When Android 5.0 “Lollipop” went into a final preview build shortly after being announced by Google, we ran through a series of features to make sure you knew all about the awesomeness that was about to grace your phone or tablet. One of those features was Smart Lock, which is Google’s take on Trusted Devices, a feature that uses Bluetooth or NFC (or your face in Lollipop) to allow you to bypass secure lock screens when you are near, but securely lock the device when you need it most. We are happy to report today that Google has added a new and incredibly useful feature to Smart Lock, thanks to the latest Google Play Services 6.5 update that began rolling out yesterday. That’s right, Smart Lock just got better without a system update.
The new feature adds “trusted places” to your list of options for keeping your phone unlocked. What is a “trusted place?” This could be your work or home or significant other’s apartment or the dog park. A trusted place is a location where you would like to be able to quickly unlock your phone or tablet without needing to enter the PIN, password or pattern that you have active. Of course, the beauty in using a trusted place is that once you leave a trusted location, your phone turns security back on.
For example, let’s say you have both your home and work set as trusted places. When you are at home in the morning or evening, or at work during the day, you could have your phone recognize this and leave your phone open for quick unlocking. But, let’s say you stop off for morning coffee on your way to work, take a cab ride to a meeting across town, or hit the gym in between all of that and forget your phone at any of those locations. Your phone will recognize all of the above as not being “trusted” and will switch your PIN, pattern, or password back on to help secure your phone. Basically, whenever you aren’t in a trusted place, your phone will remain locked and require a secure login. Make sense?
With trusted places through Smart Lock, you can choose between all of the Google accounts attached to your phone through a drop-down menu. These accounts should automatically pull in your Home and Work locations if you have set those up through your accounts, which you likely have in Google Now or Maps at some point. You can also add custom locations though, using the “Add trusted place” button. By tapping that option, you will be taken to Google Maps to either select your current location or search for a new place to add.
In order to get trusted places up and running on your Lollipop device, you will need the new Google Play Services 6.5 (download link) installed. Once you have that installed, you may need to quickly reboot before the option will show up. Once you are done rebooting, head into Settings>Security>Smart Lock and it should be there. Keep in mind that in order to enable Smart Lock, you have to have a PIN, password, or pattern activated.
Here are the rest of the Android 5.0 feature highlights we have covered so far.