Your phone has a lot of personal information on it, and that is why I always recommend that you apply a security lock screen such as a PIN or pattern. Unfortunately, that extra step of security can be a royal pain in the you know what. The problem is that the majority of time your phone or tablet is in a safe environment such as your home, car, a friend’s house, or workplace. Constantly entering a code or swiping a pattern is annoying during those “safe” times. It is the single biggest reason why so many people don’t utilize a security lock screen, and instead, hope their phone never gets lost or stolen. If there was a way to automatically disable the security lock screen when you are in those trusted zones, and automatically re-enable it when you’re at the mall, a restaurant, or anywhere else untrusted, you might go back to securing your phone like you should.
Well there is a way, and it’s not complicated at all. The immediate assumption is I’m going to recommend Tasker, but unfortunately, I could never get it to work after Android 4.0, nor could most other people. Even if it does work, Tasker is too complicated for the average person. You want simple right? Hit the break to get started.
The first thing you need to do is grab Delayed Lock Trial from the Play Store. This is the full version of the app, but it’s only good for a limited time. I think 15 days, but it’s been a while since I downloaded the app, so forgive me if I’m wrong. This trial version is for you to find out if you can get it working and if you like the app. After the trial expires, you will need the full version, which costs $2.99. That is a small price to pay to take away the pain of constantly entering a PIN code.
There are also individual plugins for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and locations. Since they are all Free, go ahead and install all three of them: Delayed Lock Wi-Fi Plugin, Delayed Lock Bluetooth Plugin, and Delayed Lock Location Plugin. I know with all these plugins, you might be thinking this is going to be really complicated, but trust me, it’s not.
Now it’s a matter of deciding when you would like your security lock screen disabled. Some examples could be when you’re connected to your home Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi plugin allows you to do that, and it’s not limited to one Wi-Fi, you can also add a friend or family member’s house. You could also add a workplace, but that is up to you. If you work in a large office environment, you might want to forget it. Your car is another place. Who wants to enter a PIN code while driving? If your car has Bluetooth, you can use the Bluetooth plugin to add it so you won’t have to when your phone is connected to it. You can also add a Bluetooth headset as well. For those places that don’t have Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, you can utilize the location plugin by pinpointing GPS locations. This plugin also helps if your phone has wonky Wi-Fi connectivity.
[Scroll down if you want to skip the rest of the instructions and watch the tutorial video]
Setting things up is pretty easy. Head over to your phone’s Settings. Under Security, tap Lock Screen or Security Lock and make sure you are set to “swipe.” Now open Delayed Lock and swipe once to the left for the General Tab. On this screen, you want to check “Enable Delayed Lock” and “Admin Permission.” When you check “Admin Permission”, you will also need to select “Activate” under the Activate Device Administrator. Now select “PIN or password” or “FaceUnlock or pattern”. The reason they are separated is that in order to use Face Unlock or a pattern, you will need to be rooted (for Android 4.0 and above). You do not need to be rooted in order to use PIN or password, so I recommend this choice. Once you select either, you will go through the setup for each. In the case of PIN or password, you will need to enter whatever you want two times for confirmation. The last step is to decide if you want your device to automatically wipe after a certain amount of failed attempts. If so, check it and enter how many failed attempts you want to go with.
After you have completed the above steps, swipe to the left to go to the Delay Tab. Here you will select how long till your device is locked (if you’re not in a trusted zone). You can set it by seconds, minutes, or hours. I usually go with “after screen off” and for two minutes. So if you are in public (non trusted area), you will be prompted to enter your PIN to unlock your device, but if you wake the display again within two minutes, you won’t have to enter the PIN again. The PIN will be re-enabled after the display has been off for two minutes. If you want to go shorter or longer than two minutes, you can do so if you wish.
Swipe again to the left to go to the Plugins Tab. This is where you can add Wi-Fi or Bluetooth devices, locations, or even add a remote lock command. For Wi-Fi, it’s easiest to set them up when you’re already connected to the particular Wi-Fi. When you tap on Wi-Fi, you will be given a choice to enter the SSID of the network or you can simply choose, “Add currently connected network.” You can have multiple Wi-Fi networks, so don’t worry. Next, you want to set how many seconds till your device locks when you disconnect from the Wi-Fi network. I usually go with 120 (2 minutes). Remember, each time you connect to one of the trusted Wi-Fi networks, you have to enter your PIN or pattern once, and then you won’t be asked again until you disconnect from the network.
Note: Many Android users complain about connectivity issues with Wi-Fi. Even if your status bar shows as connected, it might constantly disconnect and reconnect. If you have this issue, you might want to utilize the location plugin instead of Wi-Fi. As I stated, you will have to enter your PIN code once after connecting to a trusted Wi-Fi network for the first time. If your phone constantly disconnects and reconnects, you will constantly have to enter your PIN since Delayed Lock “thinks” you just connected to the Wi-Fi for the first time.
For Location, tap on “Show map to add locations.” You will see a dot for your current location, so it is easier to do this when you are physically at the location you want to add, but you can tap anywhere you want on the map. At each tap, you will be prompted for the amount of radius in meters. Type in how many meters (100 is the default) and make sure to check “….lock screen (requires unlocking once).” You can do this multiple times on the map. Once you hit the back key, you will see the saved locations with their respective latitude and longitude settings. Again, as soon as you enter the trusted location, you will still need to enter your PIN or pattern once.
Bluetooth is really easy to setup as well. The best thing to do is choose “add all paired devices.” If there are any that you didn’t want, just long press on each one to remove it from the list. Next, you want to set how many seconds till your device locks when you disconnect from your trusted Bluetooth devices. I go with 60 seconds (1 minutes), but you can choose whatever you want.
You are now all set. Whenever you are connected to any of the Wi-Fi networks or Bluetooth devices you have added, or enter any locations you set, you won’t have to enter your PIN or Pattern to unlock your device except for the first time. Then relax and enjoy turning on your display with a quick slide to unlock knowing that when you disconnect from the particular network or leave the location, your phone will be locked from prying eyes.
Note: Unfortunately I have found that Delayed Lock doesn’t work on the Moto X or the new 2013 DROID family of devices. However, Motorola has something similar for trusted Bluetooth Devices. Unfortunately, they don’t have a Wi-Fi option, but I hear that could be enabled with a future update. You can also opt for Motorola Skip, which lets you bypass the security lock screen via NFC.
UPDATE: Now working on Moto X after camera fix update, at least on the AT&T version. New DROID should follow suit.
Don’t like reading all the instructions? We got you covered as I show you step by step how it all works in the video below.
I hope your phone never gets stolen or lost, but if it does, you will have the peace of mind knowing that a stranger won’t be able get into your device and see all your personal information. I hope this guide helped you, and if you have any issues or questions, please let me know in the comments below.