Smart Unlock brings one of Lollipop’s best security features to older Androids
Still waiting for Android 5.0 to come to your device? You don’t need it to enjoy Smart Lock, one of Lollipop’s best new security features, thanks to a new third-party app called Smart Unlock that delivers the same functionality.
Compatible with any device running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and above, the $0.99 download automatically disables your lock screen security when a trusted wearable is nearby. What’s more, Smart Unlock has an advantage over Google’s own Smart Lock feature by allowing you to add trusted Wi-Fi networks, too.
If you aren’t already familiar with Smart Lock in Lollipop, here’s how it works: You setup lock screen security as normal — using either a passcode, a swipe gesture, or something else — to prevent unauthorized access to your device. But when a trusted Android Wear watch is nearby, that security is automatically disable, allowing you to access your own device instantly.
Smart Unlock brings the same functionality to older devices, but it isn’t just restricted to Android Wear wearables. It also works with other Bluetooth devices — such as the Pebble or a Fitbit tracker — and even Wi-Fi networks, so you can ask it to disable your lock screen security automatically while connected to your home Wi-Fi network, but reactivate it when you leave.
Smart Unlock can also use GPS locations and NFC tags, making Android’s own Smart Lock feature seem kind of basic. What’s more, it’s fully compatible with unrooted devices, so you don’t need to perform any warranty-voiding hacks to get it to work.
You can download Smart Unlock from Google Play right now, and it’s priced at $0.99. Note that it doesn’t play nicely with certain Samsung Galaxy devices thanks to the South Korean company’s TouchWiz user interface, but it works well with others.