Android provides a plethora of ways to unlock your phone—a PIN, a password, a pattern gesture, or a typical, insecure swipe. But did you know that you can unlock your Android phone with your face? Here’s how to set it up.
Before you turn on face-unlocking, you need to set a secure unlocking method for your phone, if you haven't already. Go to Settings, scroll down, and tap Security, then tap Screen lock. Select from either the Pattern, PIN, or Password unlocking methods, then follow the onscreen instructions to set up your unlocking method of choice.
Once you return to the Security settings screen, tap Smart Lock, then enter your PIN, password, or unlock pattern when prompted, then tap Trusted face. Once you so, you’ll be presented with some information about unlocking your phone with your face. Read this information carefully, and when you’re ready to proceed, go ahead and tap Set up.
At this point, Android will suggest you find a well-lit—but not overly bright—indoors spot: Doing so will help Android pick up your facial features. Once you’ve found such a spot, tap Next.
Your phone will now begin the process of identifying your face. Hold your phone at eye level so that your face is within the ring of dots onscreen: Once you have your phone positioned properly, the dots will begin to turn green. Hold still until all the dots turn green and a checkmark appears onscreen. When it does, tap Next. And you’re pretty much set.
For better results, you may want to show Android how you look under different circumstances—hair up, hair down, clean-shaven, with a beard, with a hat on, whatever. Doing so can help it better recognize you, even if you’ve changed your appearance somewhat.
To do so, navigate back to Settings > Security > Smart Lock > Trusted face and tap Improve face matching. Move to a room with different lighting–or change your appearance in some way—then tap the Next button, and repeat the process of adding a face. You can repeat this process as many times as you want.
Note that using your face to unlock your phone is potentially less secure than a regular password, because anyone who closely resembles you—like your celebrity doppelgänger–may be able to unlock your phone. Still, you may find it to be convenient—or at the very least, a neat trick to show off to your iPhone-using friends.