Pixel phones have become pretty customizable thanks to the Pixel Themes app first introduced with Android 10, but there's one part of the Pixel skin that you can't tweak too much — the lock screen. The Android 10 beta suggested that we might get some custom clocks at some point, but when the OS went stable, no traces of alternative clocks were left. That might change with Android 12. It looks like Google will include Pixel-exclusive lock screen clocks.
XDA is on a tear today, releasing piles of details divined about the upcoming Android 12 release. Among those planned is a general UI refresh for Android 12, seemingly overdue given the dialed-back changes in Android 11 last year. Beyond the new theming tweaks that have already been discussed, we can look forward to some lock screen tweaks (including adjustments to the Pixel's always-on display), notification and Quick Settings panel adjustments, an unknown "letterboxing" feature for framing apps inside a window, dynamic splash screens, and more, including an abstract "Material NEXT" aesthetic beyond current Material Theme designs.
Chrome OS has always required you to hit the enter key or click the submit button to confirm your PIN code at the login screen. Adding an extra step to the login flow is a security-preserving measure that slows down snooping attackers from guessing your password. Still, some users prefer the convenience of signing in automatically after entering the correct PIN. In the most recent Chrome OS Beta channel update, Chrome OS will now offer to confirm your PIN automatically.
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With over a decade under its belt, Android has built a long history as Google's mobile operating system. And in that history are dozens of little features, changes, and updates that have added, removed, or modified aspects of that OS in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. But for every new option Google brings to Android, we're probably forgetting one that been in there for years that we've simply not bothered to use in a while. And in some cases, these are pretty genuinely useful things!
Remember you can use two fingers to swipe down for quick settings? Screen pinning? Lock screen messages?
Dozens of Pixel owners are reporting that they can't authenticate into their devices because every time they put their PIN in, the phone loops them back to the lock screen. The issue, which was first reported on the Pixel Phone Help forum nearly a month ago, seems to be affecting Pixel XLs the most, though there have been mentions of other Pixel, Pixel 2, and Pixel 3 series devices. So far, product experts have been encouraging affected users to escalate the issue with Google directly or reset their device from recovery.
Advertising has a time and a place, and the place is never on the lock screen of a smartphone you paid a lot of money for. As if Huawei didn't need more negative publicity right now, the company has seemingly begun allowing advertisements for Booking.com on the lock screens of several of its phones.
The Android Q Betas have had a ton of major changes, both in the interface and in the APIs that applications use. However, there are some changes so minor that they aren't quite important enough for a dedicated post. We already covered the little changes in Beta 1 and 2, so now it's time to take a close look at Beta 3.
Depending on what you do with your phone, you might not want other unauthorized people to see notification contents on your lock screen. Android has got you covered – the feature to hide sensitive information first surfaced on Android Lollipop and has been with us ever since. In the recently released Q Beta 4, it has changed a bit – you can now only choose to hide sensitive content when your phone's screen is locked. If it's unlocked, it will simply show all notifications.
There are quite a few new features (and some removed functionality) present in the first beta of Android Q — we've documented around 50 major changes already. There are also plenty of smaller tweaks that don't warrant separate coverage, so we're going over them here. Without further ado, here all of the smaller changes in Android Q Beta 1.
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.