Google is all about automating things that you shouldn’t have to manually do. Like unlocking and keeping your phone unlocked under certain conditions. Android calls this feature “Smart Lock” and those conditions can range from Bluetooth devices to networks to locations. That last one has been the subject of complaints by many users for months but now it seems that Google has found away to silence all of those. Ironically that’s by actually removing Smart Lock’s Trusted Places option completely.
Smart Lock is one of those advanced power user features that has enough users to make a noise when things go awry. With Smart Lock, you won’t have to enter your PIN or passcode as long as you’re connected to a trusted device, usually a Bluetooth device like a wearable. In the case of Trusted Places, it uses your location as the condition so you can keep your Android phone unlocked at home but locked when elsewhere.
It’s a very convenient feature back when it actually worked. For the past few months, however, Google’s product forums and other online hubs have been filled with questions and complaints about Trusted Places being unreliable or not working at all. Now a Google Play Services update has both fixed that and given users something bigger to complain about: the feature’s sudden and silent removal.
Since it was an unannounced move, we can only guess what Google intends for the feature, aside from removing it completely without a replacement. Considering Google’s inclination to leave things in the hands of AI, it could very well be looking into automatically marking Trusted Places based on your usage patterns.