How to Unlock Your Android Phone From Your Pebble

5/20/2014 Stephen Colbert 1 Comments


I hate using a lock code of any kind on my Android phones.  I routinely view notifications from the lock screen, or go directly into Google Now, but those features aren't accessible when a lock code or pattern lock is enabled.

This is obviously not a smart way to manage my device, especially when I'm going to be so cynical about Smartphone theft, but locking my phone also locks me out of quick access to any features on my phone.  It's a huge hassle if all I want to do is find out who the Google Voice notification belongs to.

Motorola got it right with the Moto X's trusted device feature.  Unfortunately, that feature is unique to Motorola and not yet implemented on any other device.  There are several applications in the Google Play Store that mimic the feature, but it's not always as smooth of an experience.  I've ended up using two different solutions.  One of which has more features and doesn't work as well, the other has fewer features, but works almost perfectly (go figure).

The first solution I tried, Delayed Lock is a reasonable and very customization solution.  It's available from the Play Store as a 7 day trial, with the full license cost at $2.99.  What I liked about Delayed Lock was the variety of ways it allowed me to set my device lock conditions.  Among the customizations were options to set the lock status based on Bluetooth device connection, SSID connection, geolocation, charging status, time since last unlock, or time since disconnection from network or device.  Delayed lock also supported lock via SMS and included Tasker integration.


I only used the Bluetooth device connection feature since the other options were a little too sweeping for my security preferences (other than Tasker, but I haven't had the best experience with Tasker in the past).  It seemed to only work 70% of the time, though.  I was still being inconvenienced by the lock screen, so I got rid of Delayed Lock and searched for another solution.

I found Pebble Locker and the Pebble companion app for free in the Pebble app Store and in Google Play.  Pebble locker works with Bluetooth devices (not just Pebbles) and Wi-Fi connection.  I'm still only using the Bluetooth device connection for this app, but it works phenomenally.  The only time I have issues is if my One M8 battery saver turns on, in which case it's a coin flip if it properly connects, but my battery lasts for my entire 15 hour day, so I fortunately don't rely on the battery saver.


The Pebble companion app is also great.  It allows me to set my device lock status from my watch, so if there is a time I want my device locked, but it is still connected to my Pebble, then I can just lock it from my wrist.

After several weeks of use, Pebble Locker has proven to be a very reliable solution and I have only hit my lock screen once or twice before discovering my Pebble battery has died.  I even prefer this to a baked in solution, such as Motorola's due to the integrated Pebble support, which is obviously not available from Motorola's Trusted Device.


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