Android Lollipop brought us Material Design, smooth scrolling and generally a prettier UI. But it took away some things as well. The most visible changes were to the lock screen. Notifications came to the lock screen – finally. But we had to say goodbye to lock screen widgets. Apps like DashClock and others made widgets in the lock screen super useful. You could view notes, even toggle system features from these widgets.
But don’t worry. All is not lost. As notifications are now officially on the lock screen we can do all sorts of awesome stuff with them. Including toggles, shortcuts and more. And we’re going to do all of that without succumbing to a lock screen replacement app. That’s right, we’re going to stay true to the stock Lollipop lock screen and supercharge it in the process.
1. Action Widgets
As you might already be aware, Android supports sticky notifications. These notifications aren’t really there to notify you about stuff.
The best of the bunch is Action Widgets. It has awesome Lollipop styling and polygonal background. Plus you can put any toggle on there that you like. Wi-Fi, GPS, data, anything. Some toggles like GPS require you to be rooted though.
Just download the app and enable it. You’ll see the Action widget in the lock screen. Depending on how your phone is setup, you will either see it directly on the lock screen or after you swipe down in the lock screen (as opposed to swiping up that unlocks the phone).
Hanger is a notification widget that monitors your app usage and puts the shortcuts to your most frequently used apps right in the lock screen. So now you can access all of that from the lock screen.
From the widget, just tap on an app icon the Hanger widget. And right from the lock screen, the app will launch.
There’s also a rather unconventional alternative to Hanger. As I talked about in my Android Launcher write-up, EverythingMe is my current favorite launcher. And it has a feature that puts shortcuts to smart folders as a notification, right on the lock screen. If you’re already using EverythingMe (as you should), just enable this feature from settings instead of trying a whole new app.
3. Glimpse Notifications
Isn’t it a bit annoying when your phone is right on the table where you can see it, you get a notification.. and nothing. It just buzzes, shows a notification light but that’s it. You don’t know what the notification was about until you pick up the phone or press the power button.
Glimpse is a simple app that tries to solve this problem. Whenever you get a notification, it will light up the screen for a couple of seconds so you can see the notification and decide if it needs any response or not.
Of course, the app is smart about it and uses the sensors in your phone to tell when your phone is in your pocket or out in the open.
Alternative:AcDisplay works much like Glimpse does but it’s actually a lock screen replacement app. While we’re not talking about those right now, I couldn’t help but mention it. Using AcDisplay, you will lose the traditional Lollipop notifications but you will gain features like auto screen wake, a minimal interface and more. The video below explains the appeal of the app.
Bonus: Notes on the Lock Screen
I’ve said before that I’m a forgetful person. But I never forget to check my phone’s lock screen before I’m leaving some place. That means it’s the perfect place to leave little notes. I’ve talked about this in detail in a previous article but here’s the gist. Simply use Pushbullet to send a note to your own device. It will show up in the lock screen and will stay there till you swipe it away.
Et tu, Brute?
Now it’s your turn. Tell us about what upgrades you’ve made to your lock screen in the comments below.