Have you ever forgotten your phone at a coffee shop or restaurant? You're not alone. That's why Google has created a new security feature for Android phones that could seriously improve your data security if you accidentally leave your gadget lying around in public. The best part is it could already be on your smartphone.
The feature works by locking your phone automatically when it's not in your hand or pocket. That way, if a stranger happens upon your forgotten gadget, they won't be able to access your data even if you forgot to lock your phone. It uses your phone's accelerometer to tell if your phone is on your person or just sitting on a table or counter.
The new smart lock option isn't on every Android smartphone yet, but it is starting to show up on select phones.
It's unclear which phones Google has made this feature available to right now. The smart lock option has been seen on a Nexus 4 smartphone with Android 5.0.1, but the new feature could have something to do with the latest Play Services update, according to Android Police. It has also shown up on other phones, including other Nexuses.
This doesn't seem to be a feature related to Android 5.1, but you probably need 5.0+ for it to work. We do know our tipster has the most recent version of Play Services (we tried with the same version on our Nexuses, and no dice), and we know trusted places is enabled by Google Play Services, so it seems likely this on-body detection mode is probably activated similarly, and isn't part of the core OS.
This sounds like a cool little feature, especially if you're forgetful. However, it does have limitations. For instance, it can only verify that someone is holding the phone, not that you specifically are holding it. So, if you unlock your smartphone and then hand it to someone else, the phone will not lock automatically unless the person sets it down.