How do I show media controls on my lock screen Android?

Media controls on Android lock screens provide quick access to music, videos, podcasts and other media that is currently playing on your device without having to unlock the screen. This allows you to easily pause, skip, or adjust the volume of media content directly from the lock screen.

Having media controls on your lock screen offers several benefits:

  • Convenience – You can control playback without unlocking your phone, saving time and effort.
  • Accessibility – Media controls make it easier to manage playback while driving, exercising, or in other situations where you don’t want to handle your phone.
  • Customization – Many Android skins like Samsung’s OneUI allow customizing which apps show controls and their position on the lock screen.
  • Notifications – The media player widget shows what’s currently playing and displays playback notifications.

Overall, lock screen media controls give you quick access to manage music, videos, podcasts and more without disrupting your use of the phone. It’s an extremely handy feature of the Android experience.

Enabling Lock Screen Media Controls

The setting to enable media controls on the lock screen is located in the Sound settings in Android. Here are the steps to enable it:

1. Open the Settings app on your Android device.

2. Scroll down and tap on Sound.

3. In the Sound settings screen, look for the “Media” section and tap on it.

4. Toggle on the switch next to “Show media on lock screen” to enable the feature.

Once enabled, you will see playback controls for your music, videos, and other media directly on your lock screen whenever media is playing. This allows you to quickly pause, play, skip tracks without having to unlock your phone.

The setting is available on Android 8.0 Oreo and higher. If you don’t see the “Media” options in your Sound settings, your device manufacturer may have moved or removed the setting.

For Samsung devices running One UI, the setting can be found under Sound > Advanced sound settings > Separate app sound.

Customizing the Lock Screen

There are a few different ways to customize the look and feel of the media controls on your Android lock screen. The default media controls match the overall aesthetics of your lock screen wallpaper and theme. However, you can install third-party lock screen apps to change things up.

One way to customize the media controls without changing lock screens is to use a launcher like Nova Launcher [1] or Action Launcher [1] which allow adjusting the position and size of widgets on the lock screen. You can move the default media controls widget around or resize it. Some launchers even support custom lock screen widgets.

To completely change the look, try an alternate lock screen app like Hi Locker [2] or Next Lock Screen [2]. These replace your lock screen with customizable themes, widgets, and layouts. You can find lock screens tailored specifically for music controls. Just be aware that lock screen apps may impact security and notifications.

Controlling Music Playback

One of the most useful features of Android’s lock screen media controls is the ability to easily control music playback without unlocking your phone. Here are some tips for playing, pausing, and skipping tracks right from the lock screen:

To play or pause the currently playing song, simply tap the play/pause icon on the media controls. This will start playback if paused, or pause if a song is currently playing without needing to turn on your screen or unlock the phone.

To skip to the next or previous track in the playlist or queue, tap the “skip forward” or “skip back” icons on either side of the play/pause button. This allows you to quickly navigate through songs without unlocking.

You can also see the album art and basic track info like artist and song title on the lock screen while music is playing back. This lets you identify the current song without needing to wake up and unlock the phone.

On Android 9 and later, you can swipe left or right on the album art to skip between tracks as well. This provides an easy gesture-based way to skip songs.

If you run into issues with playback controls not appearing consistently on your lock screen, check your notification settings to make sure media playback notifications are enabled. You may need to allow notifications from your default music app for lock screen controls to function properly (source).

Controlling Videos and Other Media

One of the most convenient uses of lock screen media controls is the ability to control video and audio playback without unlocking your device. This allows you to quickly pause, play, or skip tracks while listening to music or podcasts, or pause and play videos without interrupting the visuals on your lock screen.

Most Android devices running Android 5.0 or higher have built-in support for media controls on the lock screen. To control playback of videos, music, and other media from the lock screen:

  • Open the video or start playing audio in any app that supports background playback, like YouTube, Netflix, Spotify, etc.
  • While the media is playing, press the Power or Lock button to lock your device.
  • On the lock screen, tap the play/pause icon to pause playback or resume playing.
  • Tap the previous or next track icons to skip to the previous or next track for audio files.
  • For YouTube and some other video apps, you can also tap to skip back or ahead 10 seconds within a video.

This provides quick access to control media playback without fumbling to unlock your device or open the app. Some apps like YouTube allow premium subscribers to play video content with just the audio continuing when the screen is locked.

If your Android device doesn’t show lock screen playback controls by default, you may need to enable a setting to turn this on. Go to Settings > Sound & vibration > Media and toggle on “Show media playback controls”. This will add playable media controls to your lock screen.

Some custom Android ROMs and skins may not have lock screen playback controls enabled. You may need to install a third party app like Lock Screen Media Controls to add this functionality if missing from your device.

Third-Party Apps

Many popular third-party apps like Spotify, YouTube Music, and Pandora allow you to control music playback directly from your Android lock screen. These music apps have built-in integrations that enable media controls on your lock screen when you are playing audio in the app.

For example, when using Spotify to listen to music, you can pause, play, skip tracks, and adjust the volume all without having to unlock your phone and open the Spotify app. The media controls will automatically appear on your lock screen. Spotify Premium users can also download songs for offline listening and still access the lock screen controls.

Similarly, YouTube Music Premium subscribers can play music in the background while using other apps, and change tracks from the lock screen. Pandora also lets you thumb up or down songs and skip an unlimited number of tracks from the lock screen controls.

These lock screen integrations for music and media apps provide quick access to playback controls without unlocking your phone. Check if your favorite third-party apps have added support for Android lock screen media controls.

Troubleshooting Issues

Here are some common problems with lock screen media controls on Android devices and how to fix them:

Media controls not showing

If the media controls are not showing at all on your lock screen, first go to Settings > Sound > Media and make sure “Show media on lock screen” is enabled. You can also try toggling this setting off and back on again. Additionally, check that you don’t have any apps blocked from showing media controls under Settings > Apps.

If that doesn’t work, try rebooting your phone or checking for any software updates. There are also some reports that disabling battery optimization for media apps like Spotify can resolve this issue.

Controls not working properly

If the media controls are there but not functioning properly, first close and re-open the media app you are trying to control. Check that the app has proper permissions to draw over other apps which is sometimes required for lock screen controls.

You can also try wiping the app data and cache from Settings > Apps to refresh the app. As a last resort, uninstall and reinstall the misbehaving media app. There may be some bug causing problems with that specific app version.

Controls for only some apps appearing

If you only see controls for certain media apps on your lock screen, this is usually because other apps do not have the necessary permissions. Go to Settings > Apps and enable “Appear on top” and “Draw over other apps” for the media apps you want to control from the lock screen.

You can also try enabling developer options and enabling “Show taps” to see if other media apps are being blocked from appearing in the foreground on your lock screen for some reason.

Custom ROMs and Rooting

Installing a custom ROM or rooting your Android device can affect lock screen media controls in a few ways:

Some custom ROMs like LineageOS provide additional customization options for lock screen media controls, allowing you to tweak the layout, font sizes, colors and more. This gives you more flexibility compared to the stock Android experience.

However, other custom ROMs may remove or break the lock screen media controls entirely. This is because they modify or replace key system components that the media controls rely on.

Rooting your device also allows installing modules like Xposed that can add advanced features to the lock screen player. But rooting comes with risks like voiding your warranty and increased security vulnerabilities.

So while custom ROMs give you more room for customization, they can also take away default functionality like media controls. It’s recommended to research the specific ROM’s features before installing to ensure it has the options you want.

Overall, tread with caution when altering your device’s software with custom ROMs and root access. While greater customization is possible, you may lose out on standard Android features like convenient lock screen media controls.

Accessibility Features

Google and Android device manufacturers have added several accessibility features to make using lock screen media controls easier for those with disabilities or impairments.

One option is to enable an accessibility service called “Touch exploration”, which allows users to hear spoken feedback and navigate the screen using gestures [1]. This makes the lock screen media controls more accessible when vision is limited.

There are also specific one-touch shortcuts that can be enabled, like triple tapping the screen to pause/play media from anywhere on the device [2]. Large target sizes and spacing for lock screen player buttons helps as well.

Lastly, always check your device and Android version’s accessibility settings to enable any other options helpful for quickly controlling media playback from the lock screen.


Lock screen media controls in Android allow for quick and convenient access to music, videos, and other media playback without unlocking your device. The key benefits covered in this guide include:

  • Enabling lock screen media controls only takes a few quick settings changes, allowing you to access playback immediately without any complicated setup.
  • Customizing visibility, size, and location of the media controls bar lets you optimize the lock screen layout to suit your preferences.
  • Music apps display track info and include play/pause, previous, and next buttons for controlling playback from the lock screen.
  • Videos and other media playback can also be controlled directly from the lock screen once enabled.
  • Many third party apps like Spotify and YouTube support lock screen media controls after enabling the feature.
  • If having issues getting lock screen media controls to work, solutions covered like restarting the device, checking app permissions, or uninstalling updates may help resolve problems.

With lock screen media controls enabled, you no longer have to go through the hassle of unlocking your phone every time you want to play, pause or change tracks. This handy feature helps save time and makes media playback quicker and more convenient.

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