Android 5.0 Lollipop brought some key new features, one of which is called Smart Lock. But with Android 5.0 Lollipop adoption still sitting at just 3.3 percent based on the latest ‘Platform Version’ numbers from Google — the Smart Lock feature is one that many hear about but cannot actually use. The feature is actually pretty simple, not to mention convenient. First things first though, just what is Smart Lock.
Smart Lock in Lollipop allows you to pair your smartphone with a trusted device and skip the lock screen security. Essentially, Smart Lock will allow you to open your phone directly to your homescreen when you are connected to your trusted device. Well, an app called Smart Unlock adds this functionality to a wide variety of Android devices. Smart Unlock works with devices running Android 4.0 and later.
The app is priced at $1.99, though it does come with a 7-day free trial. I’ve been running the app on a OnePlus One (with Android 4.4.4) for a few months now, and haven’t had any issues. At present the Smart Unlock app allows you to set a Wi-Fi connection or a Bluetooth device as trusted. And for those wondering, you can have more than one trusted device setup using the app. Personally I have mine set with my home Wi-Fi connection and my Google Glass. This means my phone unlocks directly to the homescreen (without any security prompts) when I am at home, or wearing my Google Glass.
Getting up and running is relatively quick and easy. First, you’ll want to visit the settings on your smartphone to make sure you have a lockscreen PIN (or other security method setup). From that point you install the Smart Unlock app from the Play Store, and then set your trusted devices using the “+” icon in the lower right hand corner. Again, the app allows for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections to be set as trusted devices. There is also a coming soon mention for NFC and Location, but the developer hasn’t offered any firm timeline as to when those can be expected.
Otherwise, the app has a clean user interface and makes use of a left-hand navigation menu. Aside from setting trusted devices there isn’t a ton of other features or options. But thankfully, the basics such as being able to have the app start on boot, and hiding the status bar icon are available.
What We Liked
- Easy to setup, and easy to use.
- Does not require root, and works with a wide variety of Android devices (4.0 and later).
- Having a secure device, without having to constantly enter a PIN.
Room For Improvement
- App has issues with “most” Samsung devices (according to developer).
- Hoping to see the update with NFC support sooner rather than later.
The Smart Unlock app currently has a 4.0 rating in the Play Store, and there are some complaining comments. But in regards to those comments — I will reiterate that I’ve been using the app for a few months and haven’t had any issues. Not to mention there is the 7-day free trial which should be more than enough to let you see how well the app will run with your particular device/trusted device setup.
Bottom line here — if you aren’t in that 3.3% of Lollipop users and want a secure phone without having to always enter your PIN code you should check out the Smart Unlock app.
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