android security

Android L Offers New Personal Unlocking Feature

June 25, 2014 - Written By Cory McNutt

Many of us (me included) do not even bother using the Lock Screen – we just do not want to be bothered unlocking our smartphone every time we pick it up.  Google knows this, and so they worked hard in their new ‘Android L’ to make it as easy and painless as possible to unlock our device.  The new feature uses information it knows about you to help eliminate the need for locking.

At Google’s I/O, Dave Burke, an engineering director for Google’s Android team introduced a new way to unlock our device: “If you’re one of the 50 percent of people with a PIN or pattern lock, you waste many minutes per day with that fiddly task of unlocking that PIN.  So we figured there had to be a better way.”  Google calls it “personal unlocking.”  The phone knows about you and where the phone is located, as well as if any expected Bluetooth devices are nearby, and can even check your unique voice print…pretty cool!

In other words, based on predetermine settings that the user sets up, such as GPS coordinates for your home or office, the device knows it is in a trusted or ‘safe’ environment.  If the device realizes that you are at work or home, Android L will not bother you with an unlocking sequence – your device will be ready to go as soon as you pick it up to use it.  If you are outside the geographic boundaries that you established, then you would see the lock screen and be required to enter your passcode.

Another cool way Android L detects if you are in a trusted location is via your Bluetooth settings.  If the device detects your smartwatch or fitness band or even your earpiece, then the device and Android L assumes that it is you and no lock screen will pop up, but if your device goes out of the range of your Bluetooth device, then a lock screen would appear.

Admittedly, no major breakthrough in technology, however, a more convenient way for users and it may even convince users, like me, to start using our lock screens.  Please hit us up on our Google+ Page and let us know if you use your screen lock and if not, would this new Android L feature change your mind…as always, we would love to hear from you.