Locking and Unlocking Android Tablets and Phones


android-settings

You can protect you tablet/phone by configuring some basic security settings.

The most common setting is to enable lock screens.

In this tutorial we will look at configuring lock screens and how you to use the Android device manager (find my device) to unlock your tablet/phone if your forget your PIN or screen pattern.

Enabling Lock Screens

For new tablets lock screen is disabled by default.

To enable android lock screen you go to Settings>Personal>Security and click screen lock

Note: Settings is an App located in the Apps screen

android-screen-lock

You then need to Select from the available screen unlock methods.

For better security either password or PIN is recommended.

Here is a list and description of the available methods.

android-screen-unlock-methods

Press to select your unlock method

nable-disable-lockscreen

You can adjust when the screen lock occurs by changing the automatically lock setting, and the sleep setting.

automatic-lock-setting

The automatically lock setting is part of the screen lock setting, and is set to occur after the system enters sleep mode.

You can configure sleep mode from settings>display

android-sleep-settings

Screen lock will also occur when you press the power button.

Smart Lock – Smart Unlocking

In Lollipop (android v5) a new feature called smart lock was introduced which will automatically unlock your device, when for example, it is at home.

To set it up in Settings > Security scroll down until you see the advanced section and select trust agents.

android trust-agents Press trust agents and you should see Smart lock listed.

android-trust-agents-2

Enable this as shown above, and press the back arrow to return to the Security settings. Now near the top you should see a new option called smart lock.

Press on Smart lock to configure it.

android-smart-lock

For more details on smart lock take a look at the Google support page here.

Remotely Locate and Unlock Android Phone or Tablet

If you have forgotten your password, PIN etc. and cannot unlock your screen you can reset the lock screen password using the find my device service. 

In order to do this you will have need to have previously enabled find my device on the actual device,and the device needs to be on, and have access to the Internet.

Unlock Procedure Find my Device

If you are currently logged in using a Google Account that is configured on the device then :

Type find my phone into Google search. In which case you should see something like the screen shot below.

find-my-phone

if you click on the ring option your phone or tablet will ring if you click on the recover option you will get another page will lets you set a new lock screen password as well as other options.

lock-phone-find-phone

Unlock  Using the Android Device Manager

You can go directly to the device manager web page at www.google.com/android/devicemanager and login using a Google account that has access to the device you are trying to reset.

The device manager will attempt to contact your device

device-manager-contacting-device

If it finds the device you will have the option of

  • Ringing the device (works with tablet as well as phone)
  • Locking the device which basically resets the lock code
  • Erasing the device

lock-android-remote

So click Lock and you will be prompted to enter a new password that will be used to lock/unlock the device.

You should get a confirmation that the device has been locked

unlock-message

Note: Each time I did it I got a message saying that it couldn’t lock the device, but it did.

If you look at the lock screen on the device you see a message informing you that the device has been locked by the device manager.

android-screen-locked

You can now login to your tablet/phone using the password you entered to lock the device.

Common Questions and Answers

Q- I have several Google accounts configured on my phone/tablet which account can I use?

A- You can use any of them, but you need to have activated the android device manager on the device.

Summary

All tablets and phones should use some form of screen lock and you should also make sure that you register each device with the Android device manager.

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