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How to manage your Android lock screen

Google recently announced that it was going to introduce Ambient Mode to Android lock screens, which would display interesting and useful info on your lock screen, effectively turning your phone into a smart display. It may be a while before many Android phones have this capability — as of this writing, only two Lenovo tablets and two Nokia phones are scheduled to get it. But while we’re waiting, there are ways to at least tweak the way notifications appear on your lock screen so that you get the information you want when you want it.

First, you can decide whether you want any notifications on your lock screen at all. To turn notifications on or off:

You can also choose to show or not show sensitive information on your lock screen by toggling “Sensitive notifications” on or off. If it’s toggled off, you will only see the app that the notification is from rather than the notification itself — for example, you’ll see “1 new message” rather than any information about the message.

The apps that appear on your lock screen are the same apps that are permitted to send you notifications. You can choose which those are.

While you can choose just to get general notifications on your lock screen, such as news headlines or the weather, you can also get more personal notifications for emails, reminders, flight reservations, and other items.

Google Assistant can answer questions and follow direction from the lock screen if set to do so. It can also be a little annoying if you accidentally trigger it, so that it starts unexpectedly talking. Here’s how you can either activate Google Assistant to work from the lock screen, or turn it off.

According to Google, there are some verbal responses that will not be given from the lock screen, even if you allow it to display personal results. These include payments, Google Photos, requests to open other apps, or questions about your name or address, among others.

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