Google Smart Lock: What It Is And How It Works
What is Smart Lock, a feature developed by Google for Android that helps keep the device unlocked when it is physically near the rightful owner? Every mobile device is a veritable mine of personal data and confidential information.
What it holds must be protected against third parties by avoiding the installation of apps that can transfer personal data to unknown subjects and by setting the device to be unlocked using a fingerprint, a complex PIN, or a password. The graphic sequence is commonly used to protect the device, but it is necessary to choose an articulated one and ensure that someone nearby does not memorize the fact list.
One of the least-known functions of Android, despite having already been introduced at the time of the 5.0 Lollipop release (2014), is Smart Lock: it allows you to keep your smartphone unlocked when you have the phone with you,whether you are at home or in another trusted location (” Trusted Locations “), if there is your Bluetooth device (a smartwatch, a brilliant band, a PC,…) in the immediate vicinity.
If you have a smartphone with an NFC chip, it can also be unlocked via NFC. Although Smart Lock Google is not the safest way to protect an Android device and its contents, it certainly makes it more accessible and “usable” in particular scenarios. With the term Smart Lock, Google refers to three products: Smart Lock for Android, Smart Lock for Chrome and apps, and Smart Lock for Chromebook.
Google Smart Lock For Android
As previously mentioned, the Smart Lock for the Android version allows you to keep the device unlocked if you have it. In this case, Smart Lock asks that the device be unlocked once, after which it will remain usable without the need to use fingerprint recognition, the insertion of PINs, passwords, and graphic sequences.
Smart Lock automatically locks the device when placed on a table for a long time or taken away from the rightful owner. Movements are recorded by the sensors integrated into the smartphone; Smart Lock understands when the device can be kept unlocked and when it needs to be secured again. This first mode is generally the least reliable.
Alternatively, it is possible to make Smart Lock recognize the presence of a Bluetooth or NFC device nearby: it can be the notebook or convertible you use at home in the office (provided it has the Bluetooth module enabled) or a wearable device (smart bands or smartwatches). By definition, the latter is always kept on by the user, so the smartphone remains unlocked in the (short) range of coverage of the Bluetooth signal (which, in optimal conditions, we remind you, can reach up to 100 meters).
By opting for Trusted places, you can configure one or more geographic locations within which the Android device will be unlocked. This approach is called geofencing because the user can draw a virtual perimeter on a map associated with a geographical area in the real world. Smart Lock automatically blocks the smartphone when the border is crossed (the information comes from the GPS and, in general, from Android’s geolocation services ).
The problem is that some Android smartphone makers disable Smart Lock in their customized versions of the operating system, often to replace the Google feature with alternative features developed in-house. Typically Smart Lock is present in the Security and screen lock or Security section of the Android settings: by selecting it, and it is possible to configure the three automatic unlocking modes of the mobile device.
When the Smart Lock function is active and the phone remains unlocked, the battery may drain more quickly. This could even result in accidental commands while keeping the phone in your pocket or purse. In this regard, many manufacturers use the “pocket mode” to avoid unwanted interactions with the Android device.
In the past, it was possible to connect facial recognition and voice recognition to Smart Lock, but both options have been removed at the level of Google Play Services. Instead, they have become features in their own right that work independently of Smart Lock and that many manufacturers often customize in depth.
Activating or deactivating Smart Lock can be done by going to the Security section of the Android settings, choosing Privacy, Advanced, and then intervening on the Smart Lock (Google) option in Trust Agents. Smart Lock for Chromebook works very similarly to the Android version: the mechanism allows you to quickly access the device provided that the same Google account is configured on the connected smartphone.
For Smart Lock for Chromebook to work correctly, the connected smartphone must be unlocked, have the Bluetooth module turned on, and some screen lock with fingerprint, PIN, password, or graphic pattern protection must be set up.
What is Smart Lock for Chrome and apps?
Though it shares the same name, Smart Lock for Chrome & Apps is a tool that lets you quickly log into various apps by sharing passwords saved to your Google Account. So the unlocking of the mobile device has nothing to do with it. If you use the Google browser, it is optional to activate Chrome synchronization.
We know that Chrome allows you to save encrypted passwords within your account on Google servers. In this way, you prevent the history and passwords from being shared with all other devices configured on the same account. It is possible to access Chrome with your understanding but refrain from sharing any other data (do not select Enable synchronization ).
Smart Lock for Chrome and apps extends the storage of passwords on Google servers, and the credentials used to log in to the various applications: the confines of the browser are thus overcome. After logging in with your account, the list of passwords stored with Smart Lock is available on the Google Password Manager page. If necessary, it is possible to manage and delete the credentials already saved by Smart Lock on Google servers.
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