Android 12 could let you ‘stack’ widgets, inspired by iOS 14
It appears that Google may be taking a leaf out of Apple’s book when it comes to stackable widgets on the home screen, if the latest Android 12 Developer Preview is any indication.
Apple is known to add features to their software that the competition has had for years - but in a refined and well thought out manner. For example, iOS 14 introduced widgets well over a decade after they first came to Android, but with a smart new twist - they could be stacked on top of each other. It appears that Google may be taking a leaf out of Apple’s book if the latest Android 12 Developer Preview is any indication.
The stackable widget feature is so popular, that even custom launcher creators like Chris Lacy added them to his Action Launcher. However, it seems like the feature could be coming to the default Android 12 home screen itself. According to XDA’s Mishaal Rahman, who first spotted the change and posted a screen recording of his home screen, the feature seems to be making use of what was previously known as the ‘At a glance’ area at the top area on the home screen. The area now has a swipe-able area, it would appear, aping Apple’s space-saving widget style.
Is...is this the beginnings of a widget stack? This is an "enhanced" and "expanded" smart space. pic.twitter.com/9tnfK2kA5a— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) February 18, 2021
Once you consider that Android has had a “contextual” information indicator on the same “At a glance” widget area for a while now, it makes all the more sense that the same area can also hold more widgets. If it were to emulate Apple’s widget stacking idea, Google could also follow suit and explore the possibility of surfacing relevant widgets based on the time of day or your physical activity.
As with all features in an Android Developer Preview, it is unclear how this feature will actually work, or whether it will even make it into the final release. Android 10 had a useful Permissions Manager viewer that let you see useful statistics, this never made it to the final release. Just like the scrolling screenshots that never made it to Android 11, these stackable widgets may not be ready before the final release and pushed for Android 13 - but they would surely come in handy if they were released with Android 12.