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Google's On-Body Detection will keep your Android unlocked in your pocket

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Android 5.0

Google is rolling out a new feature called On-Body Detection, which will keep your Android phone unlocked while in your pocket.

On-Body Detection is a new smart lock feature that detects when an Android phone is on a user's person or in their hand, and prevents the lock function from activating until it's set down.

Once you do put the phone down - arguably when it's at its most vulnerable to theft or unwanted handling - the lock mechanism will engage as normal.

The main trouble with the feature is that it seems unable to detect when a phone has been passed off to another person - it's a simple, dumb accelerometer-based tool.

This obviously means that if you have your phone pinched from your bag or pocket (or in a more aggressive manner), it will be completely at the mercy of the thief.

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The feature was discovered recently by readers of Android fan website Android Police. Interestingly, the user in question was running a Nexus 4 with Android 5.0.1 Lollipop - so not the very latest version of Google's mobile OS or its latest hardware.

However, the On-Body Detection option is now being spotted on a number of devices, including most Nexus handsets. It appears as if Google is slowly and quietly rolling it out, and that it might not be a part of the core Android OS.

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