Your Android tablet could soon let you take notes right from the lock screen

Summary

  • Google is working on a lock screen shortcut on tablets for the default notes app, saving time and effort.
  • The feature currently requires setting the app of your choice as the default notes app and flicking a toggle from the Developer options.
  • It’s currently unclear when this feature will become widely available, but Google could choose to make it live with the March Pixel Drop or later releases.

We’ve come a long way since the days of the basic capacitive stylus, with Samsung currently leading the pack in the mobile world with its S Pen stylus. However, there are several other underrated styluses that you can choose for your Android tablet that can help you write a quick note or get a quick doodle going. But for tablet users on Android 14, the process is not as quick as you’d want it to be. Thankfully, Google is working on making things easier by adding a new lock screen shortcut for the notes app of their choice.

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Taking down a note on a large screen device currently requires unlocking the tablet opening the app in question, like Google Keep, and tapping the paintbrush icon in the app. Thanks to a deep dive by Android expert Mishaal Rahman (via Android Authority), we’re getting an early preview of the feature’s functionality.

One of Android Authority’s tipsters demonstrates how this new lock screen shortcut works on the Pixel Tablet. As you can see below, this icon on the lock screen saves users a few taps when taking down a note, and the best part is that the device continues to be locked throughout the process, alleviating any privacy-related concerns. It’s also a decent way to have friends or family members sketch or write something without giving them full access to your tablet.


To get started, you need to ensure the Google Keep app has been set as the default note-taking app. It’s worth noting that any other app can be set as the default note-taking app on Android as long as it meets Google’s pre-defined Android roles listed here under the Notes section. But Google Keep was used as the reference for this experiment by Android Authority. You can set Google Keep as the default note-taking app via Settings > Apps > Defaultapps.

Rahman says this functionality was added to Google’s note-taking app in December with version 5.23.482.04, but accessing the new lock screen icon back then only returned an error message, though a recent change suggested the functionality was “coming soon.” All of this goes to show that Google is getting closer to taking this feature live for Android tablets.


With Keep set as the default notes app on your Android tablet, you must navigate to Settings > System > Developer options from Settings and turn on the force enable Notes role toggle. If you can’t see Developer options on your tablet, you may need to manually enable it by going to Settings > Abouttablet and tapping the Build number several times.

In addition to helping users access the lock screen shortcut, setting an app as the default notes app unlocks other features, such as the ability to tap the stylus’ tail button and quickly reveal a floating bubble on the screen, regardless of the app you’re on, as first revealed by Rahman last year. However, this feature requires a compatible stylus featuring a tail button. Additionally, the onscreen floating bubble also supports adding a screenshot of the current screen to the note.

Unfortunately, there are no hints about when this feature will be widely available to Android tablet owners. While the upcoming March Pixel Feature Drop is a decent candidate for the rollout, Google could choose to reserve it for Android 15 in the fall or perhaps even until the Pixel Tablet 2’s release. As Rahman correctly indicates, there’s also the chance that this feature may become available alongside the rumored first-party stylus from Google, which we haven’t heard much about since last year.

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