Google is rolling out its “on-body” smart lock to beef up Android security


Google’s Android mobile operating system is said to be adding a feature that activates your device’s lock screen the moment it senses that it’s been set down, according to a new report.

Android gets new smart lock

Google’s automatic “smart lock” will use the smartphone’s accelerometer to determine if you’ve set it down, in a bid to protect your personal data more effectively if your device is stolen.

A report by Android Police says the new mode is called on-body detection, and keeps your device unlocked while it’s on you, for example if you’re holding it on your hand or in a pocket. However, when you place the device down somewhere it will automatically be lock – helping to discourage thieves who may target a device that’s been left somewhere or dropped.

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Google has added smart-locking features to Android in the past. With Android 5.0 Lollipop, mobile devices could detect when a trusted Bluetooth device or an NFC chip was in range and disable the security lock. The company has not yet confirmed the new feature, however.

On-body detection doesn’t necessarily mean your phone understands when it’s being held by its owner. The device remains locked when you pick it back up again, and if you give an unlocked phone to someone else it stays locked.

Android Police says that the feature was noticed initially on a Nexus 5 running Android 5.0.1. The feature appears to be rolling out slowly, but seems to be appearing on many devices, including most Nexuses.

SOURCE: Android Police


1 Comment

  1. Steve Abbott on

    Ridiculous idea. Many, many people put their phones down whilst playing movies or listening to albums. This is one feature that most people will turn off.