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Android 4.3's subtle and delightful feature: A smart status bar clock

Android clock
Android clock (Image credit: Android Central)

We've started building up a list of features that came with the Android 4.3 update, but sometimes it takes a little while to pick up on some of the more subtle changes. With this latest release of Jelly Bean, Google has finally figured out how to hide the status bar clock when your lock screen is displaying a clock — something that seems trivially easy and has been implemented in other mobile platforms for years.

When your lock screen has a clock widget on it (as is the case by default), the status bar will now hide the system clock. If you replace the clock with another widget — say, the Android Central app (opens in new tab) widget — the status bar clock comes back.

We know, a simple tweak like this shouldn't get us that excited, but as we said sometimes it's the little things that make a difference.

Thanks, Tom G and TyBec!

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

104 Comments
  • cyanogenmod already did it... just sayin'
  • Well, for those who don't like to root and use custom ROMs (like myself), it's nice that stock Android finally has this feature.
  • I don't mean to poop in anyone's oatmeal, but I'm pretty sure this has been in there since 4.0. I can confirm that my wife's Nexus S running stock 4.1.2 has does this. Here's ICS:
    http://developer.android.com/sdk/images/4.0/lock-lg.png
  • Not there in 4.2
  • It was an odd one in 4.2, If you had a pin lockscreen and you kept switching the screen on an off it would alternate between the 4.2 standard clock (as above) and a plain roboto clock. When the standard clock was there the notification clock was there, when the roboto clock was there the notification clock disappeared. Just something I noticed. In 4.3 they seem to have fixed the alternating clock issue too. Andy
  • not there in my stock SGS4 runnnig 4.2 but IS there in my stock SGS3 running 4.1.2.?? weird....
  • It came out in 4.1 but disappeared in 4.2 due to lockscreen widgets. Guess they figured people would remove the clock??? Idk, but now it's back lol
  • Implemented on stock Touchwiz Note II also
  • Another feature that was already avaliable on CyanogenMod 10.1...
  • People should really be more excited about this than just act like sarcastic spoiled brats. I am all for rooting and CyanogenMod is fantastic. But this horrible superiority complex people seem to have about rooting their phones to custom ROM's, over those who choose to stay stock, really needs to end. It's turning the community against itself and horribly ugly.
  • I agree. Plus, add in the fact that without the massive amount of work done on Android stock by Google the folks at CyanongenMod would be out of business. It's much easier to tack on features to an existing platform than to create a platform yourself.
  • Absolutely, screw CM and its users!
    /s
  • Nah...just the snobs. I used to use CM7 and then CM10 but now that I have a Nexus I don't need it anymore.
  • I concur. The only reason Cyanogenmod is around is people want more features in stock Android. Now that stock Android is getting those, feature by feature, it should be a GOOD thing.
  • a million +1's to you sir for this comment.
  • +9000 Posted via Android Central App
  • Couldn't agree more Posted via Android Central App
  • Yeah I've rooted all my Android devices except for my Nexus 7, and I totally agree. Rooting is cool but it really isn't for everyone, and not just based on technical ability. I actually really like my Nexus 7 stock, and so I'd rather spend time enjoying it than trying to mod it. The whole point of Android is to satisfy the wide, diverse set of needs and desires, rather than dictating from on high. So whether you use CM or stock, an HTC One or GS4, we're all just leveraging the platform's main strength and that's a good thing. People should respect it.
  • Add me to the list of people who +1'ed you Brandon Cassata
  • Wow. Apple and Android fanboys existing, I understand. But CyanogenMod fanboys against vanilla Android exist too?!
  • They're like the tootsies and the hutus.
  • I have this feature on my Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition.
  • Now they need to do this for the home screen too
  • unlike the lockscreen, the homescreen isnt as integrated into the OS
  • If you have root, Nova Launcher does easily integrates with the OS.
  • The home screen? Don't want 2 clocks on your home screen don't put a clock widget...
  • I use a clock widget and I don't have a clock in my status bar. How? Nova Launcher.
  • I've got Nova Prime on 4.3 and totally don't see this option without hiding the whole bar.
  • Look and feel > (open) NOTIFICATION BAR > Hide Clock
  • Unchecked 'Hide' clock on my rooted GS3 and no clock. Reflashed stock rom and it works - Reflashed custom rom's' (multiple) again, running Nova 'Prime' Launcher and no clock in notification bar (but is in pulldown area) ...go figure
  • Why aren't you using Nova Launcher?
  • Because non-stock is non-good?
  • A thousand upvotes for your comment if I could, good sir!
  • they actually already had this in 4.1, it was just broken in 4.2
  • Exactly, both my old HTC Desire Z with CyanogenMod and my stock Galaxy S III i9300 have been doing that since 4.1.
  • yep, working on my nexus S with 4.1.2
  • I still don't get why people need a lock screen in their phone...
  • To... Secure their phone maybe? Glanceable content maybe?
  • If I happen to leave my phone somewhere (extremely unlikely) I would rather someone not be able to pick up my phone and have immediate access to a large chunk of my life. Posted via Android Central App
  • Pocket dialing? Some of us are considerably endowed and you know that women say it has a mind of its own? Well sometimes it does. A lockscreen stymies its more sinister plans.
  • Yeah? Tell that to all the text messages I sent from the bar last Saturday night.
  • +1... ...major fight with the ex-girlfriend.
  • Because a phone is likely the most dense store of personal information available. Dont think you want that to get into someone else's hands if your phone is lost or stolen.
  • I've always wondered why the fascination in Android with having 8 different clocks and widgets displaying the exact same time.
  • Well, this feature reduces that number by one so you should be excited.
  • I posted this on the first day 4.3 became available in the forums but I suppose no one reads. I posted one more visual difference. Let's see who's gonna spot it.
  • Random, but-where did you find the wallpaper? Posted via Android Central App
  • Take a look here, there's lots of cool ones: http://www.behance.net/gallery/iPad-Retina-Wallpaper/3516257
  • Are you tired of posting that yet? Every time you take a screen shot of your phone someone asks...
  • Getting close :P .
  • Odd... I am on 4.1.2 Telus official and I have this feature. My clock disappear from the status bar when I am on my locked screen with the clock.
  • It went away in the 4.2.2 update ツⓖ◎◎ⓖⓛⓔ†
  • Nova Launcher FTW!!
  • .. hasn't this been going on since 4.1..? Posted via Android Central App
  • My Bionic does this. I'm not sure what's so exciting about it.
  • In my opinion this is a nice addition to the 4.3 update. I would like to see it as an option for my home screen just like others do. Why, you ask? Because there are widgets that are better looking than the stock clock and some of us like to personalize our screens more than others, that's why. To each their own, right? About Nova Launcher having this feature, I'm going to have to look into it for myself... I like! Posted via Android Central App
  • In before my XXX does it. wait... Now it's in Android. Now every device can do it, without manufacturers changing it. If you fail to see why this is important, enjoy your S-Voice.
  • Sadly too late.
  • Tell me about it. Thanks Jerry! (I'm not being sarcastic) Posted via Android Central App
  • I replaced the clock widget with a 3rd party app that has more functionality and the status clock is still there. Oh well. Guess it's not compatible with 3rd party apps. Not all of them at least.
  • It works with dash clock Posted via Android Central App
  • Yeah, I use DIGI Clock and it's still there. :/
  • This has even been on touchwiz forever. Although I'm not sure if you change widgets it comes back Posted via Android Central App
  • Now I feel like I just inadvertantly trolled half of ac. Sorry guys we just got 4.3 on the n7 here in the UK and it was just something that caught my eye straight off. Posted via Android Central App
  • Didn't troll anyone. This is actually an awesome little change in 4.3. Good eye.
  • Don't let people fool you. Most are glad to see little tid bits like this. I just upgraded to 4.3 and didn't notice. Very welcome change. Posted via Android Central App
  • Now if they could just add a numerical battery percentage to the status bar!
  • Yes. so much this.
  • +1 Posted via Android Central App
  • Battery Monitor Widget Pro gives you that. Posted via Android Central App
  • Battery Widget Reborn does all that. Posted via Android Central App
  • Wallpaper?
  • Smh. Read the comments first.
  • Read the comments. ;) Posted via Android Central App
  • Andrew is getting even closer. Posted via Android Central App
  • Hulk... smash...
  • I noticed that something was missing from my lock screen but I couldn't put my finger on it. You guys got it! Posted from the old Google Nexus 7 via Android Central App
  • My ATT Note (1) running 4.1.2 has this feature.
  • Also happens when you pull the notification shade on the n7. Posted via Android Central App
  • That's been there on stock since 4.2.
  • ...and I was doing so well. Posted via Android Central App
  • Now add the date and it will be complete,whew,asking alot. One thing at a time I guess. Lol
  • I was initially confused by this article, as my phone, on 4.2.2 did the exact same thing as what's shown in 4.3. I never realized it was a feature of CM until just now. I like how Android is to the point now where the big things have been ironed out, for the most part, and it's on to subtle things that you never thought about, but are really nice things to have.
  • Awesome Posted via Android Central App
  • Setting a wallpaper from a picture is different in 4.3. Haven't seen any talk about it.
  • I'm not a fan of the removal myself. I guess I'll train myself out of looking there, but it is currently driving me crazy. How about a system setting to let us choose? Posted via Android Central App
  • I totally love this little feature.... Posted via Android Central App
  • With out root wish you could hide it permanently Posted via me
  • No problem! Lol I like the change a lot. Posted via Android Central App
  • Sprint GS3 4.1.2 and I have this too... not so breaking news... and not so new. Seems some carriers just didn't add that for everyone.
  • Ya Sprint GS3 has this little feature as well. Posted via Android Central App
  • Hey you guys notice that on the N4 the update fixed that annoying thing the camera app did when you get the screen rotate animation when you turn the phone from portrait to landscape? It doesn't do the animation now which is great. Posted via Android Central App
  • speaking of minor updates - I also noticed that the crop tool for setting a wallpaper has changed.
  • Only seems to work with the Google clock, not Dash Clock or HD Widgets clocks. Meh. Posted via Android Central App
  • Works with dash clock for me! Posted via Android Central App
  • I noticed it yesterday, was a nice touch.
  • That feature is included with slim bean 4.2.2 rom. I could upload pics to prove it. Posted via Android Central App
  • Galaxy S3 4.1.2 has that feature already...
  • is there any way to put the clock back to fixed in the notification bar? I don't like having the battery indicator / network icons moving to the left and right. I prefer the fixed digital clock in the notification bar, along with the clock as the widget on the home screen.
  • I never understand why people put big-ass clocks on their home screens when there's the stock one in the notification bar. Posted via Android Central App
  • My Galaxy S3 running MOAR ROM does this. But to be honest, I never really noticed. I mean, really, what difference does it make? Something USEFUL might be the ability to hide the the standard icons (clock, battery level, signal strength, etc.) when notification icons need more room for display.
  • I have this on 4.1 on my atrix HD. Just no lock screen widgets Posted via Android Central App
  • actually this feature has also been available in Nova Launcher with root access.
  • Stupid question, but on my HTC One I still see the notification bar clock along with the lock screen clock widget. How do I remove the notification bar one?