Wish the screen on your asleep-but-charging Android phone could do something a little more interesting than just go blank?

If so, good news: a feature in the latest version of Android will turn your phone’s sleeping display into a digital clock, a photo gallery, a scrolling grid of headlines and news photos, and more.

Think of “Daydream” as a screensaver that turns itself on whenever your Android handset is sitting in a phone dock or connected to its charging cable.

Android Daydream Photo Table screensaver

What your phone’s screen does while it’s daydreaming is, of course, up to you.

One option is to have it display a faint digital clock, perfect for a dimly lit bedroom.

“Daydream” can also create an ever-shifting array of abstract shapes and colors, or crank out a slideshow of snapshots from the Gallery app, Instagram, or your online Google account.

You can even set Daydream to show trending headlines, photos, and social links from apps like Google Currents or Flipboard.

What’s the catch? Well, Daydream is only available on handsets running on Android version 4.2 or later.

(To check which version of Android powers your phone, tap Settings, “About phone,” then check the number under the “Android version” heading. You can also check for available Android updates by tapping “System updates” at the top of the “About phone” screen.)

So, ready to let you Android phone do a little daydreaming?

Android Daydream settings

Just pick a screensaver from the Daydream settings, then tap Start Now to go for a test drive.

Here’s how…

  • Tap Settings, Display, then Daydream. (Note: the specific settings may vary depending on the make and model of your Android phone. I tested this tip on a Samsung Galaxy Nexus running on Android version 4.2.1).
  • On the next screen, make sure the Daydream switch in the top-right corner is set to “On.”
  • Tap the “When to Daydream” button at the bottom of the screen, and pick an option: “While docked” (meaning while your Android phone is sitting in a charging cradle or, say, a clock-radio dock), “While charging,” or “Either.”
  • Now, time to choose a Daydream screensaver. Besides the standard digital clock and photo frame, you’ll also find Colors (those random multicolored shapes I mentioned earlier) and Photo Table (a growing pile of images that twirl into view).
  • Want more Daydream screensaver choices? Try installing some new, Daydream-friendly apps, such as Google Currents and Flipboard.
  • Certain Daydream screensavers may have their own settings and customizations; for example, tap the settings icon next to Photo Frame to display photos from your Instagram account.
  • All set? Tap the Start Now button to give your Daydream screensaver a test drive.

Looking for more Android tips? Click here!