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How to: Setup Lockscreen Widgets in Android 4.2 [Beginners’ Guide]

lockscreen widgets1

When Google introduced Android 4.2, they announced an old feature, but in a new way. Once you were running this new version of Android, you had the ability to add select widgets to the lockscreen of your phone. In the past, you had always been able to utilize the widget power of Bugdroid on home screens, but expanding to your lockscreen gave you a new world of possibilities. Funny thing is, that third party lockscreen replacements have allowed this for years, so some of us were already used to the idea. For those not, this guide is for you. 

One thing to understand before we dive into this, is the fact that Google has only touched on the initial possibilities here. You are only allowed to add one widget per page on the lockscreen, plus arranging and managing is somewhat of a nuisance at times.


1.  Upon unlocking your device, you should see white box outlines to the left and right (image top left).
2.  If you touch the left edge of your device, you can swipe over and see a blank page with a “+” on it.
3.  Tap the “+” to bring up the widget menu.
4.  Find the widget you were looking for and tap on it.
5.  That widget should now be added to one of your lockscreen pages.

Those are the simplest of instructions, but I still want to highlight some of the other tricks when it comes to Android 4.2 lockscreen widgets.

Getting the Most Out of Widgets

First, if you have a full page widget, like the Beautiful Widgets clock I have below, your lockscreen will hide most of the info on it until you decide to access it. As you can see in the image below, you can actually swipe down on the clock, pulling the white box with you, to unveil a full clock with weather and forecast. This also works with widgets like the Calendar and Gmail.

If you have multiple pages of widgets on your lockscreen, you can swipe to the left to access them, just as you would on a normal home screen. Again, remember that a swipe down to begin this process will help show all of your widget’s info.
Once you have swiped down, you will need to swipe the white box back up in order to get to your unlock mechanism. Also, a swipe to the right side from your main lock page is an easy way to jump directly into your camera app.

lockscreen widgets2

Removing/Rearranging Widgets

To remove a widget, you will first need to swipe down on the widget page to reveal the entire widget. After you have done that, you can simply long-press and hold on the page that you want to remove. Once held properly, your phone will zoom out to a card view, showing you with a grasp on the widget you want to delete, which then allows you to drag up to remove. This is also a great way to rearrange widgets.

Third Party Widgets

Stock Android only comes with a handful of widgets like Calendar, Sound Search, Gmail, Clock, etc. If you want even more options, you are likely to find them in some of your favorites apps. As I mentioned earlier, Beautiful Widgets has been built to take advantage of lockscreen widgets, as have other clock and weather applications. For example, I have a full page clock with weather on it along with another page that’s a shortcut to a flashlight app. If you have an app that has a widget currently, there is a good chance that the developer has built in lockscreen support. If not, suggest that they do.

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  • DanSan

    the lockscreens in the pictures, were they done with beautiful widgets? if so what options did u do to build the lock screen widget in the middle photo?

  • MKader17

    Does anyone else hate this feature? I’ve been running 4.2 for months and I still naturally unlock the phone while attempting to get to the camera. After than it’s not worth re-locking and doing it the correct way.

  • Marco Agas

    For ultimate Android customization check out MyColorScreen.com, as well as it’s YouTube channel 🙂

  • I just wish you could do more than one widget at a time….

    • I’m with you on that. I’d guess we’ll be able to before long.

  • Guest

    Can you add lockscreen widgets when using the latest version of touch wiz?

    • S2556

      no there is no touchwiz on 4.2 available. TW is on 4.1

  • Gr8Ray

    I just wish I could disable the widgets altogether, or at least lock it down. I hate seeing that stupid empty frame off to the left every time I wake my tablet. Fugly.

    • I do hate the glowing that occurs each time you press your unlock button. Thankfully, there is an that disables them.

      • “Thankfully, there is an that disables them.”

        Option? App? Guidance is appreciated.

  • Capt. Crunch

    There are beginners that have Android 4.2?

    • I think the Nexus lineup is up to 4.2, isn’t it?

      • Capt. Crunch

        Yep but most people that have a Nexus device are experienced android users. Especially because of how hard Nexus devices are to get. The average consumer won’t jump through all those hoops just to get a Nexus 4.

        • jayray78

          Sometimes its helpful to read things from a different point of view. Maybe there is a small feature that you didn’t realize was there.

  • you should show people how to properly use Google Picture and Video instant upload services…which IMO is a lifesaver for those that have low storage space and constantly flashing roms.

  • Brandon

    I’d love to get the 3-way lockscreen from ICS back.

  • Just an FYI, you dont need to “swipe up” your box to get the lock ring back, just tap the lock icon and it will “swipe up” for you.

    • Ahh good point. Guess I’m just so used to swiping back up. Navigating around these lockscreen widgets is a giant pain the rear.

  • Will this work to get rid of the Camera shortcut that’s in CM10.1?

  • antwonw

    You should do a “How to: Create a Google+ Hangout on your phone”. It would help parents and other people new to Android + show them the beauty of Google+ Hangouts.

    • michael arazan

      Trying to get my parents and brother to use Hangouts too to contact me with their Nexus devices when there is a problem for me to fix, that way they can just show me over video chat instead of me having to come over and look at the problem. Now we just need Vzw to update their phones to 4.2