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You might be able to customize always-on display wallpaper in Android P

If you've ever wished you could change the always-on display wallpaper from a black screen to something more fun, you might have that option soon if you own a Pixel 2.

Published onApril 10, 2018

  • Code within the Android P developer preview suggests a new feature that will let users customize the always-on display wallpaper.
  • Currently, there is no wallpaper, just a black screen with white text.
  • While the code suggests an always-on display wallpaper feature, it is by no means a certainty.

In early March, Google released the Android P developer preview, giving us our first look at the next iteration of the Android operating system. Even now, a month later, developers are still finding little hints and secrets in the code that suggest the existence of new features.

Over at XDA Developers, Mishaal Rahman discovered that there’s a strong possibility that Android P will enable users to customize the always-on display wallpaper on the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.

Samsung should get credit for popularizing the concept of an always-on display with the release of the Samsung Galaxy S7, which gives users the ability to check the time and see any notifications without having to touch their device. Google jumped on the trend and brought the feature to the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, which was helpful for custom ROM enthusiasts as that meant bringing the feature to AOSP as well.

Android P: the top features you need to know

However, the always-on display is simply a black screen with white text, which is hardly eye-catching or fun. But Rahman decompiled the SystemUI APK from the Google Pixel 2 XL running Android P and found some code that suggests users could add a background image of some kind to the AOD.

Rahman wasn’t able to draw any conclusions from the code, though. He ran his findings by a few other developers, and no consensus could be drawn on what the code actually means. Instead of being a static wallpaper feature, it could instead be that the wallpaper image shows when a notification arrives and then fades to black again.

One would assume that having an image of any kind would draw more battery power than a simple black screen, so is this feature something that would really be beneficial? While it would be fun to have a dedicated AOD wallpaper, it would be for naught if all it did was draw more battery life than necessary.

Either way, the developer’s preview of Android P is just that: a preview. Any aspect of the current code could change before a stable version of Android P is finalized.

NEXT: How stable is the first Android P developer’s preview?

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