Google introduces ‘on-body detection’ to Smart Lock for Android, stops your phone from locking whilst you’re holding it

Callum Tennent
March 23, 2015

Google’s constantly pushing out new features for Android, but this one has snuck out a little more quietly than most.

We’re not sure why though, considering its certainly an interesting concept. It’s called ‘on-body detection’ and it prevents your device from unlocking whilst in your possession.

It’s a new feature to Google’s Smart Lock service that works out whether or not you’ve set your smartphone down or not. If it’s stayed in your hand or placed in your pocket and the screen happened to power off, upon waking it you won’t be asked for any security verification.

Google says on-body detection uses your phone’s accelerometer to determine movement. No movement for a certain amount of time and it presumes that it’s been put down and locks itself.

It’s certainly a novel idea, but is it a good one? Maybe. If you opt to use it then you should be well aware of the security risks it poses and be willing to accept any mishaps that may occur as a result. If you’re mugged or pick-pocketed, for example, the thief will be able to get straight into your device free of obstruction.

On the other hand, it can be a nuisance constantly unlocking your phone when you’re out and about and constantly drawing it from your pocket. We’re still on the fence.

On-body detection for Smart Lock is currently being pushed out to devices running Android 5.0 and 5.1 Lollipop, although we’re not sure just how the order is being decided – certain handsets are receiving it before others.

You can check to see if it’s reached your device by heading to Settings > Security > Smart Lock.


About the Author

Callum Tennent

International playboy/tech journalist.

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