Security

How to use the Android Pie lockdown mode

Jack Wallen walks you activating and enabling Android Pie's new lockdown mode and shows why you should use it.

Android Pie has brought to light some very impressive features, everything from gesture-based navigation, better battery life, and improved security. I want to examine the last entry today. An addition to Android that bolsters the platform's security is lockdown mode.

What is lockdown mode? Simple. Lockdown mode aims to protect those who want to keep their private data from the prying eyes of thieves and others. How lockdown works is by blocking fingerprint sensors, facial-recognition, and voice recognition. Once lockdown activates, the only way to enter your device is via PIN code, password, or pattern. Considering fingerprint sensors, facial recognition, and voice recognition are more easily bypassed than PIN, password, or pattern, this could be considered a must-use for those who consider security a top priority.

How do you enable lockdown mode? That's actually quite simple, too. However, you must know one thing: Once you've enable lockdown mode, it only works once. So if you enable it, and then login to your phone via PIN, password, or pattern, you have to re-enable it (as entering the code automatically disables lockdown mode).

With that said, let's activate lockdown mode, enable it, and use it.

SEE: Password Management Policy (Tech Pro Research)

Activating lockdown mode

The first thing you must do is activate lockdown mode. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Go to Security & location
  3. Go to Lock screen preferences
  4. Tap to enable Show lockdown option (Figure A)

Figure A

Figure A

Activating lockdown mode on an Essential PH-1.

Enabling lockdown mode

Now that lockdown has been activated, you have to enable it. To do this, hold down the power button on your device. You should now see a new option for Lockdown (Figure B) in the power pop-up. Tap that option and lockdown is enabled.

Figure B

Figure B

Enabling lockdown.

Using lockdown mode

Once lockdown has enabled, the fingerprint scanner, facial recognition, and voice recognition will not work as a means to unlock the device. The only way to gain entry is by using the configured PIN, password, or pattern. And that's all there is to using it. Once enabled, you enter your PIN, password, or pattern, and you're back in your device.

Re-enabling

Remember, once you've used lockdown mode, Android disables it (although it does remain activated). To re-enable lockdown, hold down the device power button and tap Lockdown. If you don't enable it, the device fingerprint sensor, facial recognition, and voice recognition will continue to work.

Why you might need this

Okay, so lockdown won't work if your device is stolen, and you haven't enabled the feature. In other words, you need to be mindful of any situation you might find yourself in where theft or loss could be a problem. Say, for instance, you're at a convention (or any other situation with large crowds). You might consider enabling lockdown every time you are done using your device. Get into the habit (when you are in such situations), and you can rest assured your data will be slightly more secure, should prying eyes get ahold of your phone. It's not perfect, but every little bit helps when it comes to security. The old adage "Better safe than sorry" certainly applies.

Also see

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Image: Google

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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