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The secret to a smarter Android lock screen


Google giveth, and Google taketh away.

It’s an all-too-common tale here in the land o’ Android, and it’s exactly what happened in the world of widgets on our lock screens.

Way back in 2012, a full decade before Apple decided to (cough, snort) invent the idea of a more interactive smartphone entry point, Google made a big deal about bringing widgets onto the Android lock screen with its Android 4.2 release. It was all the rage — until two years later, anyhow, when Google quietly killed the feature off without any explanation.

Now, it’s still entirely possible Google could reverse course and giveth again. We’ve seen the company flip flop plenty and even come back around to forgotten concepts specifically after Apple started offering something similar.

But for now, El Googenthal seems focused on bringing simple shortcuts to the lock screen, with its upcoming Android 14 update. That’s nice! It’s fine. But it’s also far more limiting and useful than a full-fledged widget would be.

Luckily, you aren’t an average phone-carrying citizen. You’re reading this column, after all, and that puts you in a rarefied category of exceptionally curious, capable, and comely Android-adoring organisms.

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