Android How To: Add Trusted Places and Devices in Android 5.0 Lollipop


Android Lollipop has been sitting in some of our pockets and sleeves for a while, while for some it might still be months away.  To you who haven't yet gotten your ticket to the Material Designed, ART-only, Android 5.0 club, we wish you the best in timeliness of the OEM that's holding it from you.  This one is for you folks with Lollipop, version 5.0, 5.0.1, or 5.0.2, on your phone or tablet.  If you've got maybe a favorite Bluetooth headset, and Android Wear watch, or a favorite spot in the library that nobody could ever find you, and you want to secure your Android device with a pattern, passcode, or password, then this article will help you set up a new feature in Lollipop called 'Trusted Device' and 'Trusted Places'.

First, this will only actually exist on your Android phone or tablet if you have Lollipop, Android 5.0 or newer, running on it.  Next, this option will only appear if you have some sort of security on your lockscreen.  And finally, you'll need some peripheral device, like a Bluetooth device (headset, fitness band, Wear smartwatch, etc.) or a geographical position in mind (and within walking distance, probably is best) to set this up and have them act as a sort of security key to your device.  We'll start from square one, with just the typical swipe-to-unlock option enabled, and work from there.  Also note, I am using an almost-stock custom version of Android Lollipop 5.0.2, so some options might now exist in your possibly-stock version; if I mention one, just disregard it and carry on.


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First, you'll need to go into the device's settings, by either going to the quicksettings and tapping the gear in the top-right next to your user profile picture / switcher or going to the Settings app in your app drawer and tapping on it.  Next, you'll scroll down to the 'Personal' section, and under Location will be Security; tap on it.  In the Security settings, you have access to the Screen Security area, which will have the item Screen Lock under it, with Swipe underneath that.  Tap there, and you'll be taken to a list of options of which kind or level of security you want to use for your lock screen.  For this one, I'll be enabling my favorite, the pattern because it's easy to do and easier to remember.  Choose whichever option you want, though.

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Once you've chosen, you'll be taken to a specific screen to set the desired type of security's key, which will be a pattern your favorite string of numbers for a PIN, or a password that seems reasonable enough to use on a phone or tablet (keep speed and reasonability in mind, too).  Once you enter and confirm the security key of your choosing, you'll be prompted which notifications will show up through your now-secured lock screen, since the notification drawer is essentially the lock screen and vice versa.  I usually go with 'Show All', just because I don't look for notifications I don't want people to see while around other people, but it's your choice.

Once that is done, it'll take you back to the Security menu, where the Security Lock will now say whichever type of lock you enabled, in my case Pattern.  I choose to hide my pattern, because only people smart enough to trace the oil smudges from my fingers can now get in.  Now, scroll down a bit, and tap on the Smart Lock item under Owner Info.  Enter your security key, and you'll be taken to the subject of this article: Trusted things.  I personally enable face and devices, for simplicity when I'm not with my Trusted Device, I can always get in easily.  But, let's see how to set them up.  First we'll do the devices, then we'll cover the places.

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To turn a Bluetooth device into a Trusted Device, you'll need to connect via Bluetooth to it.  I'll be setting up my Moto 360 as a Trusted Device, to add to my already-linked Jaybird Bluebuds X and Samsung HM3300 headset.  Once connected to the device, turn back to your phone or tablet and select Trusted Device, and select Add trusted device.  You'll be offered to add it using NFC or Bluetooth, so we'll select the latter, see our paired device(s if there is more than one) and tap on it.  It should add the device as a Trusted one, and that's all there is for a new device.

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Now, we move to the more recent addition of Trusted Places, which let you set a center point and thus a radius of where geographically to not enforce your lovely lovely lock screen security.  First, you'll need to make sure GPS is on to set this up, and to subsequently use it as a bypass feature.  Luckily, with a screen lock of any security more than Swipe, you have to get into the locked device to access the quicksettings, so take that as what you wish.  Regardless, turn GPS and location access on, and you should be able to tap into the menu item, to see a set of two groups, 'From Google Maps' and 'Custom Places'.  To use the Home and Work options from Maps, you'll need to go set them, if they're not set yet, in the Settings of the Maps app, under 'edit home and work', or from within the Google Now Settings.  Then go ahead and select one and it'll remind you that there is a radius of effect, which is about 100 meters, and you're good to go.  If you want to add one yourself, like if you're letting a friend borrow your device, then you might want to let them use their own home or work for it, or if you happen to be travelling or studying abroad, then adding a new place manually is the thing for you.


To do so, select 'Add Trusted Places', then go ahead and either select your current or manually enter the address of the desired location of apparent trustworthiness, and select it.  If your location is a bit off, go ahead and drag the map behind the pin to align it as desired, and tap 'Select this location', enter the name you want to have associated with it, and select okay.  IF you want to edit the name of or remove any custom trusted places, then you can do so by tapping the item, and selecting Remove or Rename.

Have you used the new security features of Trusted Devices and Places yet, or are you good with the usual face unlock or no-security swipe?  Which feature do you think people will more likely gravitate towards, or will they likely stay with their typical choice of 'none, just remember the passcode'?  What kind of new security bypass should Google consider next, given the possibilities of these three new ones for Lollipop?  Since Trusted Devices is already implemented on some Chrome OS devices, should more bypass options, like those on Android Lollipop, come over to the desktop and laptop realm, or is it enough as it is?  Let us know down below.