Working the Screen Lock on Your Android Tablet

By Dan Gookin

The swipe lock isn’t a difficult lock to pick on the Android tablet. In fact, it’s known as the No Security screen lock on some tablets. If you’ve added more security, you might see any one of several different screen locks on your tablet. Here are the common Android screen locks:

  • Swipe: It’s the standard screen lock. Swipe your finger on the screen to unlock the device. If a more secure lock is set, you’ll need to work it next.

    The lock screen, featuring the swipe lock.

    The lock screen, featuring the swipe lock.
  • Pattern: Trace a preset pattern over the nine dots on the screen.

  • PIN: Type a number to unlock the device.

  • Password: Type a password, which can include letters, numbers, and symbols.

Some tablets provide additional, fancy screen locks. Among the variety are the following:

  • Face Unlock: Look at the tablet. In a few moments, your visage is recognized and the tablet unlocks.

  • Fingerprint: Rub your finger or thumb over the sensor, such as the Home button on a Samsung Galaxy Tab S, to unlock the device.

  • Signature: The Samsung Galaxy Note line of tablets lets you sign your name on the screen by using the S Pen. If the signature matches, the tablet unlocks.

Finally, some tablets provide the None option for the screen lock. When this option is selected, the device lacks a screen lock and you can use the tablet immediately.

The PIN and password locks are considered the most secure. To use certain tablet features, you must choose either the PIN or password screen lock. Other locks offer moderate security, and may require a PIN or password as a backup. The swipe and None locks are the least secure.