Ways to make Android Lollipop more secure


Staff member
Mar 24, 2011
Summary: Besides installing third-party software, there are several ways you can enhance your device's security through built-in controls in Android Lollipop.

By Liam Tung | December 3, 2014 -- 12:36 GMT (04:36 PST)

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  • Trusted devices and face
    So, you're waiting for Lollipop to reach your device. Once it hits, here are some tips on how to make sure a new OS doesn't mean new security woes.

    While few Android devices come with a fingerprint reader onboard, Google's adding new ways of making locking and unlocking devices easier.

    A new feature in Lollipop called Smart Lock lets owners use either a 'trusted device' or 'trusted face' to streamline how they lock their handset.

    'Trusted devices' relies on either NFC or Bluetooth to function and ensures that a phone remains unlocked when it's connected to things such as a smartwatch or a car's Bluetooth system. So, if you're driving or have the phone synced to your smartwatch while working at your desk, you won't be constantly having to unlock your phone. If you break the connection, however — by walking away from your desk, for example — the device will automatically lock.

    'Trusted face' on the other hand is a more convenient way for all-purpose unlocking, and works after the user registers their face with the device. After setting it up, every time the device is switched on, it will search for the user's face. When performing the search, a head and shoulders icon will appear at the bottom of the screen in place of the usual padlock icon.

    Android KitKat did have a feature called 'Face Unlock' but it often went unused due to the time it took for the unlock process to work. Lollipop's 'trusted face' fixed that problem and offers a way to improve facial recognition from different angles and in lighting conditions. Of course, unlike a fingerprint reader, it won't work in the dark.

    While the feature does reduce the number of times you need to type in your passcode in any given day, it may make the device less secure since, as Google warns, someone who looks like the user may also be able to unlock the device.

    Before either of these can be enabled, you'll need to go to Security in Settings and find Trusted Agents. Here, you can enable Smart Lock, and set up both features.

    Image: Google/Liam Tung
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