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How to Manage Android Tablet Security

Android tablets don’t seem to have a very secure lock. That screen swipe thing is fancy, and it keeps the cat from unlocking the tablet, but it won’t keep out the Bad Guys. A better form of protection is to employ a lock screen better than the standard sliding lock.

Android screen lock options

The keys to your Android tablet’s screen locks are found within the Settings app. Here’s how to get there:

  1. At the Home screen, touch the Apps icon.

  2. Open the Settings app.

  3. Choose Security.

    On some tablets, the item is titled Location and Security. You might also find the screen locks under the Lock Screen category.

  4. Choose Screen Lock.

    This item might be titled Configure Lock Screen on some tablets.

  5. If a screen lock is already set, you must trace the pattern or type the PIN or password to continue.

The screen lists the variety of screen locks available. Among them you may find:

None: The screen doesn’t lock. Choosing this option disables all locks.
Slide or Swipe: The Android tablet simply uses the standard locking screen. Slide the Unlock button or swipe the screen to unlock the tablet.
Face Unlock: Use the device’s front camera to have your adorable face unlock the tablet. This option may not be available on all Android tablets.
Pattern: To unlock the tablet, you must trace a pattern on the touchscreen.
PIN: The Android tablet is unlocked by typing a personal identification number (PIN).
Password: You must type a password to unlock your tablet.

How to unlock the Android tablet with your face

The Face Unlock option allows you to get access to your Android tablet simply by looking at it. Follow these steps to enable face unlock:

  1. Get to the Choose Lock screen.

  2. Choose Face Unlock.

    In the directions on the screen that you probably didn’t read, it says that face unlock is less secure than other forms of locking the tablet. But it’s fun, so what the heck?

  3. Touch the Set It Up button.

    Read over these next four steps before you try them.

  4. Hold up the tablet so that it’s facing you at eye-level — as if you were using the Android tablet as a very expensive mirror.

  5. Touch the Continue button.

  6. Line up your face with the oval dots on the screen, and then hold the tablet steady as the dots change color from white to green.

  7. Upon success, touch the Continue button.

    Because the face unlock method isn’t very reliable, you need to specify a backup method:

  8. Choose Pattern or PIN to set a backup lock for those numerous times face unlock fails.

  9. After confirming the pattern or PIN lock, touch the OK button.

    The face unlock is now ready for action.

Most of the time, face unlock works fine. When it doesn’t, you need to use the backup pattern or PIN lock. You’ll also need to use the pattern or PIN whenever you need to change the lock.

How to create an unlock pattern for your Android tablet

One of the most common ways to lock an Android tablet is to apply an unlock pattern. The pattern must be traced exactly as it was created to unlock the device and get access to your apps and other features. To create an unlock pattern, follow along:

  1. Summon the Choose Lock screen.

  2. Choose Pattern.

    If you’ve not yet set a pattern lock, you may see a tutorial describing the process; touch the Next button to skip over 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.

    You need to prove to the doubtful tablet that you know the pattern.

  6. Touch the Confirm button.

    And the pattern lock is set.

On some tablets, you may be prompted to type a PIN as a backup lock. Do so: Type a four-digit (or more) combination to use in case you forget the pattern. When you’re done, confirm the PIN, and then touch the OK button.

Ensure that a check mark appears by the option Make Pattern Visible on the Screen or Screen Security window. The check mark ensures that the pattern shows up. For even more security, you can disable the option, but you have to be sure to remember how — and where — the pattern goes.

  • To remove the pattern lock, set either None or Slide as the type of lock.

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

How to set a PIN on your Android tablet

A PIN lock is a code between 4 and 16 numbers long. It contains only numbers, 0 through 9.

Use the onscreen keypad to type your PIN once, and touch the Continue button. Type the PIN again to confirm that you know it. Touch OK.

The next time you turn on or unlock the Android tablet, you’ll need to type that PIN to get access.

To disable the PIN, reset the Android tablet security level.

How to assign a password on your Android tablet

The most secure way to lock an Android tablet is to apply a full-on password. Unlike a PIN, a password can contain numbers, symbols, and both upper- and lowercase letters.

Set a password by choosing Password from the Choose Lock screen. The password you select must be at least four characters long. Longer passwords are more secure.

You’re prompted to type the password whenever you unlock your Android tablet or whenever you try to change the screen lock. Touch the OK button to accept the password you’ve typed.

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