Android rolling out 'on-body detection' smart lock feature

Google appears to rolling out a new lock feature to certain Android 5.0 and up devices, a new spin on biometric security dubbed "on-body detection." Imagine that situation where you unlock your phone to read an email, finish and put it back in your pocket, only to take it out again 20 seconds later to check something else. On-body detection's purpose is to free you from repeatedly unlocking your phone as long as it remains in your hand or pocket.

The feature makes use of the device's accelerometer to know whether it's on your body or sitting on a table and not being touched. When first picked up, the phone needs to be unlocked via whichever method the user has set up, such as password or fingerprint. As long the device remains on the body, the password or fingerprint won't be needed to unlock.

This allows the same quick and easy access to the device as not having a locking method set up, but at the same time offers security if it's accidentally forgotten somewhere. It's worth noting that on-body detection isn't smart enough to know when the phone's owner is the one holding it, only that it's being held. So if the owner takes their device out of their pocket and immediately hands it to a friend, they would also be able to skip the unlocking step.

Android Police has heard from several users that on-body detection is appearing on many Nexus devices, including the Nexus 4, running Android 5.0.1, although it's been reported to have turned up on other phones as well. The feature doesn't seem to be directly tied to Android 5.1, but rather the latest version of Google Play Services (7.0.97), so that's probably the most likely spot look for it.

SOURCE Android Police