Play Music lockscreen widget in Lollipop gone? Frustration while driving.

Jonneh

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I transitioned to using my phone as my only music device back when Google Play Music was unleashed as well as the "All Access" key.
This means I use my phone in my car for music every single day, multiple times a day.
On previous OS versions, while my phone was locked but playing music, it would present my usual lockscreen (waiting for a PIN) overlayed upon my beautiful album covers, with big music controls for next, previous, play/pause, and even track seeking if you held the next or previous buttons. All while my phone remained locked.

Lollipop hit my Nexus 5 last night. And I can't seem to reproduce this with its new version of Lockscreen Notifications. It only gives a tiny rectangle notification that music is playing, with a simple play/pause button and a next track button, and that's it; upon expanding the notification (while the phone is still locked), it grows slightly and gives a couple more controls, but the buttons are still rather tiny, and it's quite difficult to expand the tiny notification rectangle while driving. Not only this, but it's even more difficult to do because the Lollipop UI often thinks you're attempting to unlock your device if you don't hit the tiny music notification JUST right.
And besides, I miss my beautiful album covers! :p

All of this makes for an incredibly frustrating user experience for the many users that use their devices for music while driving, especially when compared to KitKat, Jellybean, and perhaps even ICS.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

I am writing this post to 1) ask if others use their device the same way I am and are experiencing frustration while driving because of it, and (most importantly) 2) ask if anyone has any potential solutions to solve my issue here?

I am loving Lollipop for the most part, and I realize change is hard for some people, but I've got to admit, this aspect of the previous OS versions was one I used not only once a day, not twice a day, but several times every single day, and it is one I am really going to miss if I can't find a solution to.


The pictures attached are screenshots. One is a screenshot of what I used to be able to achieve, with full album artwork and full controls.
Another screenshot is what it looks like now, a tiny rectangle which with Lollipop's heavily gesture-based interface, is very difficult to maneuver while driving.
A third screenshot is what it looks like if you're able to successfully expand that tiny notification while driving (instead of making the phone think you're trying to unlock it and then having it display a numerical pad), it slightly enlarges and then flies to the top of your screen.
The final screenshot is what your lockscreen looks like while playing music if you disabled "lockscreen notifications" completely. No controls whatsoever, merely album artwork in the background doing nothing. This fact makes me wonder if this is still somewhat a "beta" idea of theirs and it's still cooking. Why else would it even display the artwork in the first place while music is playing if it's not going to offer you any controls for it?


Screenshot_2013-11-08-12-13-58.jpgScreenshot_2014-11-18-13-14-14 4.jpgScreenshot_2014-11-18-14-09-08 2.jpgScreenshot_2014-11-18-14-09-48 3.jpg
 

Jonneh

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Not a bad idea, actually. Thanks, B. Diddy. I know I would get used to the change eventually...but the functionality while driving was just so much better in my opinion; it's a slight step backward in one aspect, but it was a necessary step backward in order to take a leap forward with notifications on the lockscreen, I suppose.

Doesn't make it any less frustrating for me as an end user though. 😰

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B. Diddy

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I'll bet that some smart devs will come up with a better Google Play Music notification widget for just this reason. We just need to give them some time.
 

kresk

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I highly agree that the new lock screen is awfully inconvenient. They have to bring it back. It is too vital of a feature to disregard.
 

Jonneh

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I wish there were a way to keep the new lockscreen notifications in Lollipop, yet, strictly when playing music, the KitKat Play Music lockscreen widget would be used with its button controls on the top half of the screen, the bottom half of the screen being lollipop's new notifications, and the background as it is with the album's cover on it.

Attached is a really crummy photoshop in Paint illustrating the solution. Obviously, the background would match, the music notification wouldn't be there since music would be a half-widget up top, etc.
Can devs even make this possible? Or is it too limited at the OS level?

Ex: Screenshot_2014-11-18-14-09-08 new crummy idea.png



Edited to add: I understand why some might feel this is not much different than what we have right now with Lollipop, but there are two main functionality differences, not merely cosmetic differences.

1) The music notification on the lockscreen is always miniature; it only maximizes to slightly grow and give a couple more controls when you physically expand it—each and every time. While driving. Yeah.

2) You can't "seek" (fast-forward or rewind) a track anymore! On the old lockscreen widget, you could hold down the previous button to rewind, and the next button to fast-forward.
 
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ozplex

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This annoyed me as well, but if you swipe down on the box with just the 'play button and next track button' it opens up, slides to the top and gives you the option to go back and forward tracks.

You have to do this every time you press the lock button to change a track.
 

daihard2008

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This annoyed me as well, but if you swipe down on the box with just the 'play button and next track button' it opens up, slides to the top and gives you the option to go back and forward tracks.

You have to do this every time you press the lock button to change a track.

Can you get round it by using the new Smart Lock feature to specify your BT audio as a trusted device? That way the phone will remain unlocked in the car and you have a full player screen available.
 

B. Diddy

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That's a good idea, but the problem there is that even if the phone is paired with a trusted device, you still get a lockscreen that you have to swipe away--there just isn't any need for a PIN, password, or pattern. And that lockscreen will still just show the Google Play Music notification/widget.
 

dd0yl3

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Maybe when android auto is released there will be an app on the phone side. Kind of like the car mode some OEMs have with bigger buttons.

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daihard2008

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That's a good idea, but the problem there is that even if the phone is paired with a trusted device, you still get a lockscreen that you have to swipe away--there just isn't any need for a PIN, password, or pattern. And that lockscreen will still just show the Google Play Music notification/widget.

I must have misunderstood the Smart Lock feature in terms of smart devices. I thought the device would remain unlocked when paired with a trusted device, meaning the screen will blank out but come back alive as soon as you press the power button, just like when you specify "None" in the Screen lock option menu under Security. My apologies.
 

B. Diddy

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You can actually do that with the SkipLock app, but so far, the native Smart Lock feature on Lollipop still requires you to swipe.

Even though Lollipop has Smart Lock, it might still be worth it for some people to buy SkipLock, because it also allows you to select trusted wi-fi networks.
 

N4Newbie

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You can actually do that with the SkipLock app, but so far, the native Smart Lock feature on Lollipop still requires you to swipe.

Even though Lollipop has Smart Lock, it might still be worth it for some people to buy SkipLock, because it also allows you to select trusted wi-fi networks.

The What's New section of SkipLock's Play Store page says, "Minor bug fixes. Marked app as incompatible with Android 5+. Due to changes in Android 5.0, it is no longer possible for an app to unlock the device. See the FAQ for details."

More info at FAQ | Ben Hirashima
 

Nonymous666

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The What's New section of SkipLock's Play Store page says, "Minor bug fixes. Marked app as incompatible with Android 5+. Due to changes in Android 5.0, it is no longer possible for an app to unlock the device. See the FAQ for details."

More info at FAQ | Ben Hirashima
Yeah, there are several apps that have Skip Lock's functionality. "Delayed Lock" is another popular one that I used to use. The developer of that app has said pretty much the same thing as Skip Lock's developer - doesn't work with Lollipop; there's nothing he can do about it. All these apps that did this are effectively dead because of Lollipop.
 

sojourner753

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Have you tried a car home app? I use Car Home Ultra. It keeps the screen on and even has large media control buttons. I believe it has a free trial.

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Jonneh

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Have you tried a car home app? I use Car Home Ultra. It keeps the screen on and even has large media control buttons. I believe it has a free trial.

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Thanks for the idea. This app is pretty useful. Its huge buttons are a great plus!
The functionality lost from KitKat still exists within this app, however...I can't "seek" tracks anymore by holding down "next" or "previous". :-\ seems like the only way to fast forward and rewind songs now is to open up Play Music completely.

With that said, I'm going on a 12 hour drive tomorrow, so I'm going to be giving this app (and the lollipop lockscreen as well) some good use.
I'll see which I prefer after such a long trip with nothing but myself and my music! :p