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Android is implementing a feature that will enable phones to detect if they have been stolen or unlawfully taken.

What you need to know more about

  • Com/lock, users can input their phone number and respond to a security challenge to remotely lock their device—a potentially valuable resource in scenarios where access to only a friend’s phone is available.
  • Android’s play protect also gets an update designed to protect users from bad actors — it will look at how apps use sensitive permissions on your phone to keep an eye out for signs of phishing and fraud.

Google is unveiling a series of new security enhancements alongside the release of its second Android 15 beta. Among these updates is a feature designed to detect when your phone is snatched from your hands. While some of these features will be integrated into Android 15 upon its release this autumn, others, including theft detection, will be made available to devices running older OS versions, extending their reach to a broader user base.

The Theft Detection Lock feature operates by recognizing abnormal movements that suggest someone has forcefully taken your phone, whether from your grasp or a nearby surface. In response, the screen automatically locks to safeguard your device’s data. Additionally, the system monitors for other suspicious activities and can initiate screen lock protection if someone attempts to disconnect the device from the network to prevent remote access.

In another security measure, Google is introducing a new method to remotely lock your phone screen if it falls into the wrong hands. By visiting android.com/lock, users can input their phone number and respond to a security challenge to remotely lock their device—a potentially valuable resource in scenarios where access to only a friend’s phone is available. These features are set to roll out later this year through a Google Play services update, extending compatibility to devices running Android 10 or later versions.

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Android 15 also introduces new security features, including “private spaces,” which let you put apps and information in a separate hidden area on your phone that can be locked with a unique PIN. Google is also adding protections for when a phone is forced to reset, requiring the owner’s credentials the next time it’s set up.

Android’s play protect also gets an update designed to protect users from bad actors — it will look at how apps use sensitive permissions on your phone to keep an eye out for signs of phishing and fraud. Potentially malicious apps are sent to Google for further review.

Similar to last year, Google’s latest OS version had a diminished presence in the company’s day one I/O keynote. While we anticipate learning more about Android 15’s new features throughout its beta phase over the coming months, it’s encouraging to witness a plethora of new features being introduced to numerous Android phones, extending beyond just those capable of running the latest OS version.

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