPR update hints at a promising Android 15 experience with notable features making a comeback. Among the highlights is the reintroduction of lock screen widgets, a functionality that was once part of Android but was removed back in version 5.0 (Lollipop). This surprising revival comes after a decade-long hiatus, with the widgets having been seemingly cryogenically frozen until the opportune moment for their resurgence.
Personalize Your Lock Screen: The Comeback of Widgets in Android 15
The genesis of this revival can be traced back to apple's inclusion of lock screen widgets in iOS 16. Seeing the success and user appeal, google seems to have recognized the value in bringing back this lost functionality from Android's Lollipop era.
A recent review of the Android 14 QPR 2 Beta 3 by Mishaal Rahman sheds light on the return of lock screen widgets. Rahman managed to activate a widget space on the lock screen during the review. Allowing users to include a few widgets that have the declared WIDGET_CATEGORY_KEYGUARD permission. Due to the decade-long deprecation of this feature, only a handful of widget options are currently available, and they all come from Google.
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While the widget selector is functional, it is evident that the implementation is a work in progress. Widgets on the lock screen currently overlap with the clock and notifications, resulting in a less-than-ideal visual experience.
There's a potential drawback, however, as Mishaal Rahman confirs that this revival might be exclusive to devices that are stationary. Such as Pixel Tablets. Despite this limitation, there is hope for users eager to see widgets return to the lock screen.
One noteworthy element that already appears on the lock screen of Pixel devices is “At a Glance.” Although technically not a widget, it behaves as a “custom element” utilizing the Smartspace API to display information cards. Google is actively working on extending support for RemoteViews used in widgets within Smartspace. If successful, this enhancement could pave the way for the broader integration of widgets on the lock screen. Similar to the current implementation of “At a Glance.” This anticipated change might materialize with the release of Android 15. Offering a more polished and inclusive experience for users eager to personalize their lock screens with widgets once again.