Android 14 Beta 3 dropped earlier this week and gave us a good look at the new lock screen customizations coming with the update. However, the new emoji wallpaper feature Google teased during I/O 2023 was mysteriously absent — turns out, it’s coming, slowly, via an APK.
The Google News Telegram channel spotted the ‘Emoji Workshop Wallpaper’ APK, which is starting to appear for some users on Android 14 Beta 3. The Google News channel shared a link to the Play Store page for the APK — I was only able to access it from my Pixel 7, which is running the Android 14 beta.
Oddly, the Play Store indicates the app is already installed on my Pixel 7, but as of writing, the emoji wallpaper wasn’t available on my device. The Google News Telegram channel says the emoji wallpaper will show up in the wallpaper picker “after a while,” so we’ll see what happens. Android Police reports that restarting your phone and force-stopping the ‘Wallpaper & style’ app can help get the emoji wallpaper to show up, but this didn’t make a difference for me.
If and when you get everything up and running properly, you should see a new ‘Emoji Workshop’ tile in the wallpaper picker. Tapping it calls up an interface to create an emoji wallpaper.
There’s a randomize button and users can add emojis to use in the wallpaper (Android Police reports up to 14 emoji at a time). There are five patterns to pick from, ‘Mosaic,’ ‘Lotus,’ ‘Stacks,’ ‘Sprink;e,’ and ‘Prism.’ When picking a pattern, there’s also a slider to control the size of the emoji. Finally, there are several colour options to pick from.
Android Police notes that the wallpaper works as demonstrated at Google I/O. Tapping on the home screen, whether on a blank spot or on an app icon, creates a ripple effect. Moreover, the emoji wallpaper shows subtle animations when waking and unlocking the phone. One neat animation we hadn’t seen before is that all the emojis briefly turn into lightning bolts when you plug in your phone.
After creating a wallpaper, you can turn off the live animations are share it, though Android Police notes that the share button is currently broken. Moreover, some wallpapers can be edited and some can’t, so it seems there are still a few beta bugs to work through.
And for those not on Android 14, Android Police notes that you can sideload the APK onto Pixel phones running Android 13, but it doesn’t work yet. The publication says it’s related to a server-side toggle so you’ll just have to wait until Google enables it.