Always On Display from Pixel 2 can be enabled on Nexus 6P, Pixel, Pixel XL without root

One of the new features that Google brought to the new Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL is the Always On Display. That feature joins a couple others like the Now Playing function for identifying music that is playing and some of the tweaks available in the camera app’s Portrait Mode. It is not surprise that these features are limited to only working on Google’s latest devices as a way to encourage buyers to invest in the Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL. Some signs point to the restriction eventually dropping, but until then some developers have figured out a way to enable the Always On Display on older Google smartphones including the Nexus 6P, the Pixel and the Pixel XL without root access being required.

The code to make the Always On Display accessible on older devices appears in the Android 8.1 Oreo Developer Preview 1. For the current Android 8.0 Oreo version of the operating system, the code that checks for whether a device is allowed to run the Always On Display was hardcoded. Looking forward though, Google is moving to check for a value passed by a parameter. With that in mind, developers figured out that they can use the OverlayManagerService (OMS) to return the correct value even on older devices. This is combined with the Substratum “theme manager” and a plugin called Andromeda to customize the display and resource overlays used by the device, including the lock screen and Always On Display.

Step by step directions and a video showing the install process and setup are available using the source link below. If you decide to pursue this option to enable an Always On Display on your older Google device, keep in mind the screens on those devices have not been optimized to use the low power doze state so power consumption is still not clear. The developers who figured this out have also noted there are some issues with waking the device from a sleep state with the Always On Display enabled that requires doubling up on power button or screen double-taps to power on. Occasionally a device may get stuck on a gray screen as well. The developers note that locking and relocking a device using the fingerprint scanner resolves these issues.

source: XDA Developers


About the Author: Jeff Causey

Raised in North Carolina, Jeff Causey is a licensed CPA in North Carolina. Jeff's past Android devices include an HTC EVO, a Samsung Note II, an LG G3, and a Motorola Moto X Pure Edition along with a Samsung Galaxy Tablet 10.1. He currently uses a Samsung Galaxy S8 and (very rarely) a Nexus 7 (2013). He is also using a Verizon-branded Motorola Moto Z Play Droid supplied by his job. Jeff used to have a pair of Google Glass and a Moto 360 Sport in his stable of gadgets. Unfortunately, his kids have all drunk the Apple Kool-Aid and have i-devices. Life at home often includes demonstrations of the superiority of his Android based devices. In his free time, Jeff is active an active runner usually training for his next marathon, owns a Mazda MX-5 Miata, and plays Dungeons & Dragons. Jeff has three grown kids and a golden retriever.