Android 15 might automatically lock your phone when you're not paying attention

Android 15 logo on Pixel 8
(Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google may be planning to add an attention-based screen lock setting to Android 15. 
  • The feature is called Adaptive timeout, and it could shorten your device's screen timeout setting if it detects you aren't using your phone.
  • It seems like the reverse of Android's existing Screen attention feature, and appears similar to Apple's Attention awareness feature.

Android 15 is set to bring a slew of new features and changes to the best Android phones, and one subtle change might add a new option for screen timeout settings. Currently, you can pick the duration of time your phone will stay on before timing out and shutting off the display. Additionally, there's a Screen attention feature that will keep your display on longer if you're looking at it. Starting with Android 15, Google could add a feature that does the opposite. 

Android expert Mishaal Rahman at Android Authority noticed strings related to a new Adaptive timeout feature in the second Android 15 Developer Preview. The strings describe that the setting "automatically turns off your screen early if you’re not using your device" when enabled. Right now, it's unclear how Android will know when a phone is not being used, but it has to be more than a lack of touch input. As such, it probably uses the same sensing method as the existing Screen attention setting. 

Rahman discovered the following strings in the settings app of Android 15 DP2, which hint at the new functionality:

  • <string name="contextual_timeout_description">Automatically turns off your screen early if you’re not using your device</string>
  • <string name="contextual_timeout_title">Adaptive timeout</string>

Notably, these strings are located under*, and according to Rahman, this means that the Adaptive timeout feature will likely launch as a Pixel exclusive. This tracks with how the Screen attention feature debuted alongside the Pixel 4, and has since expanded to other smartphones. 

While there isn't a direct comparison available today to the possible Adaptive timeout feature Google is working on for Android 15, it sounds similar to a niche iOS feature. iPhones have a settings toggle for Attention Aware Features, which causes the phones to react differently when you are looking at them. These features use the TrueDepth sensor, which is also used for Face ID. However, in the case of Android 15, the Adaptive timeout setting will aim to do the reverse — changing how your phone behaves when you are not looking at it. 

Though we don't know a lot about Adaptive timeout right now, we expect to get a better look at the feature as Google continues to release Android 15 preview builds. 

Brady Snyder

Brady is a tech journalist covering news at Android Central. He has spent the last two years reporting and commenting on all things related to consumer technology for various publications. Brady graduated from St. John's University in 2023 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. When he isn't experimenting with the latest tech, you can find Brady running or watching sports.