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Android Phone Locks

Your Android phone comes with a lock, the simple touchscreen gizmo you slide to unlock the phone and gain access to its information and features. For most folks, this lock is secure enough. For others, the lock is about as effective as using a kitten to frighten an intruder.

Finding the Android screen locks

All screen locks on the phone can be found in the same location: on the Choose Screen Lock screen. Heed these steps to visit that screen:

  1. At the Home screen, press the Menu soft button.

  2. Choose Settings.

  3. Choose Location & Security.

  4. If no additional lock is set, choose Set Up Screen Lock; otherwise, choose Change Screen Lock.

If the screen lock is already set, you have to work the lock to proceed: Trace the pattern, or type the PIN or password. You then get access to the Screen Unlock Security screen, which shows four items: None, Pattern, PIN, and Password.

To disable the pattern, PIN, or password screen lock on your phone, choose the None option from the Screen Unlock Security screen. When None is chosen, the phone uses the standard slide lock.

    Creating an unlock pattern for an Android phone

The unlock pattern is perhaps the most popular, and certainly the most unconventional, way to lock an Android phone’s screen. The pattern must be traced on the touchscreen to unlock the phone.

To set the unlock pattern, follow these steps:

  1. Summon the Screen Unlock Security screen.

  2. Choose Pattern.

    If you haven’t yet set a pattern, you may see the tutorial describing the process; touch the Next button to skip merrily through the dreary directions.

  3. Trace an unlock pattern.

    You can trace over the dots in any order, but you can trace over a dot only once. The pattern must cover at least four dots.

  4. Touch the Continue button.

  5. Redraw the pattern again, just to confirm that you know it.

  6. Touch the Confirm button, and the pattern lock is set.

Ensure that a check mark appears by the option Use Visible Pattern, found on the Location & Security Settings screen. That way, the pattern shows up when you need to unlock the phone. For even more security, you can disable this option, but you must remember how and where the pattern goes.

  • To remove the pattern lock, set None as the lock type.

  • The pattern lock can start at any dot, not necessarily at the upper-right dot.

  • The unlock pattern can be as simple or as complex as you like.

  • Wash your hands! Smudge marks on the display can betray your pattern.

    Setting a PIN or password for an Android

The PIN lock is a code between 4 and 16 numbers long. It contains only numbers, 0 through 9. Type your PIN twice to confirm to the doubting computer that you know it. The next time you need to unlock your phone, type the PIN on the keyboard and touch the Enter button to proceed.

Perhaps the most secure way to lock the phone’s screen is to apply a full-on password. Unlike a PIN, a password contains a combination of numbers, symbols, and uppercase and lowercase letters.

Set the password by choosing Password from the Choose Screen Lock screen. The password you create must be at least four characters long. Longer passwords are more secure but easier to mistype.

You type the password twice to set things up, which confirms to the phone that you know the password and will, you hope, remember it in the future.

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