Using Google Smart Lock on Your Android Device

How to set up Google Smart Lock on your Android devices

Google Smart Lock, sometimes called Android Smart Lock, is a handy set of features introduced with Android 5.0 Lollipop. It solves the problem of constantly having to unlock your phone after it's been idle by enabling you to set up scenarios where your phone can safely stay unlocked for extended periods. The feature is available on Android devices and some Android apps, Chromebooks, and in the Chrome browser.

On-Body Detection

This feature detects when you have your device in your hand or pocket and keeps it unlocked. When you put your phone down, it automatically locks, so you don't have to worry about prying eyes.

Trusted Places

It's especially frustrating when your device keeps locking up on you when you're in the comfort of your home. Enabling Smart Lock solves this by setting up Trusted Places, such as your home, office, or anywhere else you feel comfortable leaving your device unlocked for a length of time. This feature requires turning on GPS, though, which drains your battery faster.

Trusted Face

Remember the Face Unlock feature? Introduced with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, this functionality lets you unlock your phone using facial recognition. Unfortunately, the feature was unreliable and easy to trick using a photo of the owner. This feature, now called Trusted Face, has been improved and rolled into Smart Lock; with it, the phone uses facial recognition to enable the device's owner to interact with notifications and unlock it.

Trusted Voice

If you use voice commands, you can also use the Trusted Voice feature. Once you set up voice detection, your device can unlock itself when it hears a voice match. This feature isn't entirely secure: Someone with a similar voice could unlock your device. Be cautious when using it.

Trusted Devices

Whenever you connect via Bluetooth to a new device, such as a smartwatch, Bluetooth headset, car stereo, or another accessory, your device asks if you want to add it as a trusted device. If you opt-in, your phone remains unlocked every time your phone connects to that device. If you pair your smartphone with a wearable, such as the Moto 360 smartwatch, you can look at texts and other notifications on the wearable and then respond to them on your phone. Trusted Devices is a great feature if you use a Wear OS device (formerly Android Wear device) or other accessory frequently.

Chromebook Smart Lock

You can also enable this feature on your Chromebook by going into advanced settings. Then, if your Android phone is unlocked and nearby, you can unlock your Chromebook with one tap. 

Saving Passwords With Smart Lock

Smart Lock also offers a password-saving feature that works with compatible apps on your Android device and the Chrome browser. To enable this feature, go into Google settings; here, you can also turn on auto sign-in to make the process even easier. Passwords are saved in your Google account, and accessible whenever you're signed in on a compatible device. For extra security, you can block Google from saving passwords from particular apps, such as banking or other apps that contain sensitive data. The only downside is that not all apps are compatible; that requires intervention from app developers.

How to Set Up Smart Lock

Follow the below steps to set up Smart Lock on your Android device, a Chromebook, or in the Chrome web browser.

On an Android Device

The directions below should apply no matter who made your Android phone: Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc.

  1. Go into Settings > Security > Advanced > Trust agents and make sure that Smart Lock is turned on.

    The Trust Agents setting might be in a slightly different place on your particular phone model. Search for Trust Agents by tapping the magnifying glass at the top of the Settings screen to find it.

  2. Then, still under the Security settings, search for Smart Lock.

    Smart Lock, Trusted Devices, toggle OFF on Android
  3. Tap Smart Lock and enter your password, unlock pattern, or pin code, or use your fingerprint.

  4. From here, you can enable On-body detection, add Trusted places and Trusted devices, and set up Voice Match.

    Continue, toggle ON, Got It button on Android
  5. Once you set up Smart Lock, you see a pulsing circle at the bottom of your lock screen, around the lock symbol. 

On a Chromebook Running ChromeOS 71 or Higher

Follow these steps to set up Smart Lock on a Chromebook. You need to have an unlocked Android device nearby running 5.0 or later.

  1. Both your Chromebook and your Android device must be connected to the internet, with Bluetooth enabled, and signed into the same Google account.

    Screenshot of Chromebook Bluetooth settings.
  2. On your Chromebook, go to Settings > Connected Devices > Set up.

    Chromebook connected devices settings
  3. In the Connect to your phone dialog, under Select a device, select the device you want to setup.

    Connect to your phone
  4. Select Accept & continue.

    Accept & continue
  5. Enter your password and select Done.

    Entering Google password in Chromebook
  6. Select Done again to complete adding a device.

    Done button
  7. Select the device under Connected devices to Enable or disable Smart Lock.

    Smart Lock toggle

In the Chrome Browser

Here's how to set up and use Smart Lock in the Chrome browser:

  1. When you log in a website or compatible app, Smart Lock should pop up and ask if you want to save the password. 

  2. If you don't get prompted to save passwords, select the three-dot Chrome menu in the upper right, and select Settings.

    Chrome Settings menu item
  3. Near the top of the Settings tab, you see the Autofill box. Select Passwords inside it.

    Passwords item in Autofill section of Chrome settings
  4. Here's where you can control what Chrome does with your passwords. First, toggle Offer to save passwords on, if it's not already. Then, do the same with Auto Sign-in.

    Save passwords and Auto Sign-in toggle buttons in Chrome Settings
  5. You can manage your passwords by going to

For Android Apps

Smart Lock for Passwords should be active by default on your Android device. If it's not, here's how to set it up:

  1. Go into Google settings (either within settings or a separate app depending on your phone).

  2. Turn on Smart Lock for Passwords; this enables it for the mobile version of Chrome as well.

  3. Here, you can also turn on Auto-sign in, which signs you into apps and websites automatically as long as you're logged into your Google account.

    Google, Smart Lock for Passwords buttons and toggles for Smart Lock and Auto sign-in

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I disable Google Smart Lock? To disable Smart Lock on any Android device, search for Trust Agents in the Settings search bar, then tap Trust Agents in the search results, and turn the Smart Lock (Google) toggle switch off. Next, remove all trusted devices, trusted places, trusted faces, and trusted voices.
  • Can I remove Google Smart Lock from my Android? Technically, no, you can't remove Smart Lock since it's built into the Android OS; however, you can disable and remove everything in Smart Lock, as described above, to disable all functionality.
  • How safe is Smart Lock? Smart Lock is even safer than two-factor authentication (2FA) because, unlike 2FA, Smart Lock’s confirmation comes from your actual device, not just from your phone number. With 2FA, hackers can pretend to be you and transfer your phone number to their device to confirm their identity, but with Smart Lock, authentication comes straight from your device to Smart Lock—which means that unless someone is in possession of your phone, they can't pretend to be you.
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