How-to: Set a Lock Screen on Android

Smartphones are handy devices that keep you in touch with the world wherever you go. But they also come with their own limitations. Their mobility makes them easily vulnerable to theft or loss and their easy-to-use nature makes them prone to misuse by anyone who happens to get hold of them. While there are ways to track a lost Android phone and prevent data from being misused, its always wiser to set up a security solution that will protect your data at all times. After all, it is quite natural for your close friends, family, or girlfriends/boyfriends to open up your phone and access stuff meant only for your eyes, possibly leading to a lot of unpleasantness, all of which can be avoided by simply locking your phone.

Locking your phone can be done using a number of methods, all of which take just a minute or two. You can draw a pattern, enter a pin, use a password, facial recognition, and a simple slide or swipe action. Let’s take a look at how to lock your Android phone using each of these methods.

Note: These methods will work on Android devices running version 4.2 and up.

How to Lock Your Android Phone Using Face Unlock

  1. Navigate to Settings->Security(or Location & Security)->Screen lock.
  2. In the next screen, select Face Unlock.
  3. In the next screen, tap on Set it up. You will be instructed to hold the phone at eye level and find a spot indoors that’s not too bright or too dim. Tap on Continue.
  4. In the next screen, adjust your device until your face fits into the outline displayed on the screen. When your face is captured by the device it will ask you for a couple of things.
  5. Set a pattern lock or a Pin lock. That’s because should your face not be clear on your phone when you are attempting to unlock it, it will use another option to do so.

Face Unlock is not as secure as one created with a pin, password or pattern because anyone who looks similar to you can easily unlock your device and in some instances, the feature may not even recognize you.

How to Lock Your Android Phone Using a Pattern

  1. Navigate to Settings->Security(or Location & Security)->Screen lock.
  2. In the next screen, select Pattern.
  3. In the next screen, you will see a 3×3 dotted grid. You must slide your finger connecting a minimum of four dots to form a pattern. The screen will show you how to draw a pattern. Observe it, click Next and then draw the desired pattern that you’re sure to remember.
  4. Click Continue. In the next screen, draw the pattern again and click Confirm.
  5. Now Android will take you back to the Security screen where you can apply your pattern lock. If you don’t want your pattern trail to be visible to anyone while you’re using it, you can head over to the Security section and disable the Make pattern visible option. You also have the additional option of setting your phone to vibrate on touching the pattern’s circles.

How to Lock Your Android Phone Using a PIN

  1. Navigate to Settings->Security(or Location & Security)->Screen lock.
  2. In the next screen, select PIN.
  3. Enter a pin number of your choice. You have to use a minimum of 4 numbers that can extend all the way up to 16. Obviously, a longer number will be harder to crack, but it should also be a number that you can remember. It may be tempting to use a pin number you are already using on another device, or on your bank cards, but it is best to avoid re-using them.
  4. After you input your number, tap Continue.  You will be asked to confirm your pin number again. Enter the pin number and click OK.

How to Lock Your Android Phone Using a Password

  1. Navigate to Settings->Security(or Location & Security)->Screen lock.
  2. In the next screen, select Password.
  3. Enter a password using both letters and numbers. Again, you can use 4 characters that can extend all the way up to 16. You should be aware now that using lame words like android, smartphone, password and such should be avoided as should the reuse of already existing passwords.
  4. After you input your password, tap Continue.  You will be asked to confirm your password again. Enter the password and click OK.

Sliding or Swiping

Sliding is a method where you move your finger over an icon to unlock your device. In the case of devices running Android KitKat, the slide action is replaced by swiping across the screen. Either way, this is simply a system to prevent your apps from getting accidentally activated when you place it in your pocket or bag. It offers no meaningful security and should not be relied on solely.

How to Set Up a Lock Phone Time

There is an additional setting that you can apply to your device after you set your lock screen option. Its called Lock Phone After or Timeout. Basically, this option lets you determine when you want your phone to activate the screen lock feature. You can lock the phone immediately after you use it, or from 3 minutes to 15 minutes after use. (The timing will vary based on your device.) To set this option:

  1. Navigate to Settings->Security(or Location & Security)->Screen lock.
  2. Set up a screen lock option using any of the methods detailed above.
  3. Select Lock phone after or Timeout.
  4. Choose the desired lock out time.

Now that you know how to set up a lock screen for Android, go ahead and do it right away. We’re looking forward to hearing your opinion.