Android 12’s Conversations widget can change its background based on the message

Android 12’s Conversations widget can change its background based on the message

Just the other day, Google dropped the second beta release of Android 12 on us, and it brought one of the most exciting features of the new OS: color-changing backgrounds based on your wallpaper. But as we found out, there’s a whole lot more that’s new in Android 12 Beta 2, including the addition of the long-awaited Conversations widget. While playing around with the new widget, we learned it has a hidden property: Its background can change depending on the content of the message!

As we noted in our hands-on summary, the Conversations widget in Android 12 Beta 2 shows a contact’s profile picture, name, and either an icon for or the contents of the last message. Twitter user Neil Rahmouni alerted us to the fact that certain text in messages can trigger a change to the background of the Conversations widget. When the user received a message that contained 2 or more exclamation marks, the widget’s background suddenly became filled with semi-transparent exclamation marks.


We confirmed the Conversations widget indeed changes its background when a message contains 2 or more exclamation marks. We also discovered that the background can change when 2 or more question marks are contained in the message or if there’s a mix of question and exclamation marks.

Furthermore, the background also changes when there’s repeated use of an emoji.

Digging into the SystemUI of Android 12 Beta 2, we learned that the PeopleTileViewHelper class uses regular expressions to check the message for certain patterns. If there are two or more exclamation marks, two or more question marks, a mix of question and exclamation marks, or two or more of the same emoji, then that text/emoji gets applied to the widget’s background.

This is a minor feature to be sure, but it’s a nice one as it certainly grabs your attention. Code suggests the Conversations widget will also show status messages for a contact’s birthday, anniversary, “Story” update, in-game statuses, location, and more, but we have yet to see this in action. Let us know if you’ve seen a status message appear, though!

About author

Mishaal Rahman
Mishaal Rahman

I am the former Editor-in-chief of XDA. In addition to breaking news on the Android OS and mobile devices, I used to manage all editorial and reviews content on the Portal.

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