Google’s Keep note-taking app is getting a new feature courtesy of Android 14 that’s a huge time-saver, even if Samsung got there first

Google Keep icon displayed on a smartphone on a table next to a notepad
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There’s a certain balance that needs to be achieved with lock screen functionality. You can’t give away too much because of, well, security and such. But it’s also very useful to be able to execute quick functions without having to go to the trouble of unlocking your phone and navigating to an app.

Google seems to have picked up on this and is preparing to let users jot down notes with Google Keep straight from the lock screen in Android 14. This could be a serious time-saver for when you just want to capture a quick reminder that's fresh in your brain. And if it sounds familiar, it’s because Samsung offers the same functionality for phones Samsung Notes and its S Pen stylus

In fact, if you’re one of the folks who pairs one of the best Apple Pencil alternatives to your Android device, you should also be able to click the action button on a compatible model to launch Google Keep that way.

For a notes app to be used on the lock screen in Android 14, it needs to be set as the “default notes app” first. As reported by Android Authority, only version 5.23.482.04 of Google Keep fulfils the two criteria necessary to meet this requirement. However, I'm sure some of the best note taking apps will soon be eligible for this as well. 

An added benefit of now being able to select Keep as the “default notes app” is it will get access to a new API that lets users take a screenshot of the current window that can then be inserted into a note. This has previously been blocked from third-party apps due to privacy concerns so the new API has the System UI take a screenshot and share it with the default note-taking app.

Finally, when a new note is taken from the lock screen, Keep will let users decide if they want it created as a new note each time or added to an existing one.

Galaxy Z Fold 3 and S Pen

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Although this feature isn’t live yet — apart from if you enable it in the Developers Menu on the Pixel Tablet running Android 14 — it’s likely to come through to the public sooner rather than later.

Google announced Android 14 back on October 4, 2023, and it's now rolled out to anyone using a Pixel 4a 5G or later. While any Android phone launched next year will use 14 out of the box, existing non-Google phones are getting the update through as we speak. Samsung’s OneUI 6 update appeared on eligible phones from November 13 to December 1 while OnePlus phones got their Oxygen OS 14 version of the Android update from November 16, but not simultaneously worldwide. Motorola and Asus are keeping quiet, but should hopefully send out their updates by early next year at the latest.

Meanwhile, we’ve covered all the best new features over on our Android 14 review here.

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Jeff Parsons
UK Editor In Chief

Jeff is UK Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide looking after the day-to-day output of the site’s British contingent. Rising early and heading straight for the coffee machine, Jeff loves nothing more than dialling into the zeitgeist of the day’s tech news.

A tech journalist for over a decade, he’s travelled the world testing any gadget he can get his hands on. Jeff has a keen interest in fitness and wearables as well as the latest tablets and laptops. A lapsed gamer, he fondly remembers the days when problems were solved by taking out the cartridge and blowing away the dust.