Google Keep preps a useful upgrade if you like taking notes on your phone

Google Keep overflow menu
(Image credit: Jay Bonggolto / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Android 14 recently gained a new "ROLE_NOTES" string in preparation for its upcoming note-taking features for Android phones and tablets.
  • In preparation, a deep dive into Google Keep's latest update showed it will soon have the ability to be set as a "default notes app."
  • Doing so will allow users to utilize a new shortcut with Keep in apps and on their device's lock screen.

Google is preparing a few new features for Keep and other note-taking apps in Android 14 that Android devices will benefit from.

Discovered by Google News on Telegram, Android 14 recently added a new "ROLE_NOTES" role for note-taking apps. If an app is assigned as "default," users can quickly hop into their desired application through a new floating UI shortcut.

The latest update for Google Keep prepares the app for when the company rolls this feature out as it can be made a "default note app."

A shortcut for the home screen was discovered after being forced to activate via the developer settings. From what was seen, it will function similarly to the floating shortcut that appears when inside another app on your Android device.

More was uncovered by Mishaal Rahman at Android Authority, regarding a new shortcut being prepared for the lock screen. The app's latest update, version 5.23.482.04, shows signs of a new "Note-taking" shortcut. Any appropriate notes app assigned as "default," such as Keep, will open when interacting with the shortcut.

Once this rolls out, users will find the quick access button alongside other options like Camera, Device controls, Flashlight, and more in their lock screen shortcut settings. Rahman additionally discovered that interacting with the Note-taking shortcut on your lock screen will not require you to unlock your device.

Moreover, there appear to be a few settings regarding notes written on the lock screen. Users can decide if they want Keep to create a blank canvas whenever the shortcut is pressed or if they'd like the app to bring up one they've made previously.

A new "Note-taking" shortcut in Android 14 for the lock screen.

(Image credit: Android Authority)

Designating Keep as the default note app will seemingly let users take screenshots of certain apps. Considering certain applications disable the screenshot function for security reasons, Rahman adds Google created a "special API" that will enable screenshots on behalf of Keep. Once taken, users can review the photo and make any adjustments before saving or throwing it away.

On a related note, Keep's latest version shows signs of Google working on stylus support with its new functionality in Android 14. It appears that users with a Pixel Tablet or other Android tablet can press a button on their stylus to activate the Notes app. If in a different application, this will appear as a floating shortcut.

It's likely a fresh note will appear when doing so from the lock screen, but Rahman was unable to get it to function as the feature isn't properly activated.

Considering Keep has received the tools to work with Android 14's coming note-taking features, it feels like we're approaching a stable release. However, it's not entirely clear when we could see the OS' note-taking feature rollout. The shortcuts, when tapped, display an odd "update Keep" message despite both Google News and Rahman running the app's latest version.

Nickolas Diaz
News Writer

Nickolas is always excited about tech and getting his hands on it. Writing for him can vary from delivering the latest tech story to scribbling in his journal. When Nickolas isn't hitting a story, he's often grinding away at a game or chilling with a book in his hand.