Lock screen widgets are easy to enable on the Galaxy S4, but there are a couple of extra settings to get to grips with

When you first pick up the Samsung Galaxy S4, it might appear that lock screen widgets aren't available. After all, the default lock screen is just a big clock widget with "life companion" or some other message up top. But as an Android 4.2 device, the S4 includes full support for lock screen widgets, it's just a case of enabling them in the phone's lock screen settings.

Head to Settings > My device > Lock screen and check "Multiple widgets." Once you've done that, you're able to swipe to the right and add more lock screen panels. There's the standard list of Google widgets as well as some new stuff from Samsung, including a new WatchON widget. This ties into the WatchON app, which is the Peel-powered universal remote included on the Galaxy S4, giving you an expandable universal remote right from your lock screen. Third-party offerings like Dashclock Widget should work just fine, too.

In stock Android, there's always a camera shortcut on the right-most lock screen panel. On the GS4 you can choose what goes here -- either a big, Nexus-style camera shortcut or a grid of favorite apps. Head to Settings > My device > Lock screen > Lock screen widgets > Favorite apps or Camera to configure this.

Like some of the other Samsung widgets, the main clock widget is customizable too. You can change or get rid of the message, have a dual clock if you're roaming overseas and customize the style and size of the on-screen fonts.

Check the quick video demo above to see lock screen widgets in action on the Samsung Galaxy S4.


Reader comments

How to get lock screen widgets on the Samsung Galaxy S4


Lots of settings, a good thing for customization fanboys but normal people will miss a lots of this options because they don't go into all this settings options

Hey man, no worries there, the One is an Excellent phone! I'm just as happy when the site shows love for the One as it does for the S4. (Of course my S4 is my first Android ever, so I guess it's all exciting for me right now, no matter what phone they are talking about. *shrug*)

Just got my s4 (Att&t)
looked at the video and my lock screen does not have all the items that were available in the video.(such as multiple widgets)and the "favorite apps or camera" is greyed out

thanks for any help

most likely like me you have to installed a cert for wifi or something. once you do its completely crippled.

thanks for the response. I am not sure i completely understand what you are saying. Yes, i have attached to a couple of wifi password protected. I have not installed any kind of cert. is there something i can check?

Maybe you have a secure lock screen set up, Face Unlock, Pattern or Pin.

It's my understanding that Lockscreen widgets are unavailable on the Galaxy S4 with a secure lock screen.

Hope you’ve figured it out by now..
I had the same issues you described.. basically you have to change your unlock setting from PIN or Password to Swipe and you should see the “multiple widgets”.

This article needs to be updated. The S4 does not have "full support for lockscreen widget". Lockscreen widgets are disabled if you have any type of security on your device. This to me is a crippling omission to an otherwise awesome phone.

This is why the poster above does not have all the options available in the lock screen section. If you have any other security set other than swipe, you wil not see the option for multiple widget.

Agree...no locksecreen anything with ANY typr of lockscreen security, swipe, pattern, pin, etc.

Alex Dobie, you should mention in your post(s) that any of the mentioned Lock Screen options are only available if you have "security" set to Swipe, any other security option renders the lock screen "useless".

I had this when I updated my S2 and it worked with a pattern lock screen. I don't understand why it wont work for swipe "lock".

Oh well

Considering the nexus 4 allows lockscreen widgets even when using a code to unlock, this is really a bad 4.2.2 implementation by samsung.

Considering also you have to keep expanding the widgets especially ones like dashclock widget it dumbs down many things... Samsung please fix before updating my S3.

My company has a MDM policy which enforces a password on Samsung devices. How do I add lock screen widgets? When I try and scroll to the right, nothing happens.

Figured out a workaround. Remove the account that requires security. Then take off any security from your device and use swipe as the unlock method. Set up the home screen apps as seen above. Then add back the security that you want/need. Also re-add your email account that required the security. The icons would appear until your security setting kicks back in and requires a code.

Thanks for the workaround, prettysmartchic.
But... oh my god, really? This is kind of a blunder in programming. All I want to do is add a lock screen widget that says "This phone belongs to XXXX, please email me". I can edit the sample message, but the single widget limits your characters to something not much more than "Life Companion".

I guess I'll have make a jpg with the information I want and use it as lock screen wallpaper? Isn't there an app for what I'm looking for?

Thanks, everyone, for verifying I'm not crazy on this. Cuz it was driving me crazy.

Neve: you can do exactly that by editing the lock screen. From the lock screen, swipe down to bring up the edit button. From there, scroll down and access "owner information" - you can enter as plenty of characters.

Or settings » lock screen » lock screen widgets » owner information

Make sure that “show on lock screen" is checked

I dont have the option of enabling short cuts on my lockscreen settings menu even with the lock screen set to swipe unlock. Can anyone help me find this option?

If you have any setting more complicated than "swipe" to lock your phone, you can forget about lock screen widgets on the S4. Samsung really blew it on this. My crappy iPhone that my S4 replaced handles this better. I'm actually quite upset about this. Can't even engage the camera from the lock screen if you so much as want a PIN on your phone. This is a step backwards by Samsung, and unacceptable for a top of the line smartphone, especially when carrying a premium price tag.

I'm confused as to how this is a problem? 85% of the reason that I have a lock on my phone is because of the photo gallery. Being able to access the camera without a pin would also give access to the gallery without one. The security on the phone is doing exactly what it's supposed to do, keeping unwanted users from gaining access.

Actually, there are numerous reasons. Email, text archives, any financial apps that some people run (though I'd advise against it, but some people do run them on their phones) notes, and, as you said - pictures, are all things you don't necessarily want people to be able to easily get to and can easily reside on a smartphone. That said, lock screen widgets exist for a reason (quick glance at frequently used, non-sensitive information without having to unlock your phone), as do text message pop-up notifications. These have been common features in pda's and smartphones for some time, and there is no real reason to not allow a user the option to use them. You can always disable them if you want the "extra" security that is currently being forced on people by Samsung. It is a feature with a practical use, rather than fancy but useless hand swipes and the like, but Samsung gives me this crap while taking away basic, useful functionality. That's the big deal. I don't want to have to unlock my phone every. single. time. a text message comes in just to view it and possibly reply to it. I can understand even having to unlock to send a reply, but it's not strictly necessary as many SMS apps on Android allow replies from the pop-up window.

Being able to access the camera without a PIN does NOT give you access to the gallery, if you program it properly. Sheesh, (cr)Apple already gives you this feather with a convenient swipe from the lock screen. You get no access to the gallery except for the pictures you took in the instance you opened and used the camera. It works well, and is handy. How many shots have you missed because you first had to stop and enter your password/PIN/pattern to unlock the phone, find the camera icon and start the app? I'm willing to wager at least a couple.

I don't need Samsung to think for me and disable native features of Android in order to "protect" me. Give me the option to set my own security preferences in a granular fashion. Hell, if you don't like lock screen widgets, you don't have to use them. But at least give me the option - it's already a native feature in Android - Samsung just decided to disable it. So I get less functionality than what you can get on a Nexus 4, but for more money. I didn't pay for my Galaxy to have it be crippled.

On my Nexus, I had access to the camera from the lock screen, but the only pictures you could view where the ones you had taken in that "session".

This whole "no widget on lock screen with security enabled" is probably the thing I like the least so far about my new S4.. That and the fact that the screen took a dive after a week, that kinda sucked. Oh well, got it back from repair today, so I guess it's all good:)
Like Wollombi says, people don't need Samsung to protect them when it comes to this. If one feel like having a sensitive app available on the lock screen, then that should be his/her prerogative.

Can anyone help me?!
Apparently I don't have the "multiple widgets" options on my phone...
when I go to my device - lock screen this option isn't available... or even showing up..

is there any other thing i have to check or unlock before to have access to that?!

thank you!

Reading this thread has confirmed what I prayed wasn't true. So disappointed that they would implement such terrible software on such an otherwise great phone. The lock screen is one of the most important features of a phone since you see it so often. Looks like daddy might need some root access...

None of that will work with a password-protected lockscreen--at least if you have a Microsoft Exchange email account on the phone. I think that's the real problem here. If you read the terms and conditions when setting up an Exchange account, you'll see it requires very strict security: that account (or another Exchange account) has to be the primary email on the phone, at least when the account is first set up; the lock screen must have a PIN and can't launch any apps; etc etc. It's a giant PITA no matter what carrier or OS you use. I have the same 2 Exchange accounts on my SGS4 and iPad mini, and the lockscreen is crippled on both of them. I don't know of a way around this, except to remove the accounts from the phone or access them via a third-party email program with laxer security requirements. I'm not willing to do either of these, so I'm stuck with the problem.

"Lock Screen Widgets" does not exist on the AT&T Galaxy S4 phones, why is that? This is not applicable with the SGH-I337 Galaxy phones.

I have the 32 gb Galaxy S4 version from ATT. Since it is used for business enterprise I had to remove ALL device administrators including AVG Antivirus, Airwatch for my employer, the latest admins from the 4.3 upgrade (KNOX) etc. Once removed, I could reset my phone security to swipe and check multiple widgets, etc. Setup my shortcuts, and choice of clocks, and unfortunately had to re-secure my phone back to password lock again for employment purposes.

I have the s4 version at&t but my favorite apps or camera lock screen thing is kinda unable but it says that it's on, how do I get it to be able so I can change what's on my lock screen?