Google Home is testing the redesign of the “device controls” on the lock screen

The latest preview update of the Google Home app includes a new design for the Device Controls panel, which can be accessed from the Android lock screen.

On some Android devices today – notably Google’s Pixel phones – you can quickly access some of your smart home devices from the lock screen or a quick settings tile. Both instances are supported by the Device Control feature added with Android 11.

In practice, you’ll see a handful of smart home devices, each of which can be turned on and off, adjusted in brightness/volume, and more. Meanwhile, an overflow menu in the top-right corner includes an “Edit Controls” option that lets you choose which smart devices to show.

As part of Android 14, Google is working on expanding the Device Controls area to give developers more freedom in appearance. With the upgrade, an Android app developer can embed an activity into device controls instead of relying on Google’s designs and APIs.

To better understand what this means for typical Google Home users, let’s take a look at how this app uses this new Android 14 feature. With the latest pre-release Google Home app – now available for those in the preview program – some people may see a massively redesigned device control area, shown in the last two images below.

Before, afterwards

The new design uses much of the main Google Home app’s Favorites tab layout. At the top you have shortcuts for your cameras, lights, and Nest Wifi. Below you will find your current favorites or an invitation to select some devices and routines as favorites. The usual buttons to “reorder” or “edit” your favorites also appear at the bottom.

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From this early preview, an app using the Device Control panel can now place almost anything in that region. In practice, this should mean that other compatible apps such as Tasker and Samsung SmartThings can also be embedded in the Android 14 lock screen if desired.

One tidbit worth mentioning, however, is that while Google’s developer documentation suggests that this device control overhaul should only work on Android 14, the redesign was also rolled out on one of our devices in the Android 13 QPR3 Beta. So one possibility is that this device control overhaul will be available exclusively for Google Home on Pixel devices as part of the June feature drop, and later become available to developers as part of Android 14.

Dylan Roussel contributed to this article.

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