moonshine and gossamer
July 27, 2014 3:55 PM   Subscribe

I love having a moon phase widget on my android phone. Three days ago I noticed the one I had, had disappeared. I then downloaded a few others to try. Paid apps even! None of them change on the desktop(?) of the phone, indicating where the moon is in its cycle. Is this because I have mobile data turned off to save battery power? Or is there another reason? I also downloaded the app Sun and Moon but is it anywhere to be found on my phone except in My Apps to uninstall? Is it heck. What's going on?
posted by glasseyes to Technology (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I use something called Beautiful Widgets that gives me a desktop image that shows the sun in the appropriate position during the day, some grass that will blow if it's windy, has clouds when it's cloudy, and reflects the current weather in several other ways (they even recently added WeatherUnderground as a data source). At night it shows the correct phase of the moon. I'm not sure if this is precisely what you're after but I love it to a kind of comical extent.
posted by feloniousmonk at 4:51 PM on July 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

What version of Android are you running, has it been skinned by your mobile carrier, and are you using any third party home screens?

To get something on your home screen that updates/changes its image, you need to add a Widget, and not just the app icon from your Apps drawer, but the instructions for where to find widgets to add to the home screen vary depending on your answers to the three questions above.
posted by radwolf76 at 4:52 PM on July 27, 2014

I just checked my phone. I also have some weather icons from HD widgets. In general, there are a ton of these widget libraries and one of them is likely to have what you want, it's just a matter of finding it.
posted by feloniousmonk at 4:56 PM on July 27, 2014

Thanks for the answers above, I'll check beautiful Widgets and HD widgets - BUT - the problem is that: the desktop icon of the app I'd been using stopped waxing and waning with the moon. Also, one of my moonphase apps randomly disappeared.

The icon/widget used to change, it no longer does. What might have made this happen, and might it be something I did? Or is some kind of weird technological/astronomical glitch happening? (Mr. Google just shrugs.) None of the other, eight, moonphase apps I downloaded to test showed a changing desktop icon either.

I've always used a personal photo from my gallery for my desktop and had the moon widget doing its thing on top of that. Now it's static.

I'm not sure what 'skinned by mobile carrier' means, but the phone is android 4.1.2
posted by glasseyes at 2:36 AM on July 28, 2014

widgets and icons are different things.

long-press on your home screen and you should get a popup menu to add an incon or a widget. choose widget and it should take you to a list of widgets. there should be different size listing for various programs.

it sounds you like aren't adding the widget. icons don't usually change unless there's a little notifier, like how many messages you have or something.
posted by sio42 at 5:55 AM on July 28, 2014

FWIW, Hijri Calendar Lite has a pretty good moon/sun widget. By default it occupies an annoyingly large 3x3 box on the home screen, but it resizes down to 2x1 with no trouble.

And, hey, it comes with a free Islamic date converter.
posted by jackbishop at 9:47 AM on July 28, 2014

widgets and icons are different things.

Yes they are, and I also realised the phone equivalent of the desktop is called 'home screen' well after I posted! I think I must not be explaining what I'm puzzled about very well: the apps used to work the way I wanted and i'd have a little picture of the moon in it's current phase on my homescreen all the time. Now, I just have an unchanging little picture of the full moon. Also, my favourite moon app disappeared and Sun and Moon that I downloaded just doesn't show up.

Thanks for the suggestion of Hijri Calendar Lite, I do like it. Question unresolved so far though.
posted by glasseyes at 2:36 PM on July 28, 2014

Hi. I've been an Android developer since 2008. Android apps have never been able to change their icons. What you had on your home screen before was not an icon, but a widget.

Some apps have just an icon. Some have just a widget. Some have both. The reason you can't find Sun and Moon in your list of apps is that it does not have an icon, only a widget. You need to open the "Widgets" list to find it.

The instructions for adding a widget to the home screen are different on different Android devices, even ones with the same Android version number. We can find better instructions if you tell us the make and model of your phone, and the mobile operator that sold it (if any).

On my Motorola Xoom tablet running Android 4.1, to view the list of widgets I have to press the "grid" icon on the home screen to view the list of apps, then swipe past the end of the app list to reach the widget list. Then I can swipe to find the "Sun and Moon" widget, then press and hold on the widget to add it to my home screen.

On my Google Nexus 4 running Android 4.4, the process is different. To view the list of widgets, I press and hold on an empty area of the home screen, then press the "Widgets" button that appears at the bottom of the screen. Then swipe to find the "Sun and Moon" widget. Then press and hold on the widget to add it to my home screen.

If neither of these methods works for you, please describe exactly what happens when you try to follow them.
posted by mbrubeck at 5:13 PM on July 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

Here's a video showing how to open and use the "Widgets" list on a different Android 4.1 phone.
posted by mbrubeck at 5:18 PM on July 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

O my goodness yes. I have now finally understood what people were trying to tell me. I was confused about the method of putting a widget on the home screen. On the other hand several of the moonphase apps on my phone now say '**** not working'; and some of the new ones I downloaded took a while to appear. mbrubeck, my widget list works same as for the Motorola Xoom tablet, but Sun and Moon only showed up in there today.

Thanks very much everybody.
posted by glasseyes at 10:21 AM on July 29, 2014

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