Although Android 13’s final release is just around the corner, Google developers are never sleeping. It’s safe to assume that there are already a roadmap and plans for the subsequent big release, Android 14. While we now know what Android 13 will and will not support, we can already assemble a wishlist of features that sadly haven’t made it into the most recent version of Android. Hence, here are seven features that we want to see in Android 14.

Mind you, we’re going to focus on Google’s first-party approach to Android here. A few of the options and features mentioned below may already be part of Android on some other manufacturers’ devices. Looking at the full ecosystem would break the scope of this article. However, since Google makes many features available to every other manufacturer (even making some mandartory), features first coming to Google phones bring benefits to the whole Android market.

Bring back lock screen widgets

Apple revealed its new iPhone lock screen earlier this year at WWDC, and if you’ve been using an Android phone for a while, it should feel familiar. The Cupertino company introduced the option to add widgets to the lock screen, complete with a lot of fancy personalization options. We’re going to focus on the former here, because once upon a time, Android also supported lock screen widgets. Up until version 4.4 (KitKat), it was possible to add widgets of your choice to the lock screen. You could either replace the clock at the top of the screen or add a widget on a panel of its own, just a swipe to the right away. The system has always been rather gimmicky, though, with not too many useful applications. In any case, Samsung stuck with this functionality and offers lock screen widgets on its Android skin One UI to this day.

First Image: iOS 16 lockscreen widgets. Remaining Images: Old Android 4.2 lock screen widgets

While you might wonder why Google would bring back a feature that it has obviously given up on a long time ago, this wouldn’t be the first time for Apple to breathe new life into an Android feature that was left languishing for a while. The same happened when iOS initially introduced support for widgets, with Google suddenly becoming interested in the concept again. Following in Apple’s footsteps, Google revamped how widgets worked on Android 12 and introduced completely redesigned widgets of its own apps.

Give us stacked widgets

Speaking of widgets, Google may have found new interest in the concept thanks to Apple, and it may have introduced some direly needed enhancements to the underlying mechanics, but there’s more we wish for. Apple introduced the neat concept of stacked widgets, which allows you to add multiple widgets to the same place on your home screen. To access them all, you can simply swipe through them.

Source: Apple

This is something that we wish Google would also implement on Android, though the matter is just a tad more complicated on the platform. Apple widgets aren’t scrollable or very interactive at all, so it’s much easier to reserve a scroll gesture for a system feature like this.

However, it’s frustrating that Google has almost created a system like this already. Its At a Glance widget gives you information about upcoming events, connected devices, weather alerts, and much more, and it lets you horizontally scroll through multiple entries whenever there are more than one. In fact, Google has been spotted working on its own version of stacked widgets in Android 12, so there might be reasonable hope for Android 14.

Bring back dedicated Wi-Fi and mobile network toggles

In Android 12, Google decided that it was time to spring clean the quick settings toggles. In the process, the company merged the Wi-Fi and mobile data options into a single all-encompassing “Internet” toggle. Not only is the toggle itself plain confusing to use, it also makes simple processes such as disconnecting and reconnecting to your spotty Wi-Fi network quickly an ordeal. This is sadly something that many of us still have to do on a daily basis as internet connections can sometimes be inherently fickle.

Depending on how poor your mobile connection is when you’re inside, it’s also often a good idea to turn off the mobile radio completely in order to save some of that precious battery life, too, and this is another thing the monolithic Internet toggle makes harder or at least less intuitive to do.

Make third-party launchers smooth again

Ever since Google introduced gesture navigation to Android 10, third-party launchers have been left languishing. That’s because the default pre-installed launcher ties into the system much more deeply than it ever used to in order to provide smooth transitions between the home screen, the Recents overview, and apps. Third-party launcher simply don’t have the same privileges as the pre-installed one, and this leaves you with two choices: Either you stick with the one that shipped with your phone and that may lack some features you would like, or you suffer through some inconsistent animations in exchange for more advanced customizability.

The Lawnchair launcher

Ideally, Android 14 would just give third-party launchers the option to hook into the system more deeply when they're set as the standard option, though it’s understandable that Google might be wary due to security concerns. There are also severe technical challenges to overcome here, since Android manufacturers have different animations and methods to achieve them, so it's possible that custom launchers would have to be coded for specific phones only.

Help developers make gesture navigation prettier in apps

In another gesture navigation-related point here, we want to talk about something that’s a bit of an underlying issue. Apple's iPhones and iPads are pretty great at making gesture navigation feel natural and like a part deeply embedded in the system and in apps, but on Android, gesture navigation still clashes with many apps — particularly the way that the navigation bar is displayed. Android apps often don’t draw content behind the navigation bar, leaving a big block around the actual navigation bar. On iOS, this isn’t much of an issue — pretty much all apps draw content in the area behind the navigation bar, and it makes for a much more immersive experience.

While iOS developers only have a handful of different screen sizes and processors to support, Google could probably offer more help to developers for this so-called edge-to-edge navigation. Android app developer Pavlo Rekun told us in an interview that in a worst case scenario, Android app developers have to adjust every single view in their app to make the navigation bar transparent. It’s understandable that many bigger studios with tons of individual pages and views within their apps don’t have the time to bother with a small cosmetic decision like this, especially since not all Android users are even using gesture navigation. However, it would still be nice to see a little more consistency and attention to detail on Android. Google will have to either force or help developers with this.

Bring back custom icon shapes and fonts to the Pixel

Android 11 officially added the option to change icon shapes, fonts, and some colors in the notification shade and settings on Pixel phones. This was removed once Android 12 rolled around with its Material You themes, based on your wallpaper. It makes sense to strip some options here as they clash with this wallpaper-based theming, but Google truly went above and beyond itself to strip away all customization options — particularly icon shapes and fonts — while it was at it.

With Material You now maturing and becoming ever more flexible and customizable (Android 13 added a ton more color extraction combos to choose from), it would only make sense for Google to reintroduce some of the customization options it decided to remove in preparation for Material You. After all, it’s not clear how different icon shapes and fonts would clash with Material You’s colorful themes at all.

Add proper privacy controls for apps

Apple introduced privacy controls to iOS 14.5, which forces apps to ask users for approval if they want to track them across other apps to create more accurate advertising models. Naturally, most people tend to decline a request like this when asked explicitly from the get-go, and thus, a lot of advertising companies lost access to the thwart of data they previously could rely on.

As much as we would love a feature like this on Android, it’s very unlikely that Google will add something quite as powerful as Apple, and Google has made as much clear already. The company is currently working on the Privacy Sandbox, which promises to offer the best of both worlds for users and advertisers. The system is supposed to allow for personalized ads that utilize a new system feature rather than doing the tracking all by themselves.

Google is an advertising company at its core, so a drastic solution like Apple's would conflict with its own interests. And even if it introduced an advanced option like this, competitors could be quick to point out that Google is creating an unfair advantage for itself on its platform, leading to all sorts of legal issues. Still, one can dream, and we would love to have serious privacy controls on the platform.

Hurry up and wait

Since Google has yet to release the final version or Android 13, it's fair to say we've got about a year until we'll get our first glimpse of Android 14. If you're worried that your current phone will not get the bump to Android 13 or 14, you'll want to take a look at our selection of the best Android phones. Nearly all of our top choices will get an Android 14 bump. If you're looking to buy a good phone but money is tight, take a look at the top budget phones; Google's Pixel 5a should get the update along with nearly all of the Samsung Galaxy A series phones.