Lockscreen options

Do you keep your phone locked? If so, how?

We're big proponents of using a secure method to keep prying eyes out of our phones here at AC. There's a lot of private and personal information on our phones, and letting someone have full access to them isn't a good idea. Besides, it's really easy to use a method to control who can get in and how.

I'm in love with the "trusted connected device" method, where your phone gets locked if it's not connected to a predefined device or network. Moto does it on their new phones using Bluetooth devices, and Google has adopted it in the L Preview and added location services into the mix. Some third-party apps do it even better.

What about the rest of us? Do you keep it locked up, or do you go for the convenience of no lockscreen security? See the poll below and tell everyone how you do it.


Reader comments

This week's sidebar poll: How do you secure your lockscreen?


I've just voted five times by going back and forth between the poll and the news feed.

Shouldn't be able to do that should I???

Posted via Galaxy ace plus running Speedmod 2.5 with Xposed

Ha ha. Thanks Joe. But yeah I'm still in school & its the holidays so there's not much to do.

Posted via Galaxy ace plus running Speedmod 2.5 with Xposed

It's the service. Whenever a poll is created there always seems to be a bit of time before repeat voting is actually blocked. I imagine you couldn't do it now.

Oki. just FYI, unlocking with a password isn't quite as popular as the poll implies. I don't, but I tried voting for it quite a few times just to confirm that it was actually me doing the repeat votes. Most of those votes are "mine"... :D

jerry, i hate to break it to you. but AFAIK i've always been able to vote several times regardless of how long the poll has been active.

I don't either. Even if I vote 20 times, it doesn't change the chart that much...
I think the point is in the fact that faulty data is no better than no data. Specially considering that the population is already corrupted being that for the most part (assuming other charts are accurate) the AC community doesn't reflect the average android user.

I had the same via tasker. But then my work decided to force me to use a pin to sync the corporate account and now I'm always having to punch in a pin like a Neanderthal.

Posted via Android Central App

I use PIN, but I also have Tasker set up with Secure Settings plug-in so if I am within my Home WiFi or my car's bluetooth, it disables the PIN code. So, it's a bit of a PIN code + Trusted Bluetooth + 3rd Party solution

I use my Pebble as a trusted device, and an app called Locker. Pretty simple, since I don't really take my Pebble off except to charge it. Works perfect, as long as my Pebble is connected it's unlocked. I can also lock/unlock remotely via an app on the watch if I want to.

I don't.. Haven't lost a phone yet and I'm always on it. Swype to unlock, anything else is a waste of my time.

Posted via Android Central App

i gotta say, in my job, i find tons of phones that people have lost and the only thing that stops me from returning them to their rightful owners is the password unlock on almost all of them. they all end up sitting in lost and found until the battery dies and then no one ever comes to look for them. sad really.

I do too! Works like a charm. I don't understand why people give crappy review on it...

Posted via Android Central App

Yeah, people are weirdly against fingerprint authentication. I used it with the 5S for a week when I was doing T-Mo's gest drive thing, and it was fantastic. A lot of people who were really freaked out by the story about someone beating the iPhone's fingerprint scanner, but that process involved way more effort than it would take to discover my PIN, really.

Posted from my Nexus 5, behind seven proxies

I'm concerned about my print being stolen. We already hear all the time about it being time to change your password for this or that site due to hacking. I can change my password fairly easily. My fingerprint... not so much.

Anyone know how secure face unlock is. It is ALWAYS overlooked in comparisons between iOS & android (for example).
I haven't actually seen it mentioned since it was released in 4.1 or 4.2
Posted via Galaxy ace plus running Speedmod 2.5 with Xposed

Not as secure as a pin or pattern. A picture of you can easily trip it up and some phones have "liveness check" which requires you to blink and even that can be faked.

Thought as much. There were rumours a while back of a Samsung "iris scanner" which would have been pretty good. But I think what we really need is a better system for shutting off and tracking stolen phones

Posted via Galaxy ace plus running Speedmod 2.5 with Xposed

Yeah, my security nerd friend just got the G3 and she's been comfortable using the face unlock feature since you can set it to require a blink before it unlocks.

My big problem with face unlock is that the places where I most care about having my phone secured are typically pretty low-light areas (bars, restaurants, etc), and it just doesn't work that well unless there's good lighting.

Posted from my Nexus 5, behind seven proxies

I once tricked my brother's android tablet to let me in via face unlock. I mean we look alike, but not like twins or anything.

Combination of trusted BT and pattern (can't split my vote tho so I voted for the former). Once I have a Wear watch I'll probably never have to use the pattern tho, between trusted BT/Wi-Fi at home and in the car and the watch everywhere else...

With as much sensitive information that people keep on there phones, I can't believe how many people do not secure their lockscreen in one way or another. Seems like a no brainer to me.

I agree, i'm always shocked at the number of people who don't do anything to secure their phone with so much sensitive information on it.

I guess "I've never lost a phone yet" means nothing bad will ever, ever happen to your phone #FailedLogic

Just like the people that don't run backups cause they haven't had a hard drive fail (which requires really good odds if you've had more than a couple computers) or the people that don't run AV... Somehow there's two or three generations that can't seem to apply any common sense to the digital world, hopefully we're raising our children better than that.

I back up my phone, work and home computer every Friday. Sometimes I feel like that isn't even enough, because thinking of losing a weeks worth of work would suck.

Since I am stuck writing one program right now I am essentially backing up daily--twice. I use my phone like a portable hard drive...

On my Note I use pin lock, on my Note 4 if it has a fingerprint scanner I am more than likely gonna use that. works well on the wifes S5 (dammit)

Agreed, I've never lost a phone but I'd rather take the extra second rather than have no security.

Besides with a pattern or PIN (probably a password too) it only takes a few days for "muscle memory" to kick in so that you input it automatically without even thinking.

Posted via Android Central App

I use a password lock, 28 characters with numbers symbols and upper/lower case, it only takes me 2 seconds type it in. I can even do it without looking now.

Posted via Android Central App

Can't alot of phones be factory reset without a password making most passwords useless to deter phone theft? Now if someone wanted your phones info and not the actual phone, then a password will definitely help.

Yes, but a factory reset wipes all the data. The lock isn't about protecting the phone, it's about protecting your data.

A factory reset doesn't wipe any of the data. It's all still there if someone wants to get to it. The only way a factory reset erases anything is by first encrypting the phone, then resetting it.

Posted via Android Central App on the Moto X

And it's not just about losing your phone or having it stolen, either. How often do you just set your phone down next to you? If you don't secure it somehow, someone can just pick it up and start going through your text messages and pictures and such.

I suppose everyone just thinks they're a lot more careful with their phones than they really are.

What do I care if you look at some texts and pictures?

I suppose everyone just thinks their texts and pictures are important pieces of national defense...

Are you kidding me? Tall about some false equivalence, man. There's a pretty big leap between not wanting people to read my private correspondence with my girlfriend and thinking that my text messages are a matter of national security.

Posted from my Nexus 5, behind seven proxies

Yes, that's it, I believe my texts and pictures are way more important than they are. Or,

1) I just don't want random strangers being able to go through my personal stuff
2) I recognize that in a world where identity theft is more common and easier, there's a lot of helpful stuff for a would-be identity thief and
3) that Gmail account that's linked on my phone? Yeah, that's where password resets go. Important ones, like bank accounts.

I'd much rather take an extra micro-second or two to unlock my phone and have another level of protection than trust that in the time it takes me to realize that my phone has gone missing I'll beat would-be bad guys in locking my device using Android Device Manager before they can do something I'll regret.

This poll goes to show that the only thing smart about a lot of people is their phone....

My phone is in a holster on my belt and someone is only getting it when they pry it from my cold dead fingers.

Posted via Android Central App

I voted unlocked simply because I work from home, and spend most of my time here. When I'm out I use a pin. I simply selected the one I use a majority of the time.

Same here. Use Perfect App Protector Pro to lock apps containing sensitive data or linked to payment methods. Also has a setting that turns off the password service when I am connected to my home wifi.

Posted via Android Central App

I lock the apps like PayPal, Amazon, and eBay, but leave the whole phone unlocked

Posted via Android Central App on the Moto X

to be fair, my sensitive apps all have a pin on them... credit check apps, wallet... or passwords for like my banking info.

Voice dialing with Bluetooth doesn't work properly with any lockscreen turned on. Use Widget Locker with lockscreen set to none.

Posted via Android Central App

One of the things I love about my G Watch is the ability to replicate the trusted Bluetooth with pebble locker. Works perfectly and reconnects very quickly.

Posted via my Red Nexus 5 on the Android Central App

Only time I lock my phone is when I travel for work and find value in setting up corporate email. (Then I use PIN)

Otherwise I use no lockscreen of any kind. Just push the button and get to the business.

Lol I was looking for slide/swipe to unlock. Guess that qualifies me as not using anything for this poll.

Posted via Android Central App

I don't even use a lockscreen, I'm not worried about losing my phone, or anyone getting access to it. And swipe to unlock is a waste of my time so it's complete lockscreen off.

That's how I use my tablet. With my phone I am still afraid I'll turn it on in my pocket and it will do bad things.

Me too for that reason. I wish the proximity sensor would detect being in the pocket in such a way to not allow inputs.

Posted via Android Central App

I don't have any lock screen at all. I prefer to press the button and land directly into what my phone was doing. It saves me a ton of time.

A ton? Half a second a few dozen times a day?

How much time will it take you if someone steals your phone, and all your personal information?

Again it is only getting stolen if I am dead or severely injured in which case I have other things to worry about.

Posted via Android Central App

I tried to get Tasker + the Secure Settings (root) addon to implement a location-based lockscreen, but it doesn't work very well, so I disabled it (the problem is the first unlock away from home is unsecure, and the first unlock at home is still secure, due to some delay).

So, now I just use simple swipe to unlock.

I wish location-based lock security was built into the ROM. Long overdue.

Try Delayed Lock. Also, there are advanced settings in Tasker to make the app check connections more frequently (or less).

Posted via Android Central App

None. I always have my phone with me and pray I never lose it. I toy around with using one but get annoyed at the small step to unlock it. I believe Android L should fix this for me. I think it will allow you to lock your phone in an untrusted location, like when I'm on the train, and leave my phone unlocked when at a trusted location, like my house. I realize this isn't as good as having it secure at all times but it is better than leaving it open.

I use pebble locker so my pebble, wifi at home, and Bluetooth headset keep my phone unlocked. Falls back to a pin when none of those 3 things are present/connected.

And really helps out the people who want to steal your data when they pick up your lost phone. Definitely don't want to slow them down!

yea. All it takes is one "oh crap I left my phone on the table at the restaurant. It only takes once. And it only takes seconds.

So you're saying that a gateway to all of your personal data isn't worth keeping a simple pin or pattern lock on? That seems a lot more irresponsible than assuming a phone will never get lost/stolen/taken at gun or knife point.

None here also. Waking up the phone a 100 times or so a day gets really old having to put in a pin. But I also use device manager so I could lock it if need be.

Pin on all my Android devices. Better safe than sorry. Although I've never lost one, it keeps out nosey family members, such as my nephew when I visited my sister. Without that PIN lock who knows what he could've have done?

Perhaps, I'm over the top. To lock my device I use a NFC Ring and the NFC Ring Unlock app. To lock selected apps,outside my home wifi, I use the Smart App Lock app. Finally to secure my passwords to the websites I go to I use the PasswordBox app. PasswordBox makes login easy as it automatically logs me into the site.

I won't say you're over the top, but honestly there does hit a point of diminishing returns on the security/usability ratio.

Not at all. I gotta see what options my new oneplus one has though. Don't like haggling with pins and patterns though

Posted via my LG LS740 and The Android Central App

I use Pebble Locker. While it is not a feature of my phone, I put my vote there as it is closest to Trusted Bluetooth...

I don't lock my phone. I always leave it in my pocket in public and I always make sure it's near me at all times. Locking a phone is a waste of time, IMO.

until that one time when you accidentally leave it it on a table by mistake. You will say that you're always super careful and that it'll never to you and you've never left your phone anywhere ever.

It only takes once. And it only takes seconds.

I have my own custom designed lock. Its an eye scanner. If you put your eye up to the phone it will unlock it if its actually your phone, but if its not your phone a laser will burn your retina.
I don't really have a device like that, but wouldn't it be cool. It would cut back on phone thefts for sure.

Mine is two phased. I have a decently long pin that is a pain to type in and an NFC ring. The combination of the two is beautiful. I use the NFC LockScreenOff Enabler Xposed module so that I can use it with me default lock screen and so that I can unlock it without needing to turn the screen on. It's pretty handy.

Me, too. Well worth the five bucks or whatever the full app cost. When I'm not connected to either my home wifi network or to my car's Bluetooth, I have to enter a PIN.

Now if any of these solutions were accepted in enterprise scenarios...that would be nice. Or maybe they do? My employer's security policy requires a 10 minute pin lock. Any workarounds?

In theory there might be. But are they worth getting fired for violating corporate IT policy over? (and yes, while that might sound extreme doing that with company data is definitely grounds)

I use a PIN coupled with the Delayed Lock app. PIN lockscreen is disabled if I'm connected to 1 of 3 Wi-Fi networks I have stored. Within 3 minutes of being disconnected, the PIN lock screen is re-enabled

Posted via Android Central App

What's the best app for trusted Bluetooth using Android wear? The only one I heard of is paying for Pebble locker.

Posted via Android Central App

This is what I use. Works flawlessly every time, and well worth a couple of quid to the developer.

Posted via Android Central App

I use SlimKat ROM, which has Shake to Secure. This lets you set a pin or pattern, but you lockscreen is always insecure, unless you shake your phone on the lockscreen, at which point the screen goes off and the next time it comes on, you need your pin or pattern to unlock.

I'm not worried about losing my phone...that's just money and I can replace it. I'm terrified of losing my information, though. My phone has SO much info about me including email, banking, photos, addresses, everything. Someone getting access to that could be devastating. For that reason, I keep a pattern lock on at all times. Not worth the risk.

I don't because in not somewhere I feel I need to have my on in secured. When I go somewhere like a major city I definitely will

Posted via Android Central App

I didn't secure mine, but have taken advantage of Pebble Locker's compatibility with Android Wear to use a PIN now.

It's perfect. I don't have a lock screen when my phone and GWatch are nearby, but I'm safe in the knowledge that if some git pinches my device I'm okay.

Posted via Android Central App

Skiplock for me. Keeps my phone unlocked at home, in my car (as long as the car is on), and in my office. Locked with a PIN everywhere else.

If I'm home or at work I don't use anything (at work it's either on my desk if I'm there or with me if I'm not) otherwise I'll use a pattern. I have a shortcut on one of my homescreens that takes me right to the menu to enable the security.

you sound like the perfect candidate for an app to do that for you. Seems silly to have to enable/disable it manually every time.

I'd rather use pattern than pin, but am looking into it. It's not that big a deal though the way I do it; and my pattern is muscle memory by this point.

Knock Code is by far the best in my opinion and the only one I have used for more then a week ever. Great job LG

Posted via Android Central App

Use a long PIN on my Moto-X, plus NFC stickers in convenient places, especially on car dashboard where the phone docks. Formerly used Unlock with Wifi, but phone started staying unlocked even when it shouldn't have, so I deleted.

Pattern lock on a Nexus 5. I like to do trusted network but I tried a 3rd party with that and I had to use a pin instead of pattern. I have tasker but haven't figured out how to do that to do w a trusted network. Looking forward to Android L feature.

PIN, plus the Locale app set to disable PIN lock when I'm at home. (Based on GPS, not wifi.)

Admittedly I'm screwed if I drop my phone outside within about 50 feet of my apartment, but otherwise it's the best of both worlds.

I typically use a pattern or sometimes a pin but after checking out SkipLock I may be spending 5 bucks on that

Posted via Android Central App

No lock. Takes too much time. All the sensitive apps including Papa Johns require a password anyway. So does my non public pic gallery. Shocker : my billfold doesn't have a lock on it either.

Posted via Android Central App

I don't use any lock. Just the good ole swipe. I find entering in a pattern or code every time I pull my phone out annoying. On my moto x I tried the moto skip and found that even more annoying. If worse comes to worst I can remotely lock my phone if need be.

Posted via Android Central App on the Moto X

I use a pin with Delayed Lock. That keeps the pin disabled on my chosen WiFi and Bluetooth devices.

Posted via Android Central App

95% of the time I don't, but when I am going to a place where my phone might get stolen/lost/etc. I use a PIN code.

Posted via Android Central App

I do fingerprint lock on my HTC One Max and pattern on my Nexus 7.

nexus_logic - Working on his HTC One Max in the Nexus Lab

You put your phone down? I don't bother locking mine since I never put it down. Oh and I have nothing to hide.

Posted via Android Central App

Used to use a PIN, combined with "Trigger" app when in the presence of known Bluetooth and WiFi devices. But now I'm enjoying the "knock code" on my new G3.

I don't have a lockscreen at all, so I'm grouped in with the "I don't" = the people who mostly probably just do slide to unlock. I wonder how many people are like me..

I use TimePIN, an app that sets your PIN to the time or other configurable patterns. It would be hard to guess, but easy to remember; one of the important passcode criteria. It also has a basic backup PIN feature, in case things get messed up. Highly recommended.

Pin... Because my employer enforces it to use company email on the device. Used to use pattern before adding my work email to my personal phone.

Posted via Android Central App

I use an app that allow me to put a pin to the apps that I want. That is better than unlocking the lock screen all the time. Annoying!

Posted via Android Central App

Pebble locker, with a password for me... Love not having to put in the password every time but still get the security when I walk away from my phone

Posted via Android Central App

I use the Moto Skip and Skip Dots that came with my Moto X, with a 7-digit PIN as the backup method (three guesses what it is). I also have a few trusted Bluetooth devices set, namely my headphones, MOGA Pocket and pocket-size keyboard/trackpad.

Slide to unlock. While I'm not a phone addict, I turn my phone on dozens and dozens of time in a day and inputting a pin every time is such a nuisance.

1) My phone is my constant companion. Losing it would be like losing my eyeglasses. It's almost impossible. i would be blind. :)
2) If for some weird odd reasons that I end up losing it, I can change my Gmail password immediately, I can access it by remote via Cerebus and lock it or wipe my data.
3) Every data sensitive app on the phone requires a password to access it
4) If I leave my phone somewhere that a snoopy friend wants to look through it, they would have a challenging time navigating it. My phone is customized in such a unique way that only I know the full way around it (i.e. app drawer are only accessible by specific gesture; there are no app icons on the screens and icon images are modified, etc.)
4) I don't care if strangers read my texts or look at my pictures. All pretty boring and PG rated.

I would, however, use a knock code if my phone has that feature, but only if it allows 3 or less knocks.

Pattern on mine, mainly to stop either of my two children from screwing up the settings on my phone. I've also got Knox for work stuff which in encrypted and behind a password.

Normally I would not protect my lock screen, unfortunately my Samsung's screen is so sensitive it gets unlocked by my jeans when in my pocket and then calls random people.
Pattern solves that, my jeans where not able to break that lock yet :)

Posted via Android Central App

I think it would fall under "feature of my phone".

That's how I voted anyway, since I use my One Max's fingerprint reader

I've always used swipe to unlock and will never use any sort of pattern or code. They are just a waste of my time, as I don't give my phone to anyone I don't know.

I use Trusted Bluetooth in the car and at work, a PIN everywhere else.

With my old Android handsets I used the pattern lock, but realized it's pretty easy to break just by tracing finger marks on a dirty screen. Also, much easier to see from across the room.

I use Tasker to only need a swipe when I'm at home, work, or in the car. Otherwise, I use a pattern to unlock

Wow, I can't believe so many people don't lock their phone! It seems like I'm always hearing about Permissions on this site, but not locking? Huh. Oh, and a lot of smart watches. nice.

I love to use the pattern. As long as it's ergonomic enough I can do it quickly. Problem is that my hands sweat profusely. So my friend picks up my phone, looks at the dirty screen and recreates my swipe. Just by guessing. Not cool.

At one place I worked they had a key pad to get into a special door. The coolest thing about that was that it scrambled the numbers each time you began to access it. So even if someone could see which physical buttons you hit, it wouldn't help them figure anything out. I would LOVE to see this added as an option for PIN security.