Google shows how the Pixel Watch can securely keep your smartphone unlocked

Active Unlock keeps your phone unlocked while you’re wearing your watch

Google has long offered the option to keep your Android phone unlocked using a trusted Bluetooth device as part of Smart Lock. However, there are issues with this system when used with smartwatches. As long as your smartwatch is connected, your phone will remain unlocked, even if you’re not wearing it or the watch itself is unlocked. Google is looking to fix this with a new Active Unlock option, and the company used his CES 2023 to showcase the new method.


The Active Unlock API was introduced in Android 13 and adds a second layer of security to Smart Lock. Beyond verifying a simple connection, the watch may require you to authenticate yourself, so your phone will only stay unlocked while you’re actively wearing your smartwatch. Together with the Pixel Watch, this feature is called Watch Unlock. It is specifically intended as an alternative when facial or fingerprint unlocking doesn’t work, but it only provides Tier 1 security access to the phone (i.e. contactless payments or biometric apps). no login).

slide lock release

At CES 2023, Google unexpectedly demoed this feature as part of its booth.rear Discovered by Esper’s Mishaal RahmanI confirmed with Google that you can see how the feature works on the show floor and that you must wear a watch for the feature to work. You can now sign in to your phone by simply placing it nearby.”

So far, this feature hasn’t been officially released yet, so it’s interesting to see Google already showing off this feature at trade shows. The company is open about this, so it could be released sooner or later at this point.

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