With the arrival of Android 12 and Material You theming, it’s time to take a look at how to add and customize widgets once again. No, it’s not that the process has necessarily changed an awful lot. In fact, it should be intuitive to most users. But, for those who need some extra help, that’s what this guide is here for.
Here’s how you can get to your widgets on Android 12
The process to add widgets to your home screen hasn’t changed much in the past several updates, and the same holds for Android 12. But that doesn’t mean a refresher can’t be helpful. Especially since Android 12, more than ever, makes it possible to have unified theming and customization with the widgets you add to your home screen. So let’s dive, first and foremost, into how you can go about adding them, to begin with.
- Unlock your smartphone, if it isn’t already, and navigate to the home screen or page of the home screen that you’d like the widget to appear on
- Press and hold with one finger on an empty space within the home screen page. If there isn’t empty space, you may need to remove or rearrange icons on the page
- In the resulting menu, which may vary in location depending on your smartphone’s OEM, select the “Widgets” or similar option
- Android 12 will showcase apps with available widgets in-line in a single, scrollable column. Scroll to find the widget you’d like to use. For our example, we’re utilizing the “Conversations” widget
- Select the app, which will extend a category showing available widgets for the app. Some apps have multiple widgets which do multiple things. Typically, that’ll include a description of what the widget does. Or the widget will be self-explanatory, based on the naming convention used in the widget. For instance, the Conversations widget only shows one option, called “Conversation.” The widget shows conversations that the user selects.
- Ensure that the widget will fit on the home screen. Just below the widget title, the widget picker shows two numbers. In the case of Conversation, that’s 3 x 1. Denoting that the widget takes up three spaces horizontally and one vertically
- After deciding on a widget, tap and hold the widget to pick it up, then drag the widget to place it on your home screen. Other apps and widgets will, if enough room is available, rearrange themselves automatically to accommodate the new widget. Or, if there is no room, you’ll need to move the widget to another page by holding the widget along the left- or right-hand side of the screen. Conversely, you can also move other elements on the page and then go through the process of selecting the widget again. If you really need or want the widget to be on a specific screen, you can also always drop the widget on a blank space on another page and then move it later by tapping and dragging it after creating space for it
- Some widgets, at this point, will display additional options. Our Conversation widget shows a list of contacts whose conversations will display in the widget. Other widgets may display entirely different options such as colors, details to display, and the shape of the widget. Select the options that work best for your home screen setup and your widget
- Your widget should now appear on the home screen where you’ve placed it
Some widgets can be customized, here’s how
Now, it’s important to note that not all widgets are customizable. In fact, some widgets — even in Android 12 — can’t even be resized. Although most can. Regardless, if you’re looking to change something about an app’s widget after placing it on your home screen, this segment of the guide is here to help. As long as the app you’re working with supports it.
How to resize a widget in Android 12
- Select a widget that’s been added to your home screen by long-pressing on the widget and then releasing. As shown in the images below, we’re using two widgets to showcase differences in how widgets show information based on size. For those that can be resized. The selected widget will show four interactive dots in the lines surrounding the widget itself
- Tap, hold and drag any one of the dots surrounding the selected widget in any direction to resize the widgets. As shown in the images below, some widgets will show more information or less, depending on which direction you’ve dragged the edges. And, in some cases, they’ll also re-color, although it’s not quite clear yet what the trigger for that it and ours didn’t re-color in our example widgets
How to customize widgets that support it
- To adjust deeper widget settings and customization, tap and drag the widget up to the top-right-hand corner. Specifically, to the gear-shaped icon. Conversely, you may also tap, hold, and then release before tapping the pencil-shaped edit button or other UI shown within the widget itself
- The screen that appears next will vary from widget to widget. Some showcase a plethora of options for details to be showcased in the widget or interactive elements. Our Conversation widget returns us to the screen shown above for selecting a conversation to be shown in the widget