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Unlock Your Phone With WiFi

David Gilbert


Unlock Your Phone With WiFi

While going through the process of unlocking your phone is not the most arduous task you will ever face, one developer has created an app which will do it for you automatically, depending on where you are.

xda-developers member, Ben74, has created an app for Android called ‘Unlock with WiFi’ which will automatically unlock your phone when it recognises your home network – or other friendly networks you have saved. This will mean that while you are at home you won’t have to constantly enter your PIN, passcode or pattern to unlock your phone every time you want to use it. Then, when you leave and the WiFi disconnects, it will automatically lock your phone again. However you will need to enter the passcode/PIN/pattern the first time after you connect with the WiFi – a measure intended to protect the contents of the phone if it was stolen.

However this is not all that this little app does. There are also options to automatically turn off WiFi on your phone when you leave home, turn on GPS when you leave home and turn off GPS when you get home. The app also allows you to set a lock delay when you’re not at home. This means that when you turn the screen off, the device won't lock for 5 seconds (default setting). That way, if you remember something you forgot to do you can turn it back on without entering your password.

The app is currently available in a beta version, which will expire on April 15. Ben74 is currently polling people on whether this app should be ad-supported or paid for and seeking feedback from users on the XDA Forum. In the forum, Ben74 says he is considering adding a feature to turn WiFi on when you arrive home, but only if there is enough requests to do so.

Is unlocking your phone such a chore that this app is appealing to you or do you enjoy tracing out those patterns every time?

Source: xda-developers


March 30, 2011, 5:13 pm

Interesting little app. Curious that this news article hasn't just appeared as a review of a finished product but it's great that TR is supporting app developers.

In the interest of 'balance', perhaps it's worth TR adding a line or 2 about the security implications of something like this? I personally sometimes tend to leave my phone on my desk at work and would be a bit perturbed by the idea that it's automatically unlocked itself for all who happen to walk by & peruse it's contents!


March 30, 2011, 5:22 pm

That's a fantastic idea. Need it for iOS!

Personally I think 59p for an app like that is great value.

David Gilbert

March 30, 2011, 5:41 pm

@lhsan Indeed there are security issues in a situation like that but because the app allows you to choose the WiFi networks where the phone stays unlocked, perhaps ones where your phone is accessible to all is not the one you should choose.

Brian Carter

March 30, 2011, 5:56 pm

Simple solution on ad-supported vs. paid. Ship two version:
- 59p advert free
- free advert-supported
ie. let people choose, this is Android :)


March 30, 2011, 6:36 pm

@David Gilbert Like I said a line or 2. Or even just 2 words? - 'Choose wisely'?


March 31, 2011, 12:44 am

I hope it is possible to bring out a similar app for iOS. If not I hope Apple considers incorporating similar features into the OS itself.


March 31, 2011, 1:23 pm

I don't password lock my phone anyway. I used to but a friend lost her phone and someone found it and rung her up and posted it to her, if it was password-locked they couldn't have done that.

Martin Daler

March 31, 2011, 1:44 pm

I wonder if you could be prosecuted under the Data Protection Act if you lost your phone and had taken zero precautions to secure the personal data of other people it contained. After all, if some Whitehall mandarin leaves an unencrypted USB drive with our personal data on the train, we expect a prosecution. So if the person sitting opposite leaves an unlocked phone containing personal data on the same train, what is the difference?


March 31, 2011, 2:08 pm

@Martin Daler - not if it's your personal mobile. Although having someone's phone number on your personal phone technically makes you a "data controller" for the purposes of the Data Protection Act 1998, section 36 provides that "Personal data processed by an individual only for the purposes of that individual’s personal, family or household affairs (including recreational purposes) are exempt from the data protection principles". So no, you can't be prosecuted.

Martin Daler

March 31, 2011, 3:01 pm

@John McLean. Thanks for that info. You know your stuff! How about a company supplied and expensed phone, and I've got all my professional contacts on there, with photos, birthdays and wedding anniversaries - you know, I like to glad hand my way up the professional networks. Let me guess, now it's my company's Data Controller who takes the fall? Or am I in the frame if, in the flagrant breach of clear, unequivocal and manifestly promulgated company policy to the contrary, I can't be bothered to secure my phone before I leave it on the train?

Elliot S

March 31, 2011, 6:45 pm

@SweetFA - Surely if there was a password the person would've still been able to answer your friend's phone, if you ever lose your phone, just ring it!

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