Access Google Keep notes on the phone home screen with widgets

Google Keep has plenty of fans and many regard it as the perfect note-keeping app. See and browse your notes on the home screen of your phone with a great widget with many useful features.

Widgets have been getting smarter and more useful on Android phones and the current Google Keep widget is the best yet. You can scroll though your notes with a swipe and open them with a tap. You can also create different types of notes, like text, checklists, photo and voice all from the widget.

As with anything Android, capabilities vary with the version of the mobile operating system and the interface that is used. I am using Android 12 and Samsung One UI 4.1. Neither is the latest version, but they are probably the most common right now. Even if your phone is different, you should be able to work out how to get the Google Keep widget on your home screen.

1: Home screen settings

Customize the home screen on a Samsung Android phone.
Customize the home screen

Press and hold on an empty part of the screen until the toolbar appears at the bottom of the screen and then press the Widgets icon. Other phones and versions of Android may have a different way to access widgets.

2: Select an app

Browsing apps with widgets on an Android phone
All the apps with widgets

All the apps on the phone that can show widgets are listed. The number of widgets available is shown too. Press the down arrow next to Google Keep to show its widgets.

3: Add the Google Keep widget

Google Keep widgets on an Android phone
Google keep widgets for an Android phone

Two widgets are available for Google Keep, at least right now, maybe more will be added in the future. The first one only shows buttons to create notes. This is useful, but the second widget is even better. Tap it to select it and then press the Add button.

4: Choose note types or tags

Select the type of Google Keep notes to show in an Android widget
Which notes do you want the widget to show?

The widget can show all notes if you want, but it can show only certain types, like notes that you have pinned, or notes that are set to remind you at a specific time or place.

Keep widget can also filter notes by label, so you could show only those labelled with ‘Work’, ‘Important’, ‘Project-X’ or whatever labels you use. Select All notes to show everything or select one of the types or labels listed.

5: Google Keep widget

A Google Keep widget on the home screen of an Android phone
Google Keep Android phone widget

For some unknown reason, the widget preview shows a toolbar down the right side (see step 3 screenshot), but when it is added to one of the phone’s home screens, the toolbar is at the bottom. It doesn’t affect how it works.

The widget looks good and it works well, but you may think that it is a bit too small. Resize it.

6: Resize the Google Keep widget

Long press to resize an Android phone widget

Press and hold on the widget until the colored border appears. Press and drag any of the handles (the circles on each side), and make it bigger so that it shows more of the notes. I like to make it the full screen width.

7: Use the Keep widget

Photos, checklists, text and URLs in Google Keep phone widget
Swipe up to see your Keep notes

The Keep widget only shows the most recent notes. It depends on their size, but even with a large widget and brief notes, you may only see three or four. Swipe up to see more of your notes. I can browse through the most recent 25 notes, although it may depend on the size. I had some large photos on notes, checklists, URLs, text and more.

Eventually, you get to a View More Notes message and tapping it opens the Keep app so you can access all of your notes.

Press the large plus button to add a note. Press the toolbar buttons to add specific notes, like a checklist, voice note, writing and drawing on the screen, or to take a photo with the camera.

If you ever want to remove the widget from the screen, press and hold on it. Above or below is a delete option. It just removes the widget, not the app.

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