What you need to know
- Google is rolling out Android 13 QPR3 Beta 2 to eligible Pixel smartphones.
- The beta includes a new setting to hide the lock screen PIN animation.
- This may come to other smartphones via Android 14 later this year.
Android 13 QPR3 Beta 2 started arriving on Pixel phones on Wednesday with several bug fixes. Google didn't highlight much in the way of features, but the update comes with a notable change to the lock screen that will make it easy to hide your PIN in public.
The change was spotted by Mishaal Rahman (via XDA-Developers). In the lock screen settings, there's now a new option for "Enhanced PIN privacy." According to the description, toggling on this setting will turn off the animations when entering your PIN to unlock the phone.
Without the feature turned on, entering your PIN will briefly display the number you enter before hiding it, making it possible for someone nearby to glimpse at your PIN. These numbers can also linger for a bit if you don't press the next digit. However, with the feature toggled on, the numbers are completely hidden.
It's a small feature, but it can go a long way to protecting one's privacy. Android Central's Jerry Hildenbrand recently explained the importance of a strong PIN, saying that your lock screen is your first and biggest line of defense when it comes to protecting your phone. He warns that in the wrong hands, someone could reset your Google account password and lock you out of your own account.
He gives tips on ways to protect your accounts, such as using different passwords for different accounts, using 2FA, and ensuring you have a strong PIN. Fortunately, another recent change spotted in the Android 14 developer preview may force users to adopt longer PINs if they want to skip the confirmation.
Speaking of, Rahman expects this feature will appear in the upcoming Android 14 beta, which is expected to arrive in April. This indicates that it may not be a Pixel-exclusive change, despite its present appearance in QPR3.
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Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.