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Tuesday 6 June 2023 Dublin: 11°C
# get smart
There are other ways to unlock your Android phone besides your PIN
In some cases, you may be sacrificing convenience for security though.

MOST OF US know the traditional methods to unlock a phone. PIN, fingerprint scanner, patterns and even passwords are used to keep a phone safe

Smart lock is a feature that’s hidden deep within Android devices running Lollipop and Marshmallow. When activated, it can stay unlocked when you’re at a trusted location like home or near a trusted device.

There are also other things you can do. Go into Settings > Security > Smart Lock to find your list of options. You will see five options: Devices, places, face, voice and on-body detection.

Remember that these solutions aren’t foolproof. For the extra convenience, you’re also sacrificing some security. How much of that is being compromised is something for you to decide.

Trusted devices

Trusted devices can be anything that has a Bluetooth connection and works with a 100-metre range. Alternatively, you can use an NFC (Near Field Communication) tag to unlock as well, but these aren’t as commonplace unless you buy your own for your home.

Such devices can include your laptop (if Bluetooth is available), speakers, or in-car system. Just remember that you need Bluetooth activated on your phone to work as well.

Trusted places 

Once you’re in a location that you feel safe, like home or work, you can set up your phone so that it unlocks once you’re in that area. Its accuracy is up to 80 metres so you will be fine if you’re within the vicinity.

It’s recommended you set it up while you’re in the place you want it to activate so you get through it quicker, but you can pinpoint the location on Google Maps if you’re not there.

Trusted faces 

This scans your face to unlock your phone. Once it detects it, you can swipe the lock screen and skip the unlocking part. The technology has improved since it first came out and while it’s not foolproof, it can be used for quick access.


Trusted Voice

Google already has a good voice detection system thanks to Google Now and this extends that to include unlocking. When your phone is locked, saying ‘Ok Google’ will unlock it.

On-body detection 

An experimental option and probably the riskiest one available. Using your phone’s accelerometer, it unlocks when it’s able to tell it’s on you so when you’re moving and you have it in your hand or bag. The obvious drawback is someone taking it from you will be able to unlock it just by moving so keep that in mind.


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