smart-lockLollipop brings many advantages to your BQ device. You might not be so familiar with one of them, but privacy wise, it is very interesting, especially for those who use a PIN, pattern or password in Android. Today we will talk to you in detail about Smart Lock.

What is Smart Lock?

If you like to protect your phone using a PIN, pattern or password, you will know that having to constantly unlock the screen can get tedious, especially if you are used to receiving various WhatsApp messages, emails or if you turn the screen various on times throughout the day.

Because of this, lots of people leave their phone unlocked to make it easier and more convenient to manage, and Google has added the Smart Lock feature in Android Lollipop to do exactly that.

Smart Lock uses intelligent technology to unlock your device automatically when certain previously set conditions are met (Bluetooth connection, NFC, trusted places, by voice or detected by use). This way, it allows you to gain quick access without having to unlock the device via the usual security controls in other situations.

How to activate Smart Lock

Smart Lock comes preinstalled on your Android Lollipop device, so no extra app will be needed for this process.

Obviously, you will need to have enabled lock screen security first in order for it to work. If you haven´t done this yet, go to “Settings > Security”, and select your preferred security mode from “Pattern”, “Pin” or “Password”.

Settings > Security > Screen lock

Settings > Security > Screen lock

Once the security lock screen is activated, go to “Settings > Security > Trust agents” and activate the “Smart Lock (Google)” option.

Settings > Security > Trust agents

Settings > Security > Trust agents

Now you will see in the “Security” menu that the “Smart lock” option has been added and by pressing this option, you can start the setup.

How to set up Smart Lock?

The first thing you need to do when selecting Smart Lock is to enter the security code you have previously set up, to prevent anyone from maliciously tampering with your settings.

Smart Lock

Smart Lock

Once you have entered the security code, you can enable the following automatic unlocking options:

Smart lock options

Smart lock options

Trusted devices

This enables automatically unlocking when synced with a Bluetooth device (smartwatch, pedometer, loudspeakers, Bluetooth, Bluetooth car kit, etc…) or when placed close to a NFC card or keychain (provided that your device has NFC technology).

Bluetooth

The first thing you need to do is to activate the Bluetooth via“Settings > Bluetooth”and pair it with the trusted device (some devices may need to be paired with their official Bluetooth app first. For more information please read the instructions with your device).

Once paired, go to “Trusted devices” and an information screen will appear. If you press “Add trusted Device”, depending on if the device has NFC or not, a list of Bluetooth devices to be added will automatically appear, or the option to choose from either Bluetooth or NFC will appear.

To add a new device, just select it from the list and accept the message that will appear (a security warning). Once done, the selected Bluetooth device will automatically unlock your phone whenever enabled and within 100 m. If you want, you can also add more trusted devices to unlock your phone.

To eliminate a trusted device just select it and choose the option “Remove trusted device”.

NFC

As with Bluetooth, first you will need to activate the NFC on your device by going to “Settings > More > NFC”.

To sync the devices, you need to go to “Trusted devices” and press “Add trusted device”, choose NFC and a screen will appear asking you to place a device or NFC tag near the phone. Once this is done, when recognised correctly by the device, it will ask you to type in a name in order to differentiate between any other NFC tags you add. Now everything is set up and ready to go.

To unlock, simply place the NFC sticker close to the device and you will be able to unlock the device without having to enter the security PIN.

To eliminate a trusted device, just select it and choose the option “Remove trusted device”.

NOTE: Remember that this option will only appear if your device has an NFC connection. If you are not sure if you have NFC, please consult the technical specifications.

Trusted places

This unlocks the device without any security measures when it detects that we are within an 80m radius of a previously defined trusted place (at home, at work, etc…).

To set it, up go to “Trusted places” and from here you will see the “Home” option, which allows you to select a location using Google Maps. This option is deactivated by default. Simply press it to activate it. If you prefer not to use it, press and hold to deactivate it, or you can also edit a previously set location.

To add a new location, you need to press “Add trusted place” and select it manually on the map by dragging the marker to the correct position. You can also use the search bar (magnifying glass icon) by typing in the exact address or searching Google Maps by place name. Once located, press “Select this location” and give it a name to save it.

Trusted places

Trusted places

As with trusted devices, it allows you to add various locations so that it can be used in different places.

NOTE: for correct positioning, we recommend activating the “High accuracy” GPS option (GPS + mobile data or Wi-Fi).

Trusted face

The old face unlock feature has been removed from the lock screen options in Lollipop, but for those that want to unlock their device via face recognition, it has been replaced by an enhanced version.

To activate it, simply go to“Trusted face” (we advise you to read the security information) and press “Setup” to start the tutorial on face recognition.

Trusted face

Trusted face

Once finished, you will have the option to“Improve face matching”by using your face in different situations (with or without glasses, with or without a beard, different lighting, different angles, etc…) for more accurate recognition. To cancel it, simply press “Remove trusted face”.

Improve face matching

Improve face matching

Once you have set it up, the main difference from previous versions of face unlock is that your image will not appear on the lock screen in order to recognise it, as the system will do this automatically. When Trusted face is active, the padlock on the lock screen will turn into a user icon. All you need to do is face the front camera and if the recognition is successful, the padlock will open to indicate that it’s unlocked. If it fails, the padlock will remain closed and you will need to enter your security details or lock the screen by pressing the power button to try again.

Facial recognition

Facial recognition

Open lock

Open lock

Closed lock

Closed lock

Trusted voice

This allows you to unlock your device using only the sound of your voice. Before we can set the option, we need to set up the voice recognition, to do this go to “Trusted voice > From any screen” and say three times, “Hello Google”. Once finished we can now activate the “Trusted voice”. Now you will be able to unlock your phone. You can record your voice again by pressing “Retrain voice model” button or to delete the current trusted voice press the “Delete voice model” button.

Trusted voice

Trusted voice

On-body detection

This unlocks the device when it detects that you are holding it in your hand or when you have it on you. As soon as these conditions change (leaving the device on a table, giving it to another person, etc…) the device locks itself again. To identify these conditions, the devices uses an accelerometer and you should bear in mind that it is not infallible.

To activate it, you need to go to “On-body detection” and activate the option by sliding the indicator from “Off” to “On”. It’s recommended to read all of the security information before accepting the terms and conditions of use.

On-body detection

On-body detection

After the first mandatory security lock, it will not ask you again to unlock unless the aforementioned conditions change, in which case you would need to enter your security details to unlock the device again.

Other options to consider

When the padlock is open, this means that no security measures are enabled, whereas if the padlock is locked, you will need to enter your security details to unlock the screen.
By pressing the padlock or the user icon (if trusted face is activated) once, the padlock will close automatically and the security controls will be activated again. This means that you can cancel the Smart lock option manually and temporarily (this will only happen on the first unlock and it will function as normal after).

Manual block

Manual block

I hope this article will help you get the most out of the Smart Lock feature on your BQ device.

Carlos Martin (known as Heminwein at bqyyo) is an Electronics Technician and currently teaches Italian. Smartphone MVP and active member of the BQ forum, he is the madman of technology and more specifically smartphones.