When you play music (or other audio with art) on Android, the lock screen background changes to the audio's art. This effect was added back in Android 4.4 KitKat, but it might be going away soon. In the Android Q beta, the lock screen background switches to a blurred image when playing music.

It's difficult to describe what effect is actually being used here. It changes based on the artwork, but if it's a blurred version of the notification's image, then there seem to be additional filters. For example, when playing an album with only black and white on the artwork, the lock screen is a shade of green.

If it was simply a blurred version of the art, I don't think it would look too bad, but the current effect isn't super appealing. Either way, it looks a bit like the frosted glass aesthetic that Apple has been using on iOS for some time.

As pointed out by reader Joshua, the strange filter effect only occurs when using Google Play Music. When playing media from any other app, the background blurs correctly.

The same album in Spotify (left) and Google Play Music (right)

Mishaal Rahman from XDA Developers pointed out on Twitter that Play Music's implementation isn't a bug:

  • Thanks:
  • Zachary