One of my biggest fears when upgrading my phone to Jelly Bean was that Unlock With WiFi doesn’t work with pattern locks on ICS+. Apparently it has to do with changes Google made to Android; however, other apps are still able to unlock the phone for you on the same Android version, so I really don’t know exactly what’s going on there. Either way, I had to stop using an app I knew to be reliable and look for an alternative.
Since I do more or less everything on my phone in Tasker, it was the first place I looked. I knew that the Secure Settings plugin is theoretically capable of manipulating the pattern lock on phones where other apps have had to give up, but I also knew that it outright didn’t work properly when I tried the same thing on my old Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus before I sold it, and it was also running Jelly Bean.
To my surprise, however, it seems to be working fairly well on my current phone. By having Secure Settings disable the pattern lock as part of my Home profile and re-enable it as part of the same profile’s exit task, I’ve been able to get the same functionality as before – almost. Since this is part of a Tasker profile, it’s a bit less intelligent when it comes to reboots and whatnot than what UWW is, meaning that I’ve had to run it manually a couple of times when I’ve rebooted the device. Other than that, it’s been working perfectly fine.
The advantage of having this as part of my Tasker creations is of course that I can implement it in other systems, if I want to. I have been considering tying the lock to my profile for when my Sony Smartwatch is connected, as it would make sense to assume the phone is safe when it’s connected to a device physically strapped to the owner’s wrist. I haven’t done so yet though, as I fear that it’s not quite as secure as needing to be within my own apartment for it to be unlocked, but I have been considering it.
For others looking to do the same, you could for instance have it unlock as part of a car profile, under the assumption that your phone is safe when in your car. Another option would be calendar events, the logic being that if you’re in a meeting at your office, your phone is safe.
Either way, I’ve been pleasantly surprised that this has worked as well as it has, though the issues I had with it on my Galaxy Tab means I’m still not sure exactly what’s going on. Things like this seems to be very device dependent, and on top of that, Secure Settings does use root access to get it working.
I have to say I’m still saddened by how Google is removing features in later Android versions, and they seem to be doing so almost at random; They removed the ability to unlock the pattern lock remotely, but not completely, and pin/password locks are unaffected. They also introduced the world’s least secure unlock method, face unlock, in the same update. Google’s idiocy is slowly ruining Android if you ask me, and I don’t know how long it will be until every last work around for epic features like this gets “fixed.”