Android 14 will add more customization to your home and lock screens

New features for creating custom wallpapers will arrive separate of the update.


When Android 14 arrives later this year, it will bring new customization features to Google's mobile operating system. On Wednesday at the company's I/O developer conference, VP of Engineering at Android David Burke showed off a handful of new features for creating custom wallpapers. The tools build on the Material You design system Google introduced in 2021 by allowing users to create a custom wallpaper by picking a few of their favorite emojis. One of the new tools allows you to add up to 14 emojis to a single wallpaper. You can then pick a pattern and a color to bring everything together. Once the wallpaper is on your home screen, the characters will react when you tap on them.

If you want something more sentimental, there's a separate option to create "Cinematic" wallpapers. The feature uses on-device neural networks to animate your favorite photos. Once the photo is on your home screen, tilting your device will cause it to move, giving the image more depth and life than it would have had you not used the new feature. Burke said both cinematic and emoji wallpapers would arrive on Pixel devices next month.

Come the fall, Google will also introduce a built-in AI image generator within Android's customization menu. You can use the tool to create wallpapers you can't find online. It comes with pre-populated prompts you can tweak to make the process of guiding the AI easier. Once you add an AI wallpaper to your home screen, Android's Material You system will automatically color-match all the user interface elements, including any app icons, so they don't clash with one another.

Android 14 will further augment those tools with the addition of new clocks and shortcuts you can add to your lock screen. And if colors aren't your thing, Google also plans to add a new monochromatic theme for those who prefer a more understated look. At I/O, Burke also previewed Magic Compose, a Messages feature that will use Google's generative AI technology to write texts for you. The tool comes with multiple style settings you can use to give your messages a different flair. Google plans to beta test Magic Compose this summer.

Separately, Google said after the keynote that Android 14 will add support for Ultra HDR, allowing for photos that feature more vivid colors and detailed shadows. The features Google previewed on Wednesday are in addition to all tweaks the company has already previewed in the Android 14 public and developer previews. Among those, most significant are the changes Google has made to make the OS more accessible. With Android 14, it’s possible to scale fonts up to 200 percent of their original size. By comparison, on Pixel devices running Android 13, the most you could increase fonts by was 130 percent. Additionally, the update adds support for smarter scaling, meaning Android 14 can adjust text elements independently of one another so headers, for instance, won’t overtake the entire screen.

Update 4:40PM ET: Added more details about Google's plans for Android 14.

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