Tired of swiping your passcode, entering your PIN, or posing for your phone’s face unlock? Over the past few days Google has been pushing out an update to their Google Play Services that includes on-body detection to aid in unlocking your phone.
The idea behind this is that as long as you’re carrying the device you probably don’t want to have to reenter your PIN or pose for the front facing camera as it attempts to identify you, etc.
To accomplish this, the security service can now use the accelerometer to detect when you’re in contact with the device. As long as your phone is pocketed or in your hands there will be no requirement to pass a security challenge as long as you’ve previously unlocked during this body contact with the phone.
If you put the device down and pick it back up shortly, it will require unlocking again. This is incredibly useful for most situations in which you’re not carrying government data, but could present a thief with the opportunity to snatch your phone and gain access as long as they keep moving long enough to disable security or change the PIN.
For those that really don’t care about Android security but have it on because it was forced for one reason or another, this is a headache-relieving add-on.
For writers of fancy spy novels, this is a chance to use your long-unused wobbly-table you’ve been saving up in which the spy keeps the table moving slickly back and forth while the spied-upon goes and looks for a beer coaster while leaving their now-unlocked phone on the table thinking it will lock, but not really due to the continual table movement.
The new setting can be found in settings, security, Smart Lock, and is listed as On-body detection. If it’s not there, your Play Services haven’t updated to a new version or your ROM doesn’t support it. I don’t know if there’s any good way to make Play Services update, but if there is drop up a line in the comments.
If you’re worried about the security risk to this method of unlocking, you can simply not enable it as it is disabled by default.