Android Smart Lock on-body detection only locks your phone when it’s put down

With the release of Android Lollipop Google introduced its Smart Lock feature, a mode that lets users control when their phones and tablets will require PINs or passwords, and when they’ll automatically stay unlocked. Right now that can be tied to objects, using the presence of a trusted Bluetooth device or NFC tag to trigger this unlocked mode, tied to a specific area with the help of location services, or even tied to your own body, taking advantage of facial recognition. Now users are reporting that Google’s in the process of adding a new option for when to keep your phone unlocked, detecting when you’re carrying it on your person.

Think about how you use your phone: you generally don’t need the security of a PIN when the phone’s in your pocket, as you pull it out throughout the day to check notifications or send messages. The risk usually comes only after you set it down, leaving it unattended. That’s where this on-body detection comes in to play.

Using your phone’s sensors, the software attempts to detect when it’s in your pocket or bag. You’ll have to enter your PIN the first time you pick your phone up, but from then on, so long as the phone thinks it’s still on your body, it won’t prompt you to reenter that PIN. If you put it down, or maybe even just sit perfectly still for too long, you’ll have to re-authenticate yourself.

It’s a compelling idea, and seems to strike a nice balance between security and convenience. We’ll want to give it a spin for ourselves before passing judgment, and it sounds like we’ll have the opportunity quite soon: Google appears to be rolling it out right now, and if you don’t see it on your Lollipop device already, check again in the days to come.

Source: Android Police

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About The Author
Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!