Technology

How to Get Lock Screen Widgets on Android

Zachary Wander

Apple introduced lock screen widgets for the iPhone in iOS 16. Android is known for being highly customizable, but it doesn’t have the same feature. Well, not officially—but that doesn’t have to stop us.

Android actually supported lock screen widgets long before the iPhone did. It was officially added way back in 2012 with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. However, the feature was removed two versions later with Android 5.0 Lollipop. So let’s bring it back.

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Lock Screen Widgets for Android

Since Android doesn’t officially support lock screen widgets, we’ll need the help of a third-party app. Keep in mind that this is a bit of a hacky method, so it may not work perfectly. The app we’ll be using is called “Lockscreen Widgets,” and it costs $1.49.

After installing the app, you’ll be greeted with a few pages of introduction. The first thing to do is grant the app accessibility access in order to display on the lock screen. Tap “More Info” and then “Grant” to go to Android’s Accessibility menu and enable it.

Enable the Accessibility Service.

Back in the app, the next permission is for notification listening. This allows Lockscreen Widgets to hide the widgets when you have notifications on the lock screen. Tap “Grant” and then enable Lockscreen Widgets in the settings. This is optional.

Enable notification listening.

The next permission is for accessing media on your device. This is used to detect your wallpaper and create a “mask” behind the widgets. You don’t need to use this feature if you don’t want to.

Grant access to media.

Lastly, if you want to make sure Lockscreen Widgets isn’t closed in the background, you can tap the “More Info” button for details about how to exclude the app from “battery optimizations.”

Exclude app from battery optimizations.

Now we can start adding widgets to the lock screen! First, toggle on the “Enabled” switch and tap “Add Widget.”

Enable widgets and tap "Add Widget."

Scroll through the list of widgets and tap the one you’d like to add. Repeat this to add multiple widgets to the lock screen.

Select a widget to add.

Tap “Preview” to see how the widget will look on the lock screen. Tap the widget with two fingers to bring up the editing options—tap with two fingers again to hide them.

Widget editing options.

If you added multiple widgets, you can swipe horizontally to page through them. Long-press a widget to tap the red minus icon to remove it.

Swipe through multiple widgets.

Next, we’ll take a peek at the “Settings.”

Go to "Settings."

You’ll want to experiment a bit with these settings to find what works best with your lock screen. We’ll highlight a couple of things you might want to do. First, under the “Appearance” section is “Masked Mode.” This is nice if you want the widgets to cover elements on the lock screen, like the clock.

Masked Mode.

Under the “Visibility” section, you may want to enable “Hide When Showing Notifications” and “Hide on Security Input.” You can also hide the widget when the notification shade is expanded.

Visibility options.

Again, every lock screen is slightly different, so you’ll want to spend some time tweaking things to make it look good with yours. You can use the two-finger gesture to bring up the editing controls from the lock screen as well.

Lock Screen Widgets in action.

That should be enough to get you started! Since this is not an official method, you’ll probably run into some wonkiness here and there, but it’s a pretty good solution. Apple and Google love to “share” ideas, maybe Google will remember lock screen widgets soon.

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