Setting Up Pixel Watch’s “Watch Unlock” is Pretty Easy

Pixel 7 - Pixel Watch

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As a part of the December update for the Pixel Watch and Pixel Watch 2, Google added the ability for your watch to unlock your phone. Now that the December updates seem to be widely rolling out to both phones and watches, let’s talk about how you can setup this new unlock option.

For those not familiar with the feature I’m talking about, I’ll do my best to explain. Basically, when wearing your Pixel Watch, should you attempt to enter your Pixel phone but can’t do so with fingerprint or face unlock, you could enable the option for “Watch Unlock” that allows your watch to do it for you. It’s mostly a 3rd option when all else fails, but it could come in handy, especially if you never take your Pixel Watch off.

This is different than the Trusted Devices option you may have used in the past. This new “Watch Unlock” requires a secure passcode on your watch and phone and both would have to have been entered at some point in order for your watch to unlock your phone. You also have to have your watch in a close proximity to your phone in order to unlock it, while a Trusted Device just has to keep a connection established. This new “Watch Unlock” is slightly more secure.

OK, time to set it up.

Setup Pixel Watch “Watch Unlock”

Since this is a Google-made feature we are talking about, setting it up can happen through various ways and locations. You can initiate through regular phone Settings or the Pixel Watch app, plus the watch will let you remove a connection if needed.

To get started, you will first need to be on the December Pixel update and the new December Pixel Watch update. Once you those on your devices, some users are reporting that a reboot of each device could be needed to get this feature to appear. Also, you may want to clear cache on the Pixel Watch app. After you have done those, this is how to setup Watch Unlock:

  1. On your Pixel phone, open the Pixel Watch app and tap Watch preferences
  2. Now tap Security and you should see Watch Unlock as an option
  3. Tap that and confirm your secure passcode
  4. You should now see a “Add a watch” option – tap it
  5. You’ll then run through a series of pages that explain how Watch Unlock works
  6. Tap “More” and “Confirm” and it should say “You’re all set!”
  7. Click “Done.”
  8. You are now setup for Watch Unlock

Pixel Watch - Setup Watch Unlock

If for some reason your Pixel Watch app doesn’t have that setting, you can also access it through the following:

  1. On your Pixel phone, open Settings>Security & privacy>Device unlock
  2. Tap “Fingerprint & Face Unlock” and enter your passcode
  3. There should be an option for “Watch Unlock” listed on this screen
  4. Tapping it will take you to steps 4-8 above.

If you want to unlock your phone, you should now be able to wake your phone and swipe up on the lock screen to get it to trigger, assuming it doesn’t see your face unlock first. Make sure your watch is close by or the phone may say to “Bring watch closer” in order to work. You can also make this action happen by tapping on a notification and then bringing your watch close.

When your phone unlocks from your Pixel Watch, you’ll see a notice on your phone letting you know that it unlocked via watch. You’ll also see a notification on watch telling you the same thing. If that notification pops up on your watch and you didn’t actually want to unlock your phone, you should be able to then re-lock your phone from your wrist.

Let us know what you think!

Pixel Watch - Lock Phone

NOTE: I should point out that while I’ve set this feature up now 10 or more times in full, it doesn’t actually work with my Pixel Watch 2 and Pixel 8 Pro. It should be working, but it constantly tells me I need to bring my devices closer together, even if my watch is literally touching my Pixel phone. My guess is that there is a bug in Android 14 QPR2 Beta that’s preventing it from working. I found at least one other person experiencing the same issue and they¬†too are on QPR2. That said, if you aren’t running QPR2 and are instead on the December update (QPR1), you should be all good.

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