How to Unlock Your Android Phone With Your Fitbit

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Photo: Christopher Ames / Getty

Everybody knows that unlocking your phone with a complicated passcode can be a real pain in the butt. Heck, even a 4 digit passcode can be a real trial, especially if you have to enter it 100 times a day.

As a security advocate I always recommend that you secure your phone with a passcode, but many folks elect to skip passcodes altogether for the sake of convenience and instant access to their phone.

 

There has to be someway to balance usability with ease of access, right? Well for a long time their really hasn't been. iPhone users recently gained biometric-based unlocking of their phone via the Touch ID fingerprint reader which was introduced with the iPhone 5S and has since been incorporated in the iPhone 6, and the latest iPads.

Android users, however, didn't have a rock solid quick-unlock feature until recently with the addition of the Smart Lock capabilities found in the Android Lollipop 5.0 OS.

Smart Lock added several new lock/unlock methods and also improved on the previous facial recognition feature offered in earlier versions of the OS. The new Android 5.0 Smart Lock feature has now added the ability to use a trusted Bluetooth device's presence to unlock your phone.

Here's How to Set up Android Smart Lock to Use a Fitbit (or any trusted Bluetooth device) to Unlock Your Phone:

1. Ensure that you have a passcode or pattern set for your device.

If you need to set one for the first time, Open your Android device's "settings" menu, navigate to "Personal" and choose "Security". In the "Screen Security" section, choose "Screen Lock". If there is an existing PIN or passcode you'll have to enter it here, otherwise follow the instructions to create a new pattern, password, or PIN to secure your device.

2. Enable Smart Lock

In order to use the Smart Lock feature with a trusted Bluetooth device, you'll first need to make sure that Smart Lock is enabled.

Open Your Android device's "Settings" menu. In the section labeled "Personal", select "Security". Navigate to the "Advanced" menu and choose "Trust agents" and make sure that the "Smart Lock" option is turned to the "On" position.

In the "Screen Security" section, choose "Smart Lock". Enter the screen lock PIN, password, or pattern that you created in step 1 above.

3. Set Smart Lock to Recognize Your Fitbit as a "Trusted Bluetooth Device"

You can have Smart Lock unlock your Android device when a Bluetooth device of your choosing is within close range.

To set Smart Lock to trust a Bluetooth device for the purpose of unlocking your device, first make sure Bluetooth on your Android device is turned on.

From the "Smart Lock" menu, choose "Trusted devices". Select "Add trusted device", then choose "Bluetooth". Choose your Fitbit (or whatever Bluetooth device you desire) from the list of connected Bluetooth devices.

Note: the Bluetooth device you want to use must have already been paired to your Android device for it to be available for using as a Smart Lock Trusted Bluetooth Device.

To Get Rid of a Previously Allowed Trusted Bluetooth Device in Smart Lock

Choose the device from the list of "Trusted Devices in the "Smart Lock" menu, choose "remove the device" from your list and pick "OK".

Note: While this feature is handy, it's important to know that, depending on the range of your phone's Bluetooth radio, someone nearby could access your phone if the device you've paired it to for Smart Unlock is nearby. For example, if you're in a meeting in the room next door to your office and your phone is left unattended on your desk, someone could access it without a passcode because your paired device (fitbit,watch, etc) is in close enough range for it to unlock the phone.

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