Google’s new Watch Unlock feature is silently supported by One UI Watch 5 now

In order to make things easier, Google started developing a new Watch Unlock function earlier this year. It’s always annoying to have to unlock your phone while your hands are full. According to early demos, when your unlocked Google Pixel Watch is brought close, your phone would instantly open. We stated in August that Samsung Galaxy Watches might also get the security setting. Samsung has already incorporated code into its most recent watch OS update, hinting that the feature may also operate on your Galaxy Watch and phone even though it hasn’t yet arrived on Google’s own Pixel Watch.

The most recent One UI Watch 5 build, which has already started to be made available to owners of the Galaxy Watch 4 and 5, declares “active_unlock” in its code, which is the API term for the Watch Unlock feature (via SamMobile). Mishaal Rahman learned this from Android Police reader Armando R.

Google showed off Watch Unlock in January at CES 2023, which came as a pleasant surprise. If the setting is enabled, all you would need to do to unlock your phone is to hold it while wearing your Pixel Watch. Since your smartphone and watch need to be close to one another and the watch itself needs to be within a certain distance, it wouldn’t unlock if someone else possessed your phone.

The old Android Smart Lock feature, which stopped your phone from unlocking when connected to a reliable Bluetooth device or in other low-risk circumstances, has been replaced by the new functionality. Instead, Watch Unlock will actively unlock your phone when your watch is brought close and unlocked, leaving it locked by default. Extend Unlock, formerly known as Smart Lock, is being rebranded as Watch Unlock in order to avoid misunderstanding. Twitter user @AssembleDebug demonstrated what it will appear like after Watch Unlock is enabled.

Up until last month, there was very little talk about Watch Unlock being compatible with devices other than the Google Pixel Watch and Wear OS. Despite not being a formal confirmation, this most recent development raises the possibility that Samsung will also add the capability to its smartphones and smartwatches. The more Android devices that use it, the better; fortunately, this won’t compromise security.