As the battle to secure our digital mobile equipment continues forward, Google has just upped the ante. A new feature in the Android operating system allows a user to keep his phone locked unless it is physically on his body. “A number of Android owners have spotted a new feature that keeps the phone constantly unlocked as long as it’s in a person’s hand, resting on their leg or even just sitting in a pocket.”
The feature uses the phone’s accelerometer to know when the phone is in use or being handled, only locking the phone when it is placed on a flat surface.
Android Police first noticed the feature when it appeared on the Nexus 4, a Google device, running the operating system Lollipop.
The on-body detection menu explained: ‘The feature uses your device’s accelerometer to detect whether your device is still being carried on the body.
‘If your device detects that it’s no longer being held, your device won’t stay unlocked.’
It’s not entirely an airtight security measure. If the phone is unlocked and handed to another person, the phone will stay unlocked. Another critical issue is butt-dialing. If the phone is in your pocket, will it be locked or unlocked?
Android also has a useful security measure called “face unlock,” which made an appearance in an earlier version, Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich operating system.
Both security features require the user to “opt-in” to use — so if you still want to use a password or fingerprint reader, you can.