Google could be embracing lock screen widgets again by opening the “At a Glance” widget to other apps

Google could be embracing lock screen widgets again by opening the “At a Glance” widget to other apps

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Android users have long wished for a return of lock screen widgets, which were removed many years ago. However, it looks like Google may be reconsidering this in a future Android update. While Android 15 doesn’t look like it’s bringing true lock screen widgets back to phones, there are signs of a potential workaround in the works.

It was recently reported that Android 15 might bring lock screen widgets to tablets that won’t live directly on the lock screen, but will be accessible through a separate space by swiping from the right edge. As the source mentioned, this might be an idea that may be inspired by iOS’s “Live Activities,” which uses a similar method.

Since phone screens are smaller than tablets, this lock screen approach might not exactly work for them. However, Google already has something in place that can serve as a base for this feature: At a Glance. If you use a Pixel phone, you may be familiar with “At a Glance,” a widget-like element already in place on the home and lock screens which displays information taken from your calendar events, weather, and traffic alerts.

The potential for the existing “At a Glance” widget to host widgets from other applications stems from a recent API change that is reportedly in the works, according to findings by Mishaal Rahman (via Android Authority). In this change, Google is said to be working toward making At a Glance compatible with RemoteViews, which is the base code for Android widgets.

Of course, Google would need to overcome a few challenges before this change becomes a reality. Widgets would need to become resizable to fit in the limited lock screen space. Google would also need to make sure those widgets don’t crash At a Glance or, worse, the whole lock screen. On top of that, Google would need to convince other smartphone manufacturers to include At a Glance on their phones.

This comes at a time when Google is also backing the use of customized lock screens via Glance, a lock screen widget already available on some budget Android devices. Glance adds a rotating selection of news and advertisements to your standard lock screen. It isn’t exactly the Pixel “At a Glance” widget, but it demonstrates that Google is to an extent open to the use of widgets on the lock screen.

It’s unclear when (or if) these changes will happen – it could even be as far off as the next major Android release after Android 15. But for those nostalgic for lock screen widgets, and anyone who wants quick access to app info without always unlocking their phone, there’s definitely hope on the horizon.

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