Android Lock Screen Widget

The question:

A few users have been asking me Android lock screen widgets for my app – I believe they want a widget that stays on their lock screens and allows them to interact with the app.

I haven’t been able to find any official documentation for this – the only thing I found was apps that will take home screen widgets and put them on the lock screen for you.

Any clues on where I learn more about building true lock-screen widgets?

The Solutions:

Below are the methods you can try. The first solution is probably the best. Try others if the first one doesn’t work. Senior developers aren’t just copying/pasting – they read the methods carefully & apply them wisely to each case.

Method 1

Lock screen interaction is difficult. Android allows basic operations with two window flags (FLAG_SHOW_WHEN_LOCKED and FLAG_DISMISS_KEYGUARD). FLAG_SHOW_WHEN_LOCKED works pretty consistently in that it will show on top of the lock screen even when security is enabled (the security isn’t bypassed, you can’t switch to another non-FLAG_SHOW_WHEN_LOCKED window).

If you’re just doing something temporary, like while music is playing or similar, you’ll probably mostly be okay. If you’re trying to create a custom lock screen then there’s a lot of unusual interactions on all the different android platforms. (“Help! I can’t turn off my alarm without rebooting my HTC phone”).



Window flag: special flag to let windows be shown when the screen is


Window flag:
when set the window will cause the keyguard to be
dismissed, only if it is not a secure
lock keyguard. Because such a keyguard
is not needed for security, it will
never re-appear if the user navigates
to another window (in contrast to
FLAG_SHOW_WHEN_LOCKED, which will only
temporarily hide both secure and
non-secure keyguards but ensure they
reappear when the user moves to
another UI that doesn’t hide them). If
the keyguard is currently active and
is secure (requires an unlock pattern)
than the user will still need to
confirm it before seeing this window,
unless FLAG_SHOW_WHEN_LOCKED has also
been set.
Constant Value: 4194304 (0x00400000)

Method 2

Official Lock screen widget document is here

Method 3

I had to implement a lock screen widget for my project. In the process, I accumulated a couple of resources.

  1. If you have an app that you want to put on the lock screen, first make it an appwidget. You can use the AppWidget class to do this.
  2. Now, use the AppWidgetHost class from the Android API to make your lock screen a host for the widgets. I don’t know how to do this part, but there are some existing implementations like mylockandroid (links below).

(NB This code is for older versions of Android. Android 4.2 and up has built in lockscreen widget support)

All methods was sourced from or, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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