Android Lollipop Trusted Device + NFC Ring = perfect

  • So I've just flashed the factory image for lollipop on my Nexus 5 and was initially disappointed that the trusted device functionality didn't seem to be working.

    I'd added both sides of my ring and also a credit-card sized tag as trusted NFC tags, hoping they'd bypass the lockscreen. But on turning on, swiping up to reveal the lockscreen, and then tapping a tag I was getting nothing, nada, zilch. I didn't even get the familiar 'bad read' sound. Cue sad face.

    A bit of research however revealed how it is supposed to work, and will hopefully save someone that disappointment time. The tag must be touching when you turn the phone on, and when you then swipe up the lockscreen will be non-existent. Happy days.

    It may just be me, but it seems to read better too. My ring is on my index finger and it is easy to hold the phone naturally with the ring over my sweet spot, so as soon as I turn the phone on it is just unlocked ... no more waving, sweeping, tapping or trying to activate across a small sweet spot.

  • Community Helper

    Good stuff, @shama! I'm looking forward to trying it out myself.

    edited out the lunacy.

  • Ok after a bit more time with it I've noticed a small lock icon on the initial power-on screen. So you don't need to have a tag touching when you turn on, but that lock icon should show' unlocked when you swipe up if you want the lockscreen to be bypassed.

    I've had a few times now where I've not had the ring in perfect position and had to unlock after swiping up, but I've also noticed that icon change once while holding phone.

  • NFC Ring Team

    @shama could you please record a video of the functionality as I feel that will explain it better? :)

  • Community Helper

    edited: I was mistaken

  • NFC Ring Team

    heh wtf? So it's per device? This could be horrible for us as a community to maintain ;\

  • Community Helper

    Yep. Don't pack up the Unlock App just yet, dude.

  • Community Helper

    @johnyma22 said:

    So it's per device

    seems Google still didn't learn ....

  • @Lafunamor said:

    @johnyma22 said:

    So it's per device

    seems Google still didn't learn ....

    My guess would be its got nothing to do with google in this case but Sony. Every vendor can change the Android code to suit their needs. Google do apply some limits and obviously this wasn't one of them.

  • NFC Ring Team

    I thought NFC Unlock was introduced in Android L = V5? I didn't know it was there in 4.4?

  • Community Helper

    Haha! I'm an idiot. Ok, so it goes like this - Someone refers to "latest sony update" near me as being Lollipop.
    This then means that I now associate feckin 4.4.4 with that version name.

    Queue massive irritation and confusion due to discrepancies between the two.

    This all just goes to show that when you tell me something for the first time, you'd better get it right. Otherwise I'm stuck.
    (Mission accomplished, blame shifted elsewhere.)

    Rock on, dudes.

  • Alright then @johnyma22 , you asked for it ...

  • NFC Ring Team

    That functionality is quite nice but I'd love to see the swipe requirement be optional! It's a huge step forward for us though.

    From having no NFC Unlock in mid 2013 to having it in core by late 2014 is still pretty good progress and something we can all be proud of!

    Cheers for the vidya @shama :)

  • @johnyma22 Yeah I've been struggling with what to call that first screen when talking with friends about it ... it's not really an unlock screen because that's what comes after you swipe up.

    I guess it's more of a notification screen because (unseen here because I'm tidy with my notifications!) that screen will have your notifications displaying when you turn the phone on.

  • I want to try this out on my Nexus 4 (although I'm slightly paranoid and I'd still like to try it out and see if I can keep the 2FA - just more integrated as part of core Android), but I seem to have an issue.

    To enable NFC rings as trusted devices, you have to have "smart unlock". That's supposed to be in the Security settings, but I can't find it. I've just upgraded to Lollipop today, I've also installed a Play Framework update, and I've even rebooted my phone an extra time just to make sure, but my settings just go:

    Power button instantly locks
    Owner info

    Encrypt phone

    From the screenshots I've seen, I should have a "Smart Unlock" item in the middle of there. Did you have the Smart Unlock option from the start? Am I missing something?


  • @IBBoard_ Yeah that's where the option is - right below 'owner info'. Have you enabled a screen-lock option though? I don't think you'll have smart lock if you haven't set up a locking mechanism.

  • @IBBoard_
    shama is right, mine is shaded out until I set up a Pin..than it becomes active...but I've never used it.
    I'm also not sure if it comes with the OTA update or not, I flashed the factory image.

  • Ugh, I expected to get email notifications and didn't!

    I got the OTA update on my Nexus 4, and I've got a pin lock in addition to the NFC ring (I'm in this for the security ;) ), but I don't even have a shaded "Smart Unlock" entry in the Settings.

    I've just tried swapping to Password and back to PIN (in case it hadn't realised it is in the appropriate mode) but it hasn't changed anything. The phone has been encrypted for months as well, so I can't disable everything.

    Anyone got any other ideas?


  • For me, the process was:

    • set a pin
    • go to trust agents
    • enable smart lock
    • disable NFC Unlock (as this locked out the Smart Lock options on my phone)
    • add my ring as a trusted NFC device

    Something like that, at least. My ring is pretty finicky at unlocking the phone in this way - I have to make sure the ring is scanned before I swipe, but it either doesn't play the NFC read sound, or only reads 1 out of 10 times successfully. In any case, if the ring is read when I swipe, it bypasses the number lock.

  • Tried the trusted device on the Samsung S6. For this particular phone, it unlocks immediately after detecting the NFC ring (without swiping).