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How to Add Lockscreen Widgets to Android 4.4 KitKat & Nexus 5



The new Google Nexus 5 smartphone with Android 4.4 KitKat is now finally readily available from the Google Play Store, Sprint, and soon T-Mobile here in the US, not to mention shipping for many in Canada as well. Many users who get the new device will want to enable lockscreen widgets, and here’s how.

Unlike Android Jelly Bean, where Google debuted lockscreen widgets, Android 4.4 KitKat still has this feature, but it isn’t enabled by default. Instead of just being able to quickly swipe to the left and add widgets you’ll need to head into settings and enable them first. This is a security precaution, and we figured many of you would like to know how. Whether you’ve just received the Nexus 5, were upgraded to KitKat on a Nexus or Google device, or on a custom ROM running KitKat here’s how to get those widgets back.

Screen Shot 2013-11-11 at 10.05.02 AM

At first I tried a few different things to get widgets back, and was confused this wasn’t a simple feature out of the box like we had before. In the end it makes sense to only enable this for those who want it, as not everyone wants Gmail, Google Now driving directions, and other important information visible on the lockscreen before ever unlocking a device.

This is Google making Android more secure, and has thus disabled lockscreen widgets by default and now a few extremely quick and easy steps through settings will get them back.


To re-enable lockscreen widgets in Android 4.4 KitKat and on your Nexus 5, you’ll simply need to head into settings and select it. No, this isn’t under display options and instead is located in the security tab, as this is a feature to keep your smartphone more secure.

Settings > Security > Enable Widgets (second option) and that’s it. All set!

Screen Shot 2013-11-11 at 10.21.21 AM

In simpler terms for beginners, you’ll want to look for the gear-shaped “settings” icon in your app tray, or by hitting the top right icon on the notification pulldown bar and toggling quick settings. Tap settings, scroll down to security, tap that and check enable widgets, and you’re done. For a quick how to check out our video below.

It’s that simple. Just a few taps and you’re set. The video above also shows you how to add, rearrange, and remove lockscreen widgets on Android 4.4 KitKat, for those curious.

Should You Enable This?

Adding lockscreen widgets to your smartphone can be very convenient. Being able to instantly access Google Sound Search, Soundhound, alarm clock settings, Gmail, and various other applications in mere seconds is very handy. On the other side, this enables someone to access important aspects of a device before its been unlocked. Being a security concern Google’s disabled this out of the box, but it’s easy to enable for those in need.



  1. jaome

    11/16/2013 at 9:38 am

    I enabled widgets on the lockscreen, but none are displayed when I hit the + sign. How do I get them?

  2. Cobain

    12/13/2013 at 11:19 am

    You have to add them yourselves by swiping to the left on your lockscreen and hit the “+” sign.

  3. Hip2b2

    01/08/2014 at 8:15 am

    I enable NiLS but + sreen does not appear when I delete the standard clock

  4. Tim Rodgers (@timbocf)

    04/13/2014 at 6:40 am

    This setting isn’t listed on my galaxy s5.

  5. Abhishek

    07/26/2014 at 2:11 am

    I am also using a android kitkat device but this “enable widgets” option is not available in my security settings.Please help.

  6. amal

    08/03/2014 at 11:57 pm

    how to remove it?

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