Smart Lock… Is It Safe To Use?

Smartphones have transcended from being a convenience to a necessity. Throughout the last 10 years BlackBerry have had our security and privacy top of mind, and those of us that appreciate such requirements  love what they offer.

With the advent of Android on BlackBerry we are introduced to security features that did not come from our vendor of choice. Case in point, Smart Lock. Is it safe?

How smart is it to use Smart Lock?

Smart Lock is a security feature in Android that offers a user the ability to keep the phone unlocked under 5 possible circumstances. Those 5 possibilities are:


On-body detection. This option understands that you are either holding the device, or moving about with it. It occurs to me that it would stay unlocked if someone absconded with your Priv, Dtek50, or Dtek60. Not good enough IMHO.

Trusted Places. This uses GPS to decide if your device should remain unlocked. It cannot pinpoint your location so there is a ring of maybe 300′ or 100 metres that is included. Seems to me that anybody within your domicile or work location could view your unlocked device if they felt so inclined. For me it’s no again.

Does any of this work?

Trusted devices. This option lets you add NFC or Bluetooth devices to the list of things that will keep your device unlocked whilst they are paired. Now this is something that interested me. The very first thing I setup was my car Bluetooth system. Make no mistake, we here at UTB do not advocate the use of your phone as you drive. That being said, when I get to a parking lot, or arrive at my work or home I LOVE the fact that I do not have to unlock after a drive of any distance. Am I worried about someone in my car, or within the vicinity of my car? No, not at this time. I find it convenient with little to no risk.

Trusted face. Two things here. I do not like the idea of my face (many feel the same way LOL) being stored anywhere for security matching. I also think a thief could just shove the phone in my face. No. The app even insinuates that “a person who looks like you could unlock your phone”. Nuff said.

Trusted voice. Those that know me understand that I dislike the idea that my voiceprint is on any server anywhere. Especially if it is held in a country in which I do not reside. Nope, not for me.

So… where does that leave me? I am still using the “Trusted devices” Smart Lock feature. I find it to be useful and convenient. Here’s how to set it up.

Go to settings and choose Security, then choose Smart Lock. If you have a PIN it will ask you to enter it to proceed. Then choose (in my case) a Bluetooth device to keep your device unlocked. For the purposes of this blog I chose my Motorola Buds headset. I removed them after this blog.

Smart Lockscreenshot_20161128-210324screenshot_20161128-210454

It’s super easy to do, and also easy to undo.

Now… my question to you gentle readers.

Do you see this as an addition to your convenience? Do you see it as a reduction to your security?

Let me know if you have thoughts or arguments pro or con to Smart Lock. I really want to know. Oh, and just so you know I have not enabled the fingerprint sensor on my Dtek60… yet.

Dave out.



Dave Matthews here. I'm a phone guy by trade supplying VOIP systems for business and industry. BlackBerry devices, playing PRS guitars in my band, golf, and RC flight are my current passions.