Securing your smartphone is a must, but there's no denying that we all unlock our phones dozens of times a day when it simply isn't necessary. Google's hoping to solve that problem with a new Android feature called "on-body detection." Those who are willing to sacrifice some level of security in the name of convenience will soon be able to enable the feature, which will keep your phone unlocked and ready to use as long as it is on your person.
The feature was first spotted yesterday by some Android Police readers, and screenshots posted to the site explain that "on-body detection" will disable the lock screen until you place your phone down on a table or some other surface. For instance, you'll need to unlock the phone the first time you try to use it after you pick up your phone and put it in your pocket in the morning. But so long as you keep the phone in your hand, pocket, or purse after using it, the device will remain unlocked and ready for its next use. Once you arrive at the office and place the phone on your desk, however, it will revert to its normal lock behavior.
Sacrificing security for convenience
Of course, the feature won't be able to determine if you or someone else is carrying your phone — it merely uses the device's accelerometer to determine if it is being continually moved. So if you give your phone to a friend or are the victim of a pickpocket, the phone will most likely remain unlocked. Nevertheless, the security option, which should be rolling out to Nexus devices and other Android phones soon through an update to Google Play Services, could be appealing to some users. It joins a few other extremely useful new security options, like trusted places, trusted devices, and trusted faces.