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Watch Unlock could make unlocking your phone a breeze

Google confirmed last year that you'll be able to unlock your phone with your watch, and here's how it'll work.
By

Published onSeptember 15, 2023

google pixel watch face
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • A new report has shed more light on how the upcoming Watch Unlock feature will work.
  • This Wear OS feature will allow you to unlock your phone with your smartwatch.
  • You’ll need to hold your watch less than four inches away from your phone to unlock it.

Google confirmed last year that it was working on the ability to have your Wear OS watch unlock your Android phone. The feature still isn’t widely available just yet, but we’ve now got a better idea of how it all works.

9to5Google managed to enable the Watch Unlock feature, confirming that your wearable “must be unlocked, on your wrist, and within reach of this phone” for it to work.

More specifically, the outlet found that their Pixel Watch had to be no more than four inches (10 centimeters) away from their Pixel 7 Pro. The phone will also urge users to move the watch closer if it’s still not within range. Once the phone is unlocked, you simply need to tap a notification or swipe up on the lock screen to proceed.

Is Watch Unlock worth waiting for?

9to5Google also noted that Watch Unlock beat Face Unlock for sheer unlocking speed most of the time. This isn’t a surprise given that the Pixel 7’s face unlock is camera-based with some machine learning sprinkles rather than proper 3D face unlock.

Interestingly, Google warns users that Watch Unlock might be less secure than biometric methods or traditional pattern/PIN/password unlock. It adds that the feature might also consume more battery life (presumably referring to the smartwatch).

Nevertheless, this feature could be a neat replacement for the Extend Lock (formerly known as Smart lock) function. Extend Lock keeps your phone unlocked when a Bluetooth device is nearby, making it more of a security and privacy risk.

There’s no word on a launch date for this feature, but we’re guessing Google could release Watch Unlock alongside the Pixel Watch 2 on October 4.

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