Google prepares to add Pixel-exclusive lock screen clocks in Android 12
While AOSP has had a robust theming system for years, it took until the Android 10 release for Google to finally take advantage of it for theming on Pixel phones. With Android 10, Google introduced the Pixel Themes app accessible from the “Styles & wallpapers” shortcut in the Pixel Launcher. Apart from customizing the icon shape, accent color, and font, the Pixel Themes app also lets you change the Pixel Launcher’s grid size. However, we’ve known for years that Google is also working on adding new lock screen clocks. Based on new evidence, we believe it’s likely that Google will finally introduce new lock screen clocks in Android 12 as a Pixel-exclusive feature.
Back in 2019, we learned that Google was working on 3 different lock screen clock presets, including a text clock, a bubble clock, and a stretch analog clock. Google removed these lock screen clocks from the stable release, and to this day, they are no longer present in the SystemUI app.
Before they were removed, Android 10 had 3 different hidden clock options.
However, ahead of the release of the first Android 12 Developer Preview, we revealed that Google has been working behind-the-scenes to improve this feature. After DP1 dropped, we also gave you the first look at what’s possibly the new UI for the lock screen in Android 12. We speculated that the new layout and enlarged clock were intended to make it easy to swap the default digital clock for other clock options.
Android 12’s new, in-development lock screen interface
After a bit of digging, we learned that Google updated the WallpaperPicker app in Android 12 with new code related to custom lock screen clocks. Examining the code, we learned that the Pixel Themes app won’t show the “clock” tab at the bottom if an app with the package name matching the value of “clocks_stub_package” is not installed. The value of “clocks_stub_package” currently matches “com.google.pixelcustomclocks”, which suggests that Google is working on a separate package containing custom lock screen clocks. Given the “com.google” namespace and the presence of “pixel” in the package name, this app will likely be preinstalled exclusively on Pixel phones running Android 12. Unfortunately, this package is not currently present in Android 12 Developer Preview 1, so we do not know which lock screen clock options will be available.
We’ll keep an eye out for the app to appear in future Developer Previews and Betas, but there’s no guarantee it’ll be added before the stable release. In any case, we finally know the feature hasn’t been abandoned and may appear among the many, many other UI changes coming to Android 12. If you don’t own a Pixel phone, then you’ll be happy to know that there’s an open-source version of this feature, but your OEM may have to develop their own clock faces.