How to use Trusted Devices in Android Lollipop

How to use Trusted Devices in Android Lollipop

There are times that we want our phone to be locked and times when we want to bypass our phone's security measures

With the introduction of the Smart Lock options in Android Lollipop, we have been given the choice of four easy to use security tools to help keep our devices both secured from intruders but also easy to unlock when a security check has been made. The easiest Smart Lock to setup and use is Trusted devices. This Smart Lock allows your Lollipop equipped phone or tablet to bypass your lock screen security just by being connected to a Bluetooth device or by tapping it against something that has NFC.
There might be slight differences based on your device

While most of these instructions are universal, you might find some slight variations when it comes to the location of your lock screen and Smart Lock settings. The screenshots and instructions that follow are based on stock Android 5.1.1 as found on the Nexus 6. Once you have located the Smart Lock specific settings, you'll be golden.

LG G4: In the Security settings make sure Smart Lock is enabled as a Trusted Agent. All other Lock Screen and Smart Lock settings can be found in the Lock Screen settings.
Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 edge: The Smart Lock settings can be found by going into the Lock Screen and Security and then into the Secure Lock Settings submenu.

1. How to enable lock screen security

The first thing you need to do is make sure to have some form of lock screen security enabled on your device so that you can enable the Smart Lock options. Most of the time your phone or tablet will ask you to enable security measures on your device when you are setting it up for the first time. If you already have a password, pattern, PIN, or another form of security enabled on your device, you can skip this step.

If you have not, enter into your phone or tablet's Settings. Next, scroll down to Security and click on the Screen lock option at the top of the menu. Now you must choose to use either a password, pattern, or PIN — on certain devices you can use other forms of security such as the fingerprint scanner or Knock Code. Once you have successfully secured your lock screen, you can back out to the main security menu.

2. How to setup a NFC Trusted device

Setting up NFC Trusted Device

In trusted devices you get the choice of using a paired Bluetooth device or another object that is equipped with NFC to bypass your lock screen security. When you setup a Bluetooth device as a Trusted device, your phone or tablet will bypass its lock screen security (your password, pattern, or PIN) anytime the connected device is nearby. When you set up a NFC tag or object with NFC inside as a Trusted device, you must scan the tag every time you want to bypass your device's security. Both methods have their pros and cons so depending on when you want to have your device unlocked, you can choose which route to take for setting up your Trusted devices.

If you want to setup a NFC tag or NFC equipped device as a Trusted device, you must first make sure NFC is turned on. The NFC toggle is located within the More option under the Wireless and networks subcategory in your device's settings. On some phones and tablets you might also have the option of turning on NFC from the quick settings menu found above your notification bar.

Now that NFC is turned on, navigate back to your device's Security settings. As long as you have successfully implemented a form of lock screen security on your device, a Smart Locks option should be available. When you attempt to enter this, you will need to input your password, pattern, or PIN. You will now be shown the four Smart Locks: Trusted places, Trusted face, Trusted voice, On-body detection and of course Trusted devices.

When you tap on Trusted devices you will be taken into a menu that shows you any devices you have already setup as a Trusted device — since this should be the first time you use this feature, there should not be anything listed. Below any previously setup Trusted devices is an Add trusted device button. When you click on the button you will be asked if you want to set up a Trusted device using NFC or a Bluetooth. For now we will go with NFC.

In the next screen you will be asked to tap your phone or tablet on the NFC tag or another NFC equipped device. Once your phone or tablet has made the connection, you will be taken to a screen which prompts you to name the NFC device. This is not necessary but does help you when you organize all of your connected devices or if you need to delete the NFC Trusted device in the future. Unfortunately you can not use a NFC connection between this device and another phone or tablet as if you were going to use Android Beam.
3. How to setup a Bluetooth Trusted device

The process to setup a Trusted device with a Bluetooth device is almost identical to setting up a NFC Trusted device. At this point you should have your lock screen security enabled. If you do not, the steps to do so are located in the Enable Security slide. The only other thing that needs to be done is to make sure your Bluetooth is turned on. To do this, either pull down your quick settings within the notification bar or by going to the Bluetooth settings under Wireless Network settings.

Next, you must connect your Bluetooth device to your phone or tablet. Unfortunately you are not able to pair a Bluetooth device during the Trusted device setup process. If you already have your lock screen security setup, Android makes it easy to make a new Bluetooth device a Trusted device — more on that in a minute.

To pair a new Bluetooth enabled device to your Lollipop phone or tablet, you have to go to your Bluetooth settings under the Wireless and Networks category within the Settings. Here you will find all your devices that you have already paired with. At the bottom of the screen you will see that your device has automatically started searching for new Bluetooth devices that are nearby for you to pair with. Once you see the desired Bluetooth device show up on your screen, click it and you will be asked if you would like to pair it. If this is the Bluetooth device you were looking for, then of course pair with it.

As soon as you have successfully paired your Lollipop phone or tablet to a new Bluetooth device you will receive a notification. When you view the notification, it asks if you would like to make the newly paired device a Trusted device. Whenever you have a form of lock screen security turned on, you will be asked if you would like to make a Trusted device connection anytime you pair to a new Bluetooth device. While this it kind of a nuisance, you can always tell it no just by swiping away the notification.

Now that you have told the notification that you do in fact want to setup the new Bluetooth device as a Trusted device, you will be prompted to authenticate that you are the owner of the phone or tablet by entering your lock screen security. After successfully entering your password/pattern/PIN you will bypass the Smart Locks menus and will be asked if you want to name your new Trusted device. Once this is done, anytime your phone is paired to that device over Bluetooth, your phone will no longer require you to go through the lock screen security.
4. How to setup a Trusted device with a previously paired device

If you already have paired a Bluetooth device to your phone or tablet or if you accidentally swipe away the Trusted device prompt seen when pairing a Bluetooth device, do not fret. First, make sure that the device is connected to your Lollipop device over Bluetooth — not only do they have to have been previously paired but also must have a current connection. Next, head back into your settings and scroll down to Security. Click into Smart Locks and enter your lock screen password/pattern/PIN. You will now be greeted with the five Smart Lock options. Simply enter into the Trusted devices menu and you will be able to setup your Bluetooth device as a Trusted device.

Here you will find a list of all the different Bluetooth devices or NFC accessories that you have already configured to be Trusted devices — that is if you have set any up before. At the bottom of the list of Trusted devices there is a button labeled + Add trusted device. You will now be taken to a screen that gives you the options of setting up a Bluetooth or NFC device. Select Bluetooth and you will be shown all of the Bluetooth devices that are currently or have ever been paired to your phone or tablet.

Once you find exactly what device you want to set up as a Trusted device, click on its name. Immediately you will be taken back to the Trusted devices menu. Now you should see the device you just selected in the list of all of your trusted Bluetooth devices and NFC accessories.
5. There are situations where these are great and not so great

Trusted devices is one of the easiest ways to know that you are simultaneously securing your Lollipop phone or tablet but also keeping your device unlocked so that you do not need to input your password/pattern/PIN every time you want to get into your device. If you want to quickly turn the Smart Lock off for awhile, you can simply turn off your device's Bluetooth and NFC radios. Doing this will ensure that people will not get into your phone or tablet even if your Trusted devices are nearby.

If you no longer want to use any of your Trusted devices that you have already setup, the removal procedure is the easiest part of the entire process. All you need to do is navigate to the Trusted devices menu in the Smart Locks settings. You will be able to see any Bluetooth or NFC device that you ever have ever setup on your phone or tablet. Simply click on a specific item and it will give you the option to delete it as a Trusted device. Removing a Bluetooth device will not unpair it from your phone or tablet so you do not have to worry about reconnecting it afterwards but if you unpair a Bluetooth device from your phone, it will delete it from your Trusted devices.

That is about it. This might be a lengthy tutorial but it is by far the easiest and most simple Smart Lock to setup and use. Since it was first included in Android, I have had it paired to my Moto 360 so that anytime I was wearing my watch and carrying my phone in my pocket, I knew that it would be unlocked when I pulled it out but also secured if I ever happened to misplace it.
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