Google ‘On-Body Detection’ Keeps Your Android Smartphone Unlocked For Quick Access

Smartphone security is a double-edged sword. If you're lax with security and leave your phone unlocked all the time, you're inviting mischief. And if you lock it down with a passcode or some other method, you'll have to unlock it each time you use it. Or do you? Turns out Google's working on a new Smart Lock mode that can detect when you're holding or carrying your phone.

Called "On-body detection," the new feature uses your phone's accelerometer to detect whether you've laid your phone down or if you're carrying the device, either in your hand or in your pocket. As long as you're carrying your handset in your hand or your pocket, the feature will keep it unlocked, saving you from having to punch in a passcode for the umpteenth time. But if you lay it down on a table or counter top -- in other words, it's no longer on your person -- it will lock.

On-Body Detection

One thing to keep in mind with the feature is that it doesn't discern between you and someone else. That means if you hand your phone to someone else, it will still unlocked for as long as the other person is carrying it.

The new feature is specific to Lollipop. According to Android Police, it was first noticed on an Nexus 4 device running Android 5.0.1, though it's since been rolled out to most Nexus devices. We assume it's something Google will expand to non-Nexus handsets, though nothing yet has been announced.