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How to: Use Lock Screen Widgets on the Samsung Galaxy S4

galaxy s4 lockscreen widgets

Lock screen widgets, one of our favorite features of Android 4.2, are indeed included on the Samsung Galaxy S4. Yes, that means all the DashClock you can handle on Sammy’s latest flagship device. Unfortunately, the process of getting them setup isn’t the easiest unless you know exactly what to look for. Out of the box, Samsung has actually disabled lock screen widgets in a sense, but with a couple of taps through Settings, you can get your device up and running them in no time.

In the video below, we take you on a detailed tour of Samsung’s take on lock screen widgets. It can be a bit finicky at times, to say the least, but once you get the hang of them, we think you’ll enjoy widgets at phone wake just as much as the rest of us who live and die with Nexus devices, do. 


Update:  Reader Kevin pointed out that with a secure lock screen enabled (like pattern or PIN), you are unable to use lock screen widgets. The options to turn them off completely disappear should you go with a secure lock screen. This is unfortunate, especially since stock Android allows you to utilize lock screen widgets with a pattern or PIN.

gs4 lockscreen

  • anchor52

    I’ve had the S4 for a few weeks. I was very close to returning it but rooted it and removed most of what I don’t like. I’m still not thrilled with it. The one thing I will say is that the camera works really well. The fact that you can’t use lock screen widgets with a pattern or pin is just another item to add to the list of annoyances. I will change the ROM once there’s a stable AOSP ROM available.

  • xmichaelx

    Just got an S4, and can’t believe how horrible the whole lock screen mess is. I can only view 1 widget at a time, I can’t use any sort of lock on it if I want to view widgets, and the selection is ridiculously limited.


    It’s a shame I’ll have to use a whole new ROM just so I can get a decent lock screen.

  • john

    Why can’t I delete the samsung music widget

  • Oh thanks, i appriciate that!http://usb3gvn.com

  • Nice, that’s helpful for me!http://usb3gvn.com

  • Liber8Me

    I want to be able to secure my phone with the PIN method, not the Swipe method, which is like having no security at all. I also want to be able to start the camera up right from the lock screen without having to type the PIN in first. Is there any possible way of doing that?

  • Nicholas Yap

    how do you get both the weather and battery status to be along side the clock in lock screen?

    • cloud628

      Is there a way to get the weather to show as it did on the galaxy s3 lockscreen???

  • I’ve used stock android for a while and looking back at the features in the software of touchwiz, its a great UI, and I don’t understand why everyone hates it so much.

  • So those of us with required security settings from work are SOL.


  • And HTC has allowed it for years!

  • Thats just one ugly interface. I can see how average people might not care much, but makes people like me appreciate the work done by the Dev community with custom roms.

  • have this on my 2 year old galaxy nexus already!

    • Detonation

      2 year old phone that’s only been out a year and a half eh?

  • John Burke

    I’ll stick with WidgetLocker, thanks though.

  • joejoe5709

    Gorgeous phone, wish it was a Nexus!

    Sammy’s locksreen widgets seem to be a decent version. I like the personal messages. But I loves me some DashClock even more… 🙂

  • kevin

    Two things I have noticed with this. You cant use lockscreen widgets with pattern lock or any type of security enabled like you can in stock android (hate this because I really was looking forward to have dashclock as my default lockscreen) Also it seems that Dashclock wont pick up unread text messages from the stock messaging app.

    • sirmeili

      It picks up my text messages just fine on my gNex, maybe it’s an issue with the s4?

      • kevin

        well ya thats what I was getting at. It picked it up just fine on my rooted gs3 but Im thinking because I was running the aosp messaging app. I could be wrong but I dont think it can pick up text from the samsung messaging app just yet. Bottom line is it does not pick up text from the GS4

        • sirmeili

          Gotcha…that sucks…You could try installing sliding messenger..I think it picks up from that as it has it’s own extension for DashClock (but clicking it will take you to sliding messenger instead of your stock messaging app)

          • kevin

            Ya thats true. But that kinda brings me to my first point. You cant use lockscreen widgets when having things such as a passcode or a pattern on the phone. As much as I love Dashclock I dont want to sacrifice security for it which sucks because lockscreen widgets use to work just fine with pattern locks on stock android :/

          • Fattie McDoogles

            This is the first phone that’s not a Nexus to receive 4.2. We just have to wait for an update. Give the device a chance to release and the guys working on DashClock to update it. It’ll be like this with all phones as they move to 4.2

          • kevin

            Oh ya for sure I have no doubt they will work on it soon enough. The devs are amazing and I could not ask for abetter app. Im just kinda irked at samsung for making it that I cant use the thing with a pattern lock but oh well beggars cant be choosers. Regardless of that one small detail i still love the phone!

          • Fattie McDoogles

            How do you know that you can’t use it with a pattern lock? Did Kellen say that in the video? If so I definitely missed that.

          • kevin

            He did not say it in the Video but I have gotten my GS4 yesterday and trust me I have tried a numerous amount of times. He did not mention it in the video but I dont think a lot of people are aware of it yet.

  • myGSIIIxd

    maybe 0.0001% of phone users want a metal phone with stock Android and no hard buttons. Well the bulk of customers (me included) want hardware buttons, LOVE TouchWiz, and like the nice and light plastic Sammy uses. At least that is what I assume since they’re the biggest phone seller in the world now. They must do the market research. Every comments section here is “no on-screen buttons, plastic case, custom UI, epic fail, will never sell.” Reminds me of the people comparing the first iPod to an Archos jukebox or whatehaveyou. Look how that went. Instead how about we focuse on how Samsung is one of the last manufacturers to give you the fastest phone with removable battery, SD slot, and TONS of sensors (barometer, thermometer, coolometer, ok made that up). This thing is awesome, except for the crappy pentile / dim OLED screen. I am really trying to not buy this GS 4 but I might have to lol. This thing looks AWESOME. I got the GS III just to keep data but darn I really like TouchWiz. (Rooted though) Kellen or someone one question though.. can these widgets work with a Gesture lockscreen?

    • Detonation

      Glad there is at least one other person here that realizes companies make phones to appeal to the mass public, not the tiny communities like this.

    • Diablo81588

      The Galaxy phones are popular for two reasons. Global availability and marketing dollars. It has nothing to do with their stupid home buttons, ugly touchwiz or feather light cheap plastic.

      • EC8CH

        what that guy just said.

        Fine you like the home button on the phone, I can respect that… but the buttons on their Tablets are just ridiculous.

      • Buck

        Your clever use of adjectives has not swayed my opinion, friend. I like their handy home button, intuitive touchwiz, and feather light, durable, easily replaceable (if need be) polycarbonate plastic.

        • Buck

          Oh, and as a techie since the early 90s, I’m well-past the point where I can be swayed by marketing on tech. I bought the S4 because 1) it’s insanely fast, 2) it’s intuitive to use, 3) lots of useful features (I don’t use all of them, but I like that I get to pick and choose), 4) polycarbonate is a far superior phone build material to aluminum or glass, 5) huge screen, 6) replaceable battery, 7) the ability to add additional SD storage, etc. Actually, the HTC One would have been my second choice, but HTC burned me too bad on my Thunderbolt (never again, HTC). As for iPhone, well, I’ve owned two iPhones and I’m glad they’re still making good products, but I generally prefer more customization options in my phones.
          Finally, I had stock Android (Ice Cream Sandwich) on my tablet and it was fine, but I wasn’t as impressed as I thought I would be.

  • Thomas

    The TouchWiz & Plastic comments are getting soooo old. Please people let’s get some new material.

    • Maybe they should just make touchWiz not suck or just run stock.

      • hot_spare

        Yes, maybe when stock sells 215 million phones in a year. Unless google can prove that stock is a selling point, I don’t think Samsung is going to move away from TW.

        It’s all about sales. Samsung will do anything that sells more. I am sure they don’t care a single bit about what we write in the forums. We may like it, doesn’t mean it will sell.

        All people comment about how great stock AOSP/WP looks. Did any of them make any serious dent in the market share? Only 2 companies which is now successful (referring to Apple and Samsung) are using a UI which everyone says as dated. Yet they continue to sell millions every single day. They must be doing something right. They can’t all be wrong and still make billions every quarter.

        • michael arazan

          First they have to release a stock device once to see if people will buy it. I would.

    • Shane Redman

      Old……..yet still valid.

    • ceejw

      I don’t think anyone really cares that it’s made out of plastic, they care that it looks and feels terrible. The One X and Lumia 920 are made of plastic and they’re constantly praised for their hardware design and build quality.

  • Sorry, but a simple launcher will not remove all the Touchwiz stench from a Galaxy phone. People confuse Touchwiz with it being a launcher, it’s much more than that.

    • Fattie McDoogles

      As much as people complain about it, and to be honest the Touchwiz launcher does suck, but what makes this phone great is Touchwiz. As much as you can complain about it this phone wouldn’t be anywhere near as good if it didn’t have all the features that Touchwiz adds. Otherwise you might as well get a Nexus 4 and call it a day.

      • Shane Redman

        but I don’t want a nexus 4, I want this phone’s hardware with google’s software as intended.

        • Fattie McDoogles

          What’s really that different about the hardware? The larger screen? Plastic instead of glass? that’s really it. They are both quad cores with 2GB’s of RAM.

          • NexusPhan69

            Removable battery, SD card, camera are huge in this game.

          • Fattie McDoogles

            But if you want Stock Android those are things that you have to give up. That’s why Nexus devices don’t come with them. Well expandable storage that is. You really can’t charge your phone?

          • NexusPhan69

            It has nothing to do with that. Its all to do with being able to do a battery pull to kill the phone instead of having to wait for the battery to lose its charge from boot looping for a week when tinkering. Should be number one requirement for a nexus phone.

          • Fattie McDoogles

            If it’s bootlooping you just press and hold the power button and the volume down button and it will reboot into the bootloader.

          • NexusPhan69

            I know how to get into the bootloader. It’s when it gets stuck and can’t make it to the bootloader or do anything other than say ‘google’. Happened to me twice. Both times doing foolish things but still.

          • Shane Redman

            actually, i just want the camera and larger battery than the one in my gnex 🙁

  • Classic Samsung, taking something that works perfectly fine and breaking it.

    • Fattie McDoogles

      What did they break? I know Touchwiz is deeper than just a launcher but what outside of that and lockscreen widgets did they really break? Most of the stuff they have added in Touchwiz is a plus, not the gimmicky gestures and motion controls but the camera and its software and all the other customizations that aren’t in Stock Android are improvements that Google hopefully will continue to add just as they added notification toggles.

  • Dan Yarger

    How about widget locker instead?

    • Fattie McDoogles

      What about it? It doesn’t do lockscreen widgets either… well at least not the way Google does them.

  • LiterofCola

    If this didn’t come with Touchwiz, I would seriously consider it.

    • Shane Redman

      So with you on this

  • Choco Cooky is about as ugly as Comic Sans

  • EC8CH

    And you know Android is only going to get better, if you take him at his word, we are less than half way through Matias’s overhaul of the Android UI.

    • Fattie McDoogles

      I actually love a lot of the features that Touchwiz adds… I just wish we could have the Holo look that comes with Stock Android. Kind of like what Moto did with the last few Droid phones and Blur.

  • Not as nice as DashClock but nice to have.

    • Fattie McDoogles

      That was Dash Clock he was using…