Android 12’s Conversation widget is starting to appear for more folks again, following an early appearance in Android 12 DP3. It still isn’t live for everyone, but it’s started showing up on us for a Pixel 4 XL running Beta 2 without any digging around in activities or root to surface hidden features.
The new Conversation widget appeared for us as an option in the widgets menu, aptly under “Conversations,” though back in Dev Preview 3, it was under System UI. We don’t know how much functionality may have changed since then since it wasn’t live for us at the time, but we can document how it works now as of Beta 2.
Add the widget to your home screen, and you’re taken to a setup page that prompts you to select a conversation. (In the video example above, only one conversation is visible, but we know it works for more, as you can see below.) If no conversations are available, it will ask you to “check back here once you get some messages,” with a sad-sounding “okay” as your lonely exit.
Left: Okay… Right: A populated list.
Choose a conversation, and it’s added to your home screen. You can tap the widget to open the conversation in its app, resize it, or drag it up to the top of the screen where there’s an option to do the setup process over again and change the conversation that the widget applies to.
Left: Smol widget. Right: Big widget. You: semantically satiated with the word “widget.”
The widget shows you the number of waiting notifications in a highlighted indicator beneath the avatar, with an icon to the bottom right that indicates the app the conversation is from. It works with a variety of apps, including Google’s own Messaging app and Slack (both pictured above), though it is possible functionality might vary between apps/conversation sources — it seems incomplete right now, and we can’t be sure everything is working yet.
Unlike prior versions of the widget that were spotted in the wild and leaked,
this manifestation doesn’t seem to show any message content, though the overall look is similar to the designs we’ve seen. I wouldn’t be surprised to see if more options and types of layouts are added later, since its appearance seems to be accidental and limited to certain devices right now.
Looks like the widget needs a few more permissions that it doesn’t ask for by default for extra functionality. Once granted, you get message previews as well:
At least one of our readers has had it on a Pixel 4a since Android 12 Beta 1, and another reader using a Pixel 5 also has it (though it isn’t present on any we’ve tested at AP), so its appearance continues to be unpredictable.
For more about Android 12, check out our ongoing series coverage here, or bookmark our regularly updated changelog and check back in later. If you want to install the developer preview on your own device, find out how in our Android 12 download guide.