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What is Google Smart Lock and how does it work?

You won't need to unlock your phone every time if you use Smart Lock.
How To
August 7, 2021
Google Smart Lock

Google Smart Lock allows you to access your devices much faster when you’re not too worried about security. If you’re at home, you probably don’t want to enter your passcode every time you pick up your phone. However, this feature allows you to easily switch back to your regular security in public. Here’s a quick look at how you can use Google Smart Lock and how to set it up on your Android phone or Chromebook.

What features does it offer?

Google Smart Lock offers a whole host of different features, allowing you to use it in plenty of situations.

On-body Detection: Provided you’ve already entered your pin or passcode once before putting it back in your pocket or bag, Google Smart Lock will not require you to enter it again when you take it back out.

Trusted Devices: This option allows you to select Bluetooth devices that you trust. This means that when your phone is connected to these devices, you will not need to enter your passcode to unlock it.

Trusted Places: Here, you will have to create a location that you trust. This could be your home or office, and you won’t need to enter your passcode when you are there.

Voice Match & Trusted Face: These two options are being phased out and are really only present on much older Android devices. However, they basically work by allowing you to set up your voice or face to use your phone without a passcode. The voice match option won’t leave your phone fully unlocked all the time, but it will allow you to access some of your device’s features.

See also: How fingerprint scanners work

How to set up Google Smart Lock on your Android device

OnePlus 9 Pro in hand with display on
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

It’s easy to set up and use Google Smart Lock on your Android device, and it only requires you to have a password or other screen lock set up on your device already. Once you do, follow these steps:

  1. Head over to your device’s settings.
  2. Go to Security & Lockscreen (this may be different depending on which phone you have, but head to the Security settings), and then choose Smart Lock.
  3. Enter your passcode or another screen lock.
  4. Choose either On-body detection, Trusted places, or Trusted devices.
  5. If you chose Trusted places, follow the on-screen instructions to set up your secure location.

How to use Google Smart Lock on a Chromebook

Acer Chromebook Spin 311 right profile
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Google Smart Lock works a little differently on Chromebooks, and it allows you to unlock it simply by connecting to your Android device. You will need to sign in to your Google Account on both devices and have Chrome OS 71 or newer and Android 5.1 Lollipop or newer. Once you are signed in and updated, follow these steps:

  1. Select the time from the bottom right of your Chromebook’s screen.
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Choose your Android device under Connected devices.
  4. Select Smart lock and then click on Unlock device and sign in to your Google account.
  5. Once you receive the confirmation message on your phone, choose the options you want to turn on under “enabled.”
  6. Follow any further instructions to complete the setup.

See also: Chromebook vs laptop — Which one should you get?

The pros and cons of Google Smart Lock

Aside from accessing your devices quickly, Google Smart Lock also allows you to share passwords across your devices. Google Smart Lock makes it easy to get into your devices without a screen lock, and you can save your passwords to access your favorite websites and apps quickly.

However, keep in mind is that this is a security risk in certain situations. It’s fine if you’ve set up your house as a trusted location, and it’s just you or your family at home. However, on-body detection and trusted devices could potentially allow others to get access to your unlocked phone.

The feature is simple enough to turn off with the settings in your Google account. You can do this on your Chromebook or Android device by going to settings first and then going into your Google account settings.

See also: What should you do when your phone is lost or stolen?