Between the launch of iOS 16, Glance’s upcoming expansion of lock screen content in the US, and updates to widgets for Google’s Pixel phone, it’s clear that the lock screen is about to change.
Why it matters
The lock screen is the first thing most people see when they pick up their phone. These updates indicate that companies are trying to make better use of this space.
What will be next
Apple’s iOS 16 update will officially launch in the fall, and it just hit public beta on Monday. Glance did not give a timeline for his American debut.
Think about how many times you check yoursdaily. Now consider the first thing you see when you pick up your device: the lock screen wallpaper. Maybe it’s a photo of your pet, a picture of a beautiful sunset from a recent vacation, or just a great piece of art. All this may change very soon.
The lock screen has long been considered an intimate space reserved for personal photos, important notifications and tools like the flashlight. But companies are increasingly looking to do more with these valuable real estates, and it showsand more changes are reportedly coming .
Apple iOS 16 update whichon Monday will bring more customization options and new widgets to the iPhone’s lock screen when it arrives this fall. You’ll be able to quickly see more information and apply stylistic effects to your lock screen photos, similar to the iPhone Portrait mode shooting feature.
Glance, the Google-backed mobile ad subsidiary of InMobi, also reiterated its plans to bring the lock screen platform to the US. And Google is reportedly planning to incorporate more bits of information into its own lock screen widget for Pixel phones.
Taken together, such changes suggest that we may not want to scroll past lock screens so quickly in the future.
The iPhone lock screen is getting a big upgrade
One of the biggest features coming in iOS 16 is. Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, called it “the biggest update ever” when he introduced the update on . You’ll be able to customize font styles and colors for the date and time, in addition to giving your background photo a magazine cover aesthetic.
As I wrote earlier, these are really new widgets that will bring more useful features to the iPhone lock screen. iPhone already allows widgets to be placed on the secondary screen of the Today view, accessed by swiping to the right.
But iOS 16 adds widgets to the main lock screen to display bits of information at a glance, like the temperature, Apple Watch activity rings, and upcoming calendar appointments. Android phones have been offering this type of feature for years, and it’s nice to seefollow. You can even create multiple lock screens and cycle through them, similar to Apple Watch watch faces.
Since you can add widgets from apps like Spotify, Google Maps, and Outlook to the iPhone display today, I wouldn’t be surprised if third-party widgets were also available for the new lock screen. If you watch Apple’s WWDC demo closely, you might even see a Nike widget option. This means developers may soon have another way to reach iPhone owners and prevent their apps from burrowing deep into a user’s app library.
It’s impossible to know how useful this new lock screen will be without spending a significant amount of time with iOS 16. But as I wrote earlier, it sounds like iOS 16’s new widgets will make your iPhone look similar to, which looks like an upgrade. Like the Apple Watch, the new lock screen should make it easier to see essential information without digging around in apps or even unlocking the phone.
Android phone owners may soon have new lock screen options
Glance, which offers entertainment and other digital content on the lock screens of some Android devices in India and Southeast Asia, is in talks with wireless carriers to launch it in the US within the next two months, TechCrunch reports. While the company hasn’t revealed its US launch timing or other details, it did provide a glimpse of its US lock screen offering on Monday.
Glance’s lock screen comes in the form of what it calls “spaces,” which are essentially customized lock screens designed to fit specific themes. A fitness-focused lock screen, for example, would display stats like calories burned and exercise goals alongside a music player. A news “space” would show headlines and weather, while a music version could appear at live concerts. It reminds me of how the new iPhone lock screen in iOS 16 can be linked to different “focuses” such as work or personal mode.
TechCrunch’s report about Glance coming to the US raised concerns that ads would also be coming to the lock screen. Glance’s business page shows examples of advertisers who have used its platform to reach potential customers on the first screen they see when they pick up the phone. Intel, Zomato and Garnier are among the case studies cited.
But Rohan Choudhary, vice president and general manager of the Glance channel, told CNET that the US version will be ad-free.
“We are absolutely clear that in the US we will not have ads on the lock screen at all,” he said.
The company also released a press release on Monday saying it “does not intend to display ads on the surface of the lock screen.” But Glance will have to prove that its lock screen offerings provide more value than the many widgets and other options already available to Android users. It will also need to find the right balance of displaying information that is useful without being too distracting.
The company says it plans to monetize its service through newsletter subscriptions and business links from shopping platforms that appear through Glance. However, these tips will need to be useful and relevant, or they could end up being just as intrusive to you as the ads. The company claims it has a 60% retention rate and can be found on 400 million phones in the markets where it currently operates.
Meanwhile, Google has its own means of making the lock screen more useful. Company features At first glance fordisplays relevant information on the lock screen when possible, just as the name suggests. A recent report from 9to5Google suggests that new goodies may soon be visible in this widget. Ride-sharing updates from apps like Lyft and Uber could be among the new notifications available in At a Glance, perhaps making it even easier to see urgent notifications on the lock screen.
Regardless of the implementation, these expected changes prove that the lock screen needs an update. As our phones have evolved into hubs for accessing information, controlling home appliances and ordering everything from taxis to full grocery orders, the lock screen has taken on a new important role. Simply displaying timely alerts is not enough.
Whether it’s the new widgets in iOS 16, updates to the Pixel’s At a Glance feature, or Glance’s lock screen “gaps,” the goal seems to be the same: to improve our lock screens while organizing the barrage of notifications and updates bombarding our phones every day. It remains to be seen how successful these attempts will be.