One of the cool features of the new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL flagships from Google is the “Now Playing” section of the lock screen.

That tool uses the Pixel 2’s always-on display to identify whatever song is playing in the background. The song is identified on your device’s lock screen using the always-on display. Since the app compares data to an offline database of songs, there’s limited battery usage involved.

The feature sounds gimmicky at first. However, it’s been well-received by the Android community so far – even if some admit that it’s a bit of a gimmick.

Some of the most exciting parts of this feature, however, could be built by independent developers.

One member of the XDA Developers forum created an app called Ambient Lock Screen Music. That app allows you to display the name and artist of any song currently playing on your device. That information will appear where the “Now Playing” text would normally appear.

The developer made a demo for the feature and posted a video on YouTube:

As you can see, the developers enable the app, then starts playing a song from Google Play Music. You can see the section of the lock screen where you would normally see the “Now Playing” text. With this app, it’s now being used to display whatever song you’re playing in Google Play Music, Spotify, YouTube, and other music playback platforms. You can also blacklist apps from showing text on the ambient display.

Right now, the app has two restrictions:

  • It only works on the Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL
  • It requires root access

You can download the app for free from the XDA Labs app store here. The app is ad-free.

The reason the app only works on the Pixel 2 and requires root access, by the way, is because it sends an intent where the corresponding intent receiver is only available in the SystemUIGoogle app present on the Pixel 2.

In any case, if you’re a Pixel 2 owner looking to take full advantage of your Now Playing ambient display, then apps like Ambient Lock Screen Music are a perfect download.

The Ambient Lock Screen Music app was made by developer Kieron Quinn, a Recognized Contributor on XDA Developers forum who has previously released a root-only app called AutoMagisk.

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