Android not only offers a lot of new AI-driven processing capabilities, but it also adds a little flare to the quality of life department. With the addition of Material You, wallpapers mesh well with the UI adding a cohesiveness that many people love about their Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. In addition, Google’s widgets play along well and are easy to customize, allowing you to tailor the Android 12 experience even better.
Widgets are nothing new to Android and even exist on iOS in some capacity. In the most basic terms, they are a button or status indicator that displays information from its app. For instance, most weather apps provide widgets when they are downloaded from the Google Play Store, showing temperature, wind speeds, and any other necessary information you’d want to see at a glance. Widgets can also be placed nearly anywhere on the home screen amongst app icons.
As Android 12 incorporates Material You into the UI, the widgets that tag along with this release are tailored to match the wallpaper you choose. In effect, a palette is generated for whatever background is set. Those colors are derived from the tones in the photo chosen. When a widget that is Material You capable is placed on the home screen, it will change colors to better match the wallpaper. At the moment, first-party Google apps with Material You widgets include:
Weather (Google app)
Some of the widgets that Google provides are customizable, allowing you to change the outline shape and style. For example, there are two main clock widgets: analog and digital. The digital can either have a solid background or a transparent one, allowing you to optimize your homescreen based on how noisy your wallpaper is. You can also choose whether you want the numbers stacked on top of each other or not. The analog clock widget comes in a few different forms: scalloped, clover, numeral, and day.
First, in order to add a widget to the home screen, long tap on your wallpaper. A small menu will appear – tap Widgets. Depending on how many apps you have installed, the menu may be quite long. After tapping the app you want to get a widget from, a dropdown menu will appear with either one or a few widgets. Hold and drag the item you want, and you’ll be taken to the homescreen to choose an empty space to put it.
Some widgets are customizable from the homescreen. You’ll know if it is by long pressing on it until it pops up. After letting go, there may be a small pencil in the bottom right corner of the widget. Press the pencil and you’ll be taken to a style screen where you can choose the look of the widget. A good example of a customizable widget is, again, the clock widget.
Another way to customize is by adjusting size. Some of Google’s widgets in Android 12 change shape depending on how much space you give them. For example, the weather widget under “Google” in the widget menu will take a couple of forms depending on size. In a 2 x 2 square, the weather widget will have an angled bubble shape with the temperature and cloud cover. In a 2 x 1, the widget will be a wide bubble with the same indicators. When the widget is 3 x 2, the widget will be a wide bubble that also shows the information source and the highs and lows for the day.
Widgets in Android 12 are an overall extremely useful tool to have on your homescreen. Having weather, time, and photos right when you open your phone makes for a comforting and familiar experience. The best way to get to know the widgets in Android 12 is to play around with them. Adjusting size and customizing the widgets will let you make them look just how you like them.
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