So, the Android L developer preview is here for the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 (2013, Wi-Fi) and a few of us here at AP have been playing with it today. The changes are vast and quite drastic (but all pretty damn good thus far), and we want to highlight a few of the more notable things.

The lockscreen is one of the areas that's getting a pretty heavy makeover in the L release (henceforth just known as L), and, since it's generally the first thing you see when a device is turned on, seemed like a logical starting point.

First things first, let's talk about the apps that can be quickly accessed from the lockscreen. In Jelly Bean and KitKat, a swipe to the left opened the camera – that's still there, but now swiping to the right will open the dialer. Swiping up unlocks the device. It's going to take some time to get used to these changes, because I always swipe right to unlock. I've opened the dialer in L more than I think I ever have on any other build combined. (Ok, maybe not that much).

Screenshot_2014-06-26-13-56-56 Screenshot_2014-06-26-13-57-27 Screenshot_2014-06-26-13-57-15

Note that the icons get larger to show the app that's going to launch

Another new feature on the lockscreen is enhanced notifications. Instead of just dropping little icons in the notification area, L shows rich notifications directly on the lockscreen, complete with a few details (like message in Hangouts). One super cool thing they've done here, though, is give users the ability to hide "sensitive" notifications from the list. It's unclear right now what is deemed as sensitive, but it still seems pretty awesome that the option is there.

Screenshot_2014-06-26-13-00-38 Screenshot_2014-06-26-13-00-56 Screenshot_2014-06-26-17-03-08

Screenshot_2014-06-26-12-46-13 Screenshot_2014-06-26-14-01-49 Screenshot_2014-06-26-14-03-23

The last image is just to show where that conversation went.

Lastly, there's been a change to the lockscreen media controls. In KitKat, Google went fullscreen with the album artwork, but now it seems to be backtracking on that idea and reducing it down to a normal sized notification. It still functions the same, just in a much smaller space. My bad, guys – looks like fullscreen artworks is still going to be a thing after all. It's just not in the dev preview because it isn't finished yet.

Screenshot_2014-06-26-14-10-33 Screenshot_2014-06-26-14-10-51

Now that we've looked at what Google added to the lockscreen, let's talk about what's been removed: widgets. Lockscreen widgets haven't been around for very long, but with the introduction of lockscreen notifications, they've already been killed off. Oh well, it was good while it lasted.

This is just the first of many dramatic changes Google has made to L overall, and we're going to be taking a closer look at many of the new features over the next couple of days.

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • remister

    So much eye candy... must resist to flash dev version!

    • Brad

      the only reason i've not flashed yet is because ADB is a butt in windows... gotta get home to my linux box.

    • Zak Taccardi

      The only disappointing part of the DEV preview is that all of Google's Apps get updated on the Play Store now...meaning they haven't been updated with Material Design yet!

      • Anthony Tyson

        Agreed. I WANT MORE SEXY!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/danieltye88 Tungmeister

    Don't like the media controls change, I really liked the fullscreen artwork.

    • Alexithymia

      Yeah hopefully Google is working on it so we can get it back. If not ... ah well =.

    • ddpacino


    • Seth Merritt

      They mentioned in what's new in android that Dan didn't get to finish the full screen album art yet. So its coming.

      • ddpacino

        PHEW! Thank you! Hope it's even better with the new animations and UI elements.

      • http://www.facebook.com/danieltye88 Tungmeister

        Ah, that's ok then, it really looks like a step backwards atm.

        • Ayysir_PA

          you do realize this is a preview, not done

          • http://www.facebook.com/danieltye88 Tungmeister

            Yes.That doesn't mean that this change couldn't have been intentional though hence me voicing my concerns.

          • Ayysir_PA

            who knows, you do realize this is a preview version and its not done right?

          • lolwut

            Yes, you said

          • Marla William


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      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

        Ah, my bad. I was soooooooo busy yesterday I guess I missed that. Updated the post.

      • nebula

        But they will probably update the dev preview every few weeks until the final release, so we will see it soon. Or am I wrong?

        • pfmiller

          It's possible but I really wouldn't expect it.

          • nebula

            Apple does it too, and some stuff isn't working properly right now and developers would only be able to test these features until its fixed.

    • remister

      Just a dev version, might be a place to voice concerns of this type.

    • Ryan O’Neill

      I'm just curious . . . am I the only one who doesn't like it? Most of the time it just obscures the now playing info for me.

      • pfmiller

        I don't like it when I'm listening to a podcast with a low res icon. My phone background gets turned into a hideous, blocky mess.

  • Tony

    Can you tell us if there's a per app permissoin control and what it looks like?

    • Anthony Tyson

      Not that I see yet. Might not be ready for the preview.

    • Leif Sikorski

      There shouldn't be. In the Android Fireside Chat they said that they're still looking into it and trying to find a solution where both sides are happy - users and developer.

  • Torin

    No fullscreen album art? I seriously love that feature; El Goog better give us an option to turn it on.

    • Daniel Collins

      They better.

    • Pascal

      it will be there, just not working yet.

    • Ayysir_PA

      you do realize this is a preview version and its not done right?

    • Alphajoe

      "El Goog"? Seriously? Still?

      • Crispin Swickard

        I usually go with Le Goog myself.

  • Guest

    I will miss lockscreen widget :(
    I'm the only one that doesn't find the music control widget nice looking ? Maybe they will change to a transparent one with the pmay music redesign

    • Ayysir_PA

      you do realize this is a preview version and its not done right??

      • Jesc

        Dude can you stop saying this we get it...

        • Brandon Miller

          It sure doesn't seem like many people actually do.

      • The internet

        Please, just shut up.

        The internet

  • Pascal

    There will be fullscreen album art in lockscreen, it's just not working yet. Somebody said it yesterday on I/O.

  • Daniel Collins

    WHAT???? WOST UPDATE EVER. This is absolutely bogus. Completely stupid. I want WIDGETS, NOT NOTIFICATIONS!!!! RAAAAAGEGEGEGS!!!!11111 I hate this. So stupid.

    • ddpacino

      Dropped something..? /s

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        Probably stepped on a L(EGO)

    • Phil Oakley


  • Dror Becker

    I believe that the album art will be in the lock screen in the full version, it just didn't make it to the preview release. Based on this: http://youtu.be/3TtVsy98ces?t=26m34s

  • ddpacino

    Will we get updates to this preview?

  • Wikiwix

    Which data is sensitive is decided by the app making the noitfication. There are APIs for this: watch "What's new in Android" There will even be secret notifications.

  • Gokh

    I very like the new theme of the apps but not the theme of the system, the lockscreen and the notification panel is hideous IMO, its a strange mix between IOS's notification and WP's lockscreen (the swipe up) and we have lost widgets and music album art :/
    I hope they will change it with the feedbacks of the preview

    • http://myhumblecorner.wordpress.com/ Jacob Godserv

      Read the rest of the comments. Some of your concerns have already been addressed.

      • gokh

        Yay, i hope they will change that notification widget with the super classy lockscreen widget of 4.4 :)

    • Gokh

      I just don't want that the notifiaction panel and the locksreen being merged.

  • http://tech.gtaero.net/ Navarr Barnier

    Judging by what AndroidCentral said on their Google IO podcast, sensitive is something that'll be set by the app developer.

    • Anthony Castanza

      For example, the message preview content is considered sensitive for a hangouts message and is hidden. The Hangouts message notification still appears but it prompts you to unlock the device to view the content.

  • Christopher Bement

    I guess I'm going to have to use my JUMP! and get a Nexus 5. I'm dying.

  • blakjakdavy

    According to what's new in android, developers will be able to flag their app's notifications as public, private (so the lockscreen shows the app has a notification but not its content) or secret, so the notification is visible only after unlocking.

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      Sweet! Guess this change is made towards enterprise to improve security and confidential info

      • pfmiller

        I'm not an enterprise, but I sure as hell don't want my private communications viewable to anyone who gets there hands on my phone. This is just common sense.

  • Nathan Borup

    No multi-notification swipe away button? Lame

    • Crispin Swickard

      Same day they give an option to clear all recent apps at the same time...

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      Maybe it's just no there yet. We don't know how much time Google spent preparing this build, who knows how much stuff is missing from the final version?

  • brkshr

    I'm loving the new lockscreen! Not having to drag the notification panel down to view notifications is great. I can just glance at the screen and see all my notifications now.

  • Vinícius Philot

    I really loved the fullscreen album art on lockscreen. Not loving the media control widget.

    • Ernest

      same here,

    • a

      It's coming back. During the What's New in Android session, Dan Sandler said that he just couldn't get it ready in time for the preview release.

  • Josh Crumley

    Persistent notifications bug out when you try to swipe them away, at least for me (Steam online notification)

  • Cesar

    No fullscreen album art?

    Nope, not updating.

    • Guest

      Yeah right.

  • duse

    This is how the lock screen should've been since day one. AP, could you answer this: Does having security enabled change anything? In previous versions having a PIN or pattern enabled totally disabled the notification shade. What does it do now? No change, full notifications visible? Hides notification content? Hides all notifications entirely?

  • http://adonisk.com Adonis K.

    Why did they have to revive shadows in design? ...

  • idlukakas

    No full screen album? No widgets in the lockscreen? No music progress bar like KitKat? I'm sad.

  • SomeGuy112

    I wonder if the "L" stands for Lemon Cake. I found this picture on the Googles "Notification design for Android L" page at developers.android.com

    • mechapathy


    • harmsi

      Seems likely.

  • NF

    Will lock screen controls be implemented in the final release? Are they confirmed dead or just not in the preview?

  • Simon Belmont

    As someone who rarely uses the dialer, I'd rather have it go to Hangouts or even to Chrome. It'd be nice if this was configurable.

    I'm also sort of sad to see lock-screen widgets (and, WTF, no full-screen album art) go the way of the dodo. I used them quite a lot.

  • tyb82

    RIP Slidelock

    • Nathan Borup

      Yeah, I'm tired of trying to swipe to the side to unlock my tablet

  • Alan Paone

    Holy hell I'm glad you can turn the lockscreen notifications off. probably one of my least favourite iOS features.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    So I guess they killed off lock screen widgets because they weren't really popular, even among Google's own apps. Oh well, goodbye DashClock, looks like we won't meet ever again

    • AOSPrevails

      On phones that allow you to Maximize Widgets I have found DashClock+DashNotifier to be very useful, even superior to this Lockscreen notification implementation in L. But I guess google wants to have it their way.

  • Sir_Brizz

    I LOOOOOVE the new lockscreen. Seriously. It's awesome.

    • AOSPrevails

      It is a big step up from the old AOSP lockscreen, but I still prefer Dashclock Widget+DashNotifier+Maxmized Widget b/c the notification actually blends in with the wallpaper instead of ruining it with ugly white boxes.

      • Sir_Brizz

        I actually like the white boxes, personally.

        • AOSPrevails

          I prefer transparency, but that's personal as well.

  • Damian

    The sensivity of the notification is specified by developer, there was keynote in which they showed some new things in NotoficationCompat and that was one of them.

  • Daniel Traynor

    Twitter crashes the moment you open it.

    • Sir_Brizz

      Broken on ART.

      • Daniel Traynor

        Most probably.

        • grumpyfuzz

          you can use other twitter clients, they work.

    • http://www.bordersweather.co.uk/ Andy J

      Twitter crashes for me everytime I open it - it's been doing it to me for weeks. I'm on the Alpha testing thingy. I'm running on a Nexus 4 and I'm still on DALVIK

      • Daniel Traynor

        I was using a Nexus 5 4.4.3 Twitter Beta and have never had crashes until upgrading to Android L today.

        • ddpacino

          Already fixed this in their Beta. Sign up and update. It's working for me.

  • Philip Leaper

    Anyone having the no google now issue, install google now launcher, fine then.

  • http://www.droid-life.com/ Steve B

    Is there any chance Google will be pushing ota bug fix builds of this to those of us who are testing this?

  • lidavidm

    FYI, "sensitive" data in a notification is controlled by the app and is set via API. See http://developer.android.com/preview/api-overview.html and find "Lockscreen Notifications".

  • Melad360

    does anybody elses camera not take pictures?

  • Smartss

    I'm green with envy. Oh well I still love my M8

  • impure

    Everything's fine and good until you put a password. Hey wait, didn't they announce some Bluetooth trusted device/voice unlock thing?

  • Marty Cameron

    So that means dashclock with all the extensions are gone :/ kind of a waste

    • ddpacino

      Not at all. I use that on my main homescreen, not my lockscreen.

  • AudioAw

    I don't like how when you expand a notification to do a quick action/reply, the entire card shifts to the top as it enters the notification mode, and you then have to reach the top again to tap the reply button.

  • black

    the death of dashclock?

    • AOSPrevails

      It can still be used as a Homescreen Widget(and plenty people use it that way). But it is a big blow.

  • br_hermon

    So considering your failure to mention the "swipe up from the nav bar to access Google Now" I take it that feature is totally removed?

  • RG

    Nothing seem to be new being a HTC One user. Sense 6 has most of the upcoming L features.

  • Amardeep

    I always had a Poweramp widget on the right side of the lockscreen. That way I could start playing music without unlocking the phone. How will I be able to do that now?

  • Roh_Mish

    I really wanted lock screen widgets. Wish custom Rom brings it

  • xdapao3

    God I hope lockscreen notifications can be turned off entirely, I totally HATE them!!
    Samsung already did them (for calls and SMS/MMS messages) on my old Note 2, and my current Note 3, with the KitKat update and I IMMEDIATELY turned them off with an Xposed module!! How stupid is it to let anybody see your notifications without them touching your phone?!?!?!? I mean, when I am at a restaurant, or a friend's or relative's or GF's house or in a lot of other occasions too, I don't keep my smartphone on me, I set it on a table/furniture/wherever and so far all people can see is that I get a notification, now they can practically just glance at my phone and read it!!!!! See what it is and from who!!!!
    And BTW, give us the option of getting rid of these garbage lockscreen notifications and keeping our lockscreen widgets instead!! I am using the Chronus+ watch/weather/calendar widget on my lockscreen (and the Google Keep one) and I want to keep them!

    • Joe Micelli

      Soooo... you have per app control. You can turn off the notification content or turn off the notifications for an app all together. Also the screen doesn't turn on when you get one so someone would have to pick up your phone and turn it on.

      • xdapao3

        If you mean turning off the notifications (ANY type of notification) for a given app altogether that's of course NOT an option, I DO WANT AND NEED to be notified, naturally. If you mean turning off ONLY the fucking stupid lockscreen notications, well, that's exactly what I said I am hoping it will possible to do...

        Also, the screen, at least on my devices (And I would say on ANY device), DOES turn on when I get a call (of whichever type, cellular, Hangout, Skype etc) or an SMS...

  • Alberto

    This is the only part of L I'm not liking so far: I use lockscreen widgets way more than the dialer

  • krazyfrog

    I wish they didn't add fullscreen album art for the lockscreen. Most of the times the album art is not particularly high resolution and then it just ends up looking like garbage when stretched so much.

  • BoFiS

    UGH, I have more control, and more information on my lock screens because of lock screen widgets...and they're more attractive! I am a huge lock screen widget fan (and widgets in general) so this makes me very sad! I hope they reverse this decision because I do not want to give up on my lock screen widgets (which also let me swipe left to a dialer!)

  • I like Yogurt

    Lock screen made me HNNNGGGG.

  • Faizal

    How can i get this lock screen for apk download for note 1

  • kamiller42

    All those white squares on the lock screen really ugly things up. DashClock looks better. They need to add some transparency or something to tone things down.

  • Ian Santopietro

    I'm kind of glad that Lockscreen widgets is gone. It was always just sort of weird. There were one or two times that it was useful, and that was about it.