Extend Unlock begins replacing Smart Lock as Google preps Watch Unlock

Hand holding Pixel 7 Pro against table
(Image credit: Google)

What you need to know

  • Google has started rolling out its rebrand of Smart Lock to "Extend Unlock."
  • The difference lies in the name only as the feature will still "keep this device unlocked while it's on you, at specific places that you trust, or near your connected devices."
  • The change may have been done as Google still has yet to roll out "Watch Unlock" for Wear OS devices.

Google is in the process of revamping its convenient Smart Lock feature, and it looks like the switch has already started for some... kind of.

Mishaal Rahman tweeted his findings of Google starting to rebrand Android's "Smart Lock" as "Extend Unlock" after an IssueTracker thread popped up about the matter. According to Rahman's discovery, the swap to Extend Unlock has started to appear for a few Android users, but the rollout is not complete, as its settings page is completely empty.

The page is devoid of any actual settings, but there is a description present that reads, "Keep this device unlocked while it's on you, at specific places that you trust, or near your connected devices." These were all the features the bug report's creator looked for but could not find, as Extend Unlock essentially provides all that Smart Lock does but with a different name.

Rahman assumes the lack of appearing settings could be due to Google not yet enabling the proper server-side flags.

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Shifting the name over to "Extend Unlock" most likely fits better from a user's perspective as the company looks to add better clarity and additional security features for other Bluetooth devices. At CES 2023, a feature dubbed "Watch Unlock" was demonstrated, giving users the ability to unlock their Android phones by having their watches nearby, Rahman noted. This was also shown off at CES 2022 but has yet to arrive.

Watch Unlock would work for any Wear OS smartwatch given and would utilize Android 13's Active Unlock API, giving it control over the locked state of the device it's connected to. It was then rumored to come with Google's first smartwatch, but well over a year later, the feature has yet to arrive on the Pixel Watch or any Wear OS device.

However, as the "Extend Unlock" feature starts appearing for some, users are left wondering if this could signal an approaching rollout of Watch Unlock. That's still up in the air as Google has to first sort out the rollout of this rebrand first.

Nickolas Diaz
News Writer

Nickolas is always excited about tech and getting his hands on it. Writing for him can vary from delivering the latest tech story to scribbling in his journal. When Nickolas isn't hitting a story, he's often grinding away at a game or chilling with a book in his hand.

  • mustang7757
    Hopefully Google fixes issues that's been awhile in Smart lock .
  • Bkdodger1
    I sure hope so it's only been about 20 years it feels like that smart lock fails