Google Planned a Way to Bypass Ambient Display with Wake Gestures in Android 8.0
Ambient Display as a feature on Android has evolved quite a bit over time since it was pioneered by Motorola. Phones from companies like Google and OnePlus have a simple toggle for the feature that will turn on the display when you receive a notification. They also offer double tap to wake and lift gestures that allow you to show the ambient display mode before the lock screen. On the other hand, some OEMs such as LG have had double tap to wake features for years now, though in their case these gestures typically bypass ambient display and go straight to the full lock screen interface.
Compare that to the wake gestures on Google’s phones where you have to perform additional steps if you want to get to the lock screen. Some new Pixel owners were annoyed by this since LG handles it differently, but others appreciate it as they simply use this gesture to check the time and/or notifications.
However, we’ve discovered some new commits that reveal that Google was potentially considering a different direction with their wake gestures compared to what they’re seemingly working on now. At one point, the company was actually working on letting the user bypass Ambient Display mode entirely and launch straight to the full lock screen when the user double taps or lifts the device. This toggle would be tucked away with the other SystemUI Tuner settings, but after the team did some tests with this feature they decided to remove it entirely.
Sadly, they do not go into detail about why this feature was removed from the platform (at least none that the public can see), but it does show that they were working on adding it to Android. Maybe we will see this implemented in the future, perhaps through cherry picking from custom ROM developers.