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Android tip: Adjust lock screen security settings for a better overall experience

Nexus 7 security settings - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here

If you’ve got a phone or tablet running Android 4.0.4 or higher, and you’ve disabled your device’s security settings because of the inconvenience they previously posed, then you should definitely keep reading.

For quite a while, I decided to disable the screen lock on my Android devices, simply because I got sick and tired of constantly having to sit and wait for Face Unlock to recognize my face, only to be forced to enter a password half the time because it didn’t recognize me. If you’re anything like me, and you are addicted to your phone or tablet as much as I am, then you know what I’m talking about – it’s annoying to go through the unlock process every time you turn the screen back on, even if it’s only been two minutes since you last used your device.

However, the downside to disabling security features on your Android device is that your personal information is much more susceptible to be stolen – especially if you lose your device. And with our devices storing more and more personal information about us, including payment information, that’s a risk we shouldn’t really take.

Luckily, there’s a security setting in Android 4.0.4 and higher that takes much of the headache away. Simply navigate to SettingsSecurity, and deselect Power button instantly locks under Screen Security. I also set my ASUS Nexus 7 to automatically lock 30 minutes after sleep – the maximum amount of time I could select – since the tablet hardly ever leaves my house.

Unfortunately, if you don’t have a Nexus device, you might be out of luck. I’ve noticed that on my HTC EVO 4G LTE and my ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity, this option is not available in the security settings. Until recently, it was an option that I had longed for, and only discovered when I picked up the Nexus 7 a few weeks ago. So, depending on your device, your mileage may vary.

But in my case, I can rest easy knowing that my tablet is a little more secure – and a lot less annoying.

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John F

John was the editor-in-chief at Pocketables. His articles generally focus on all things Google, including Chrome and Android, although his love of new gadgets and technology doesn't stop there. His current arsenal includes the Nexus 6 by Motorola, the 2013 Nexus 7 by ASUS, the Nexus 9 by HTC, the LG G Watch, and the Chromebook Pixel, among others.

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11 thoughts on “Android tip: Adjust lock screen security settings for a better overall experience

  • Avatar of Everett

    I have that setting in my security settings on my EVO 4g LTE. Keep in mind I am running MeanRom 6.3

    Reply
    • I’m running stock rooted, so that’s probably why I don’t have it. :-)

      Reply
  • Avatar of Charles

    I have the setting on my AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note 2.
    Settings–>Lock Screen –>Secured Lock Time. I have mine set to 10 minutes, but the max time is 1 hr.

    I’m running the stock rom (Jelly Bean 4.1.1).

    Reply
  • Avatar of Miguel Diaz

    I’m stock rooted right now an its def a setting. go to settings -> security -> and its the otion under screen lock that says lock phone after. Of course this option will not show up untl you already have a lock set up and the max is 15 mins.

    Reply
    • Yes, I know that’s a setting. I’m talking about the “Power button instantly locks” option. That might be on Samsung stock ROMs, but that’s definitely not on the EVO 4G LTE stock ROM. ASUS may have added that back in an OTA update, but the last time I had a Transformer Pad Infinity in my possession, the power button option wasn’t there.

      Reply
      • Avatar of Miguel Diaz

        I’m talking about the EVO LTE. That options tell the phone when to ask for the password after it goes to sleep not when to go to sleep. So immediately is the same as phone power button locking.

        Reply
        • Avatar of Miguel Diaz

          So choosing 5, 10, or 15 etc minutes means that unless the phone has been asleep for the amount of time picked, if you wake it up it won’t ask for the password or pin

          Reply
        • OK, I see what you’re saying. The EVO 4G LTE still is missing some functionality, though, compared to the Nexus in this regard.

          On the EVO, you can set it to lock in 15 minutes, for example, and it doesn’t matter if you let the screen turn off by itself or if you turn it off manually by pressing the power button. However, you still have to bypass the HTC lockscreen whenever you turn it back on.

          On stock Android, you can set it to lock in 15 minutes, but you also have more granular control over whether you want it to lock automatically by pressing the power button – even before the 15 minutes is up – or not. Also, if you deselect that power button option, you can turn the screen on and immediately bypass any lockscreen, unlike the EVO.

          So, basically, there’s still a distinction to be made here, and the fact that HTC doesn’t include this option in its firmware takes away some functionality.

          Reply
  • Avatar of Randy S

    My ASUS Transformer Infinity has it… running CleanROM 2.3.

    Reply
  • But also if you do this on a phone and you lose it someone could unlock it if the time span had not gone by. i have mine lock instantly with a pin and its not too much hassle to type 4 numbers and its more likely that your phone will get returned if someone who isnt tech savy takes it.

    Reply
  • I have a nexus 4 and the max time that can be selected for screen security->automatically lock is 10 minutes. is there anyway to increase this?

    Reply

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