Lockscreen options

At the beginning of the week we asked you, the awesome readers of Android Central, how you go about securing the lockscreen on your phone (or if you do it at all). With over 8,660 votes the leading response was "I don't" — meaning that you don't use any method to lock your phone. The results didn't really surprise us, but it made a few of us worry a bit and hope that nobody loses their phone.

Face Unlock — unsurprisingly — had the lowest number of votes. Google never claimed it was secure, it's often finicky about working, and it hates beards and glasses. It's also our least favorite option here at AC world HQ. But we're sure glad it's there for the people who want to use it.

You can see a breakdown of the 5-day result below.

Poll results

We're not exactly how well a poll like this mirrors what people who aren't reading about cell phones on the Internet would say, but in this particular case I'll bet it's pretty close. What do you think? Shout out in the comments and help us all make sense of this.

 

Reader comments

Weekly sidebar poll results: How do you secure your lockscreen?

91 Comments

The 1/3 of people who don't? I guess that keeps the secondary illicit market going.
If 1 out of 3 phones has no password then it is free money.
Not that a password is the be and end all, it's just a deterrent.
But, if I know I had a 33% of hitting the jackpot and I'm a dumb criminal; well, you know the rest.

Depends what the criminal wants. If they want the phone, you're right, but if they just want to hijack your phone for a few minutes while you're gone to steal personal and financial information, than lock screen security would be a great first step.

This sounds like an unlikely scenario. Seems to me like the hijacker would want to steal your phone as well to get all the information he can. Maybe in very rare circumstances would that happen. In either case, wouldn't you just want to take your phone everywhere you go instead of leaving it somewhere for someone to steal it or hijack it? I guess having an extra layer of security doesn't hurt but for me it's just an extra layer of hassle.

Just another scenario.

Your at a bar. Phone is unlocked. You go to the bathroom and the thief has just enough time to turn on NFC and pair up. While you are sitting there he has it all.

Just a thought

Apple employees usually but that is not the point.

It happens but I was just using that as an example. It could be anywhere

My phone stays in my pocket or my back pack, I never leave it out except for once with my D1 and it had a pattern lock at the time. After that I stopped using a pin lock to get into it faster, and just became more responsible and aware of my device to not do something irresponsible with it, like having a child.

So in 4 1/2 years I've had a phone only once has it ever been out of my reach or sight.

I am with you on that. It never leaves my side but you and I are not the targets. Thieves are like lions hunting. They pick off the stragglers not the strongest of the herd.

Still, it only takes once to lose everything. I have lost a phone (why yes there was alcohol involved) and it was a pain to redo everything.

Just has to buy me enough time to get to a computer and remote wipe the phone, really.

Incidentally, who decided that "varying shades of blue and green" were the appropriate colors for that chart?

I doubt that many thieves check if (and what kind of screenlock) the device has before stealing it.
And I can't picture them returning a device that is locked.

tech_head: have you heard of Android Device manager? Magically you can remotely locate/wipe your phone.. I know witchcraft!

the reason I don't use a password is because it's a pain in the ass having to unlock your phone when you use it a lot during the day. no one else uses my phone and im very careful so I don't lose it.

Posted via Android Central App

Exactly why I don't. Pain in the ass to use it all day. My thinking is that I can jump on someone else's phone/tablet/computer to remote lock if I lose it. If you recently unlocked it with a pattern or pin before you lost it, chances are they can guess their way through the smudges. I have with friends' phones...

I use tasker so I only have a password when I'm not at home. Its suitable because I don't have to worry about it being annoying.

I use a pin and pattern unlock and I'm glad I do.

It's great for when your kids run down the batteries on their devices and then try to use yours.

Posted from my "KNOX-FREE" 4.3 Sprint GS3 Maxx...!!! (PREPAID)

I don't have a lock because I find it annoying as well, but when I have kids I'll probably change my mind...

My kids know not to use mommy or daddy's phone. No lock for anyone in the family. I can remote lock and wipe it. If I lose it it's my dumb asses fault. In my opinion people that lock their phone have something to hide from their spouse.

That's why I love LG's knock code. I just tap the screen 4 times in two different spots and it wakes and unlocks it.

I used to do pattern unlock. Now I don't secure it. I'm careful with my phone, plus I use Device Manager so in the unlikely event that my phone is stolen, at least I can lock it or wipe it or whatever.

Posted from my Motorola Moto G.

1/3 of Android users are overconfident that they'll never misplace their phone or leave it somewhere while someone with a mean/trick-loving streak can get at it.

...or maybe we've just done the maths and found out that we would waste a lot more time unlocking our phones in between every prank if we did lock it? :D

Or maybe they don't care. I know I don't, and it is a pain to try to unlock your phone real quick in all situations.

Posted via the Android Central App

My phone, in my 14 years of having one, has never been off of my person, or at least within reach at home, I do not leave it lay around outside of home... and yes it is a pain in the ass to have to unlock. If I was out in the wild more or had to leave it behind I would probably use a lock on it, but it is always with me (on my person).. I have never lost or had a phone stolen. so I feel no need to worry and would pray I am never in that type of situation...

Maybe should also have a poll as to how many people have lost their phone. But I have pretty similar experience as you, almost 20 years of a cell phone (had one of those bricks originally) and never lost mine. My entire family, wife, son, daughter, daughter in law, sister, brother in law, nephews and nieces have long had cell phones and not one has lost theirs. I guess I look at it as being similar to me losing my wallet (never have) or wife losing purse (she forgot it once), there's lots of personal information AND credit cards to be had there, I don't have a PIN or Pattern for my wallet, don't do so on my phone either.

I have picked up my friends phones before and started reading their text messages or going through some of my female friends gallery if they don't have a lock on their phone. When people get mad I just ask them why don't they have a password on it and they shut up.

I'm not invading your privacy if your phone is sitting there wide open looking at me. That's like a Megan Fox walking down the street and being mad at me for looking. What?!

Posted via Android Central App

No one ever has the right to pick up a friends phone for any reason without express permission. The asine comment equating opening up another person's personal files to looking at someone out in public is nothing more than drivel to try and justify bad manners.

No one has the right to walk into your house and take stuff if you leave the door unlocked, but if they know you're dumb enough to do it and they won't get caught, "WHY NOT?"...

My wife would always find her phone with a low battery after she takes it off the charger and lays it down somewhere. I laugh.... I put a password on it then let her lay it down for an hour. Guess what minimal battery drain, and little people running around saying unlock it please.
Lesson learned.

Posted via the LG G2 Android Central App

No lockscreen security is like getting a hooooker and believing her when she say you don't need a condom because she's a Virgin..

Posted via the LG G2 Android Central App

If I were that friend of yours, I'd say « because I should be able to trust that around you I wouldn't need a password because friends don't invade each other's privacy. »

Your comment was the most ridiculous thing I've ever read in my life. What if a family member took your wallet if you left it sitting down on their table while you went to the toilet and they stole all your money and then you figure out who it was and they shrug their shoulders and said « why don't you have it on your pocket ? »

Because you shouldn't have to around someone you trust.

Posted via Android Central App

It was an idiotic comment. If you're going to go through my phone without my permission then I can't trust you and I don't need you as a friend.

That's the exact same thing that thieves say. "Your purse is in your pocket waiting to be taken. Why not?"

Posted via Android Central App

What if Google didn't put security permissions on Android?

All these people talking about people better not touch my phone or what kind of friend are you, or I always have my phone on me,.... Well, every app you download would STEAL YOUR PERSONAL INFO!

Now try and argue against having some type of security.

Posted via the LG G2 Android Central App

The lesson you actually showed is that you're not a trustworthy person, not that they should have passwords on their phones.

Posted via Android Central App

I'd knock you on your ass if I caught you playing with my phone and reading my personal communication without asking.

Posted with my MotoX, no case needed.

+infinity. Start messing with my phone without my permission and I'm gonna mess with scarring your face and breaking your bones without your permission. For one thing you can't even find out your friend's phone is unlocked unless you first pick it up without permission. BTW I know the person right above me isn't the one messing with other's phone but I agree with his idea about what to do that touches his stuff.

Posted via Android Central App

That's quite rude, i hate acquaintances like that who ask to maybe make a call or checkout a game and automatically jump to your texts or gallery to snoop.

I posted before saying that most of the time I don't lock my screen, but when I'm going to a place where my phone has the potential to be misplaced or stolen I'll secure it with a PIN number. I have a feeling a lot of others do the same....maybe?

Posted via Android Central App

My phone stays glued to my hands, so I don't lock it. Slide to unlock works for me. But I have three options and apps to lock my phone should it get lost. And since it's always stuck in my hands with the screen on, I'll be sure to notice it's lost very quickly.

Posted via Android Central App

I am truly shocked by the responses I see here regarding reasons for not locking your device. Not what would have imagined.

Fyi.....I lock every device I have even my ipad air that never leaves my home. I can spare the 2 seconds.

Posted via Android Central App from Samsung Note 3

The only reason why my phone is locked with a pin right now is because I can easily open it with a Trusted Device. If I'm not connected to a Trusted Device, I leave my phone unlocked.

Not surprised by the results as people tend to choose convenience over security (and rationalize it to fit their preference). So, I'd venture a guess that overall (ex. the general public), at least 50% don't secure their mobile device.

I don't lock my phone. If someone ever took it they would not get anything anyway. I don't save passwords to paypal, eBay and so on. They would get bored of my "I'm on my way home" text. And the odd picture of something not to exciting that's backed up to the cloud. They may level me up on clash of the clan. And that would be it. So I have device manager set and would remote wipe. Granted I would be pissed at the fact I would have to get a replacement. But that would need to be do regardless of a pin lock. You guys must have super sensitive stuff only the NSA as access too to be worried with locking your device.

Posted via Android Central App

Seriously. Maybe locking our phones isn't a big deal to some of us because we won't lose much if the phone is lost. "Ooh. Someone might be able to post a Facebook status as me! Better lock my phone!"

The need to lock your phone is directly related to what kinds of activities you perform on it.

I agree with this. I always put a of password in my phone when I'm out. Better safe than sorry I feel.

Posted via Android Central App

I think when you guys publish a poll like this you should actually make it so that ppl can read it on their phones as well. I can't see it on my phone. ..

I can and have always been able to see them on the Android Central app. The poll isn't in this post through, just the results.

NexusLogic - Working on his Nexus 7 in the Nexus Lab

The survey said "I don't know" not "I don't"... Seems to have changed now... But you can't trust that figure!

Then again by some of the comments from people who either have nothing on their phone (so why not use an older Nokia, at least the battery lasts longer) or have never lost or misplaced one, maybe it is correct...

I compromise with a pattern lock and a delay after screen off (the best that Android allows, I'd prefer a delay from the last unlock), I also secure certain apps with another unlock app and a lot of those apps (like paypal, banking) will require their own pin also.

Remote lock is great if you notice your phone is missing, are very quick and have the ability to get onto whatever website/app you need to invoke it (so not in the sticks/bush for starters).

I use pebble locker. When I don't have my pebble, it's pin locked (as far as I know) but when I know I know I'll be at a bar or traveling outside of my usual haunts I put on the pattern unlock.

Posted via Android Central App

I read many theoretically political correct comments here.
But unfortunately in the real world, the secured lock in the lock screen is not practical, specially for power users...

The S5 fingerprint scanner works surprisingly good using my right thumb with a little practice. Its nearly as fast as having the swipe to unlock unsecure lock screen.

Posted via Android Central App

I'm currently using a Pattern lock on my Nexus 5 and will probably be switching to LG's Knock Code when my G3 arrives next week. I've never lost my phone and I've never had one stolen, but with all the personal conversations, financial information, and signed-in accounts, I wouldn't feel safe without a lock. Plus, with a Pattern lock, I think it may take half a second longer to unlock my phone than without security.

I can factor in the unnoticeable amount of time wasted into the potential for the time I would have to dedicate to securing my accounts if my phone was stolen. Changing every password to every account I have while also remote wiping my device would probably take longer than putting in a simple pattern ever will add up to.

Posted via Android Central App

Crazy, at least run android device manager so u an attempt to get your phone back. (By calling the police) lol

Posted via the Android Central App

Honestly I haven't been in a situation where I would feel that I need a password. That may change in the future, in which case I would use knock code from LG.

Posted via Android Central App

I participated in that poll and I also don't use any security on my lock screen. It's too much of a hassle. Any app I have that has access to my identity or finances is password protected, and I don't really care if people look at my texts and pictures. I have some nsfw pictures, but who doesn't? Besides, the off chance I leave my phone somewhere or its stolen I can lock it remotely.

Posted via Android Central App on the Moto X

It only took me one time of having a pass code but butt dialing the giant emergency call thing on the screen that you can't turn off. Nothing like getting calls back from 911 because you pocket dialed with no response. This needs to be an option to have removed.

As someone who switches phones between iOS, WP, and Android I usually just use the same PIN code for all my devices. Although I can say more often then not I try to use my thumb to unlock the non iPhone devices then realizing I'm not using my iPhone right now, it's hard to get used to a phone without it.

If someone has a picture of me on their phone, could they use that to unlock my phone? Since I'm using face unlock.

Posted via Android Central App

Always thought locking my phone was too tedious of a task to have to deal with until the knock code on my recent G3 I just purchased. Now I don't mind. I live in a military town and a lot of my fellow soldiers get sticky fingers so yeah.....

Posted via Android Central App

I personally use the pattern lock. Although not as secure a password, it still adds a layer of security. I wipe the screen often anyway, so no traces of the pattern usually stay visible for long.

Posted via Android Central App

That's why I love the Gear Fit. When I have it turned on and the phone is with me, there's no lock... just swipe to get in. If I don't have the phone near me or the Fit isn't turned on, there's a pattern. Works great, and that's the best way to do things.

When we get to trusted Bluetooth in Android L, others will be able to do this with things like the Fitbit or the car, etc., right?

My devices are encrypted and protected with a strong pin. If someone has your phone they have your email. If they have your email they have access to all of your passwords. That is a risk I am not going to take.

Posted via Android Central App

I just hacked my phone, and guess what I didn't find a single thing that points to anything that can harm me or my family. That has always been my security blanket. I know we can't all be as lucky as me, But most of us can put that information in a secure place, Because that is what one is suppose to do. Walking around town with your lock box of important information under your arm is not done. Seems like this is a problem which is trying to find people to make some money off of through the fear factor sales pitch. Remember wallets? Same idea never carry anything in it you can not afford to lose.

I don't use a lock screen PIN for essentially two reasons. Lack of the ability to preview things and lack of lock screen widget support. I'm not sure how general this is. On my Note 3 I cannot have a camera shortcut while a PIN is set. Nor can I pull down the notification menu to toggle a setting (I.e. wifi, vibrate, etc.). These functions can be done on an iPhone when security locked and I would really appreciate them on my Android device.

In most cases I hate insurance. It's a gamble that something will go wrong. But in this case I lock my phone if not for prying eyes only. It just seems simple enough to do for a decent amount of security.

All of Android's security measures are too cumbersome for me. It's easy to miss your pattern. Face unlock is worthless. I'd use pin unlock if Android didn't make me have to push the "enter" key at the end. It really irks me that the screen just doesn't unlock automatically when the correct pin is entered.

Posted via my tricked out Moto X.

I usually use a simple pattern. I know most people will take it to a shop that will get to the boot menu and reset it to factory settings. I do have Lookout premium on my phone, tablet, and my father's phone. It is great to track where it was at if it does get stolen. That is why I do not have a Galaxy S5, just a Galaxy Light and buy used handsets online.