Can Android apps work with a locked screen?

Phone screen lock

Security is the obvious reason to lock your screen but can impede your convenience to a certain extent. Be it checking the status updates, an incoming email or WhatsApp messages; it can get tedious to unlock your phone every time. Having a simple password or pattern defeats the purpose of having one.

So, you could be wondering if there exists a workaround that would not just save you the hassle of continuous unlocking, but also keep your phone safe. Well, Android lock-screen widgets are the answer. Though they have around for a while, you may find only a few apps that can take advantage of this attractive feature of your Android phone.

As exciting as it may sound, the lock screen widgets let you access the respective apps without the hassle of keying in your passwords or patterns. For instance, if you wish to access your messages, you can do it with one swipe. However, it also means anyone who gets hold of your phone will also be able to see those messages, but of course, won’t be able to read them in full and send a response, as it will require unlocking.

As various Google apps such as Gmail and Google+ have a widget of their own, you can access them all with one swipe. Apparently, you first have to enable the respective lock screen widgets on your device, and it’s quite easy. Get to the Settings and tap the Security option. Next, under the ‘Screen security’ option, tap and enable the Widget box. But before that, you need to have your screen lock in place for these widgets to appear.

Once you have the screen lock, you’d notice that swiping left on it would activate the camera. Moreover, swiping will let you add a new widget by tapping the icon with a ‘plus’ sign. You can add up to five widgets can even configure them further. Let’s have a look at some of the widgets of the apps that work without having to unlock your screen.

Twitter and WhatsApp

Unlock your phone to view each tweet is one of the monotonous things to do, especially, if you receive hundreds of them every day. Similar is the case with WhatsApp chat messages and notifications.

By placing the Twitter app’s widget on the lock screen, you would be able to view the recent tweets from your timeline as well as the tweets that mention you. The WhatsApp widget shows the list of incoming messages or each message notification at a time.

Other popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram do not offer this facility as of now but could add them soon.

Emails and Hangouts

Gmail and Google+ being Google’s apps, and it comes as a no surprise if their lock screen widgets are one of the best of the lot. Gmail has numerous options available, and discovering them by toggling the options can add to the fun. For instance, you can even choose the particular label that you wish to appear on the screen and that can be synced automatically.

So is the case with the Hangouts, where you can select the specific mail folder apart from the inbox, and even arrange the messages as per the date or any other sort option.

Time, Calendar and Weather

Most smartphone users today go around without a wrist-watch. It’s because not only does their phone shows them the time but also the displays a to-do list of activities that are pending or have to be performed.

Again, with a host of widgets that display time, you don’t have to unlock your phone at every instance to know the time and the related activities. Also, you can have a glance at the weather with some cool HD widgets that display the weather info in real time.

There are many more apps that you’d love to access without having to unlock the screen. The Sound Search tool integrated into the latest version of Android is an example, which lets you find the name of a song playing close by. Having the option to launch it quickly can be handy for most music lovers. Similarly, having a widget of an app that lets you access your playlist of favorite tunes without having to type the password can be highly convenient.

Lastly, users must know that the lock screen has its purpose, and allowing a mobile app to be accessed directly can invite unwanted risk. Moreover, if the app contains sensitive or personal info, it’s advisable to keep it safe behind the screen lock, and even add an extra passcode to it.