The 9to5Google teams were able to test the “Watch Unlock”, a function that unlocks your smartphone with your Pixel Watch. The principle is interesting, but constraints could make it impractical.
When it comes to unlocking your Android smartphone, you’re spoiled for choice. PIN, Pattern, Face Unlock, Smart Lock… As if that wasn’t enough, Google will add another method. We had a glimpse of it last month: unlocking the mobile using your connected watch. In this case, a Pixel Watch only. The option is intriguing on paper, since it is sold by Google as useful “when your fingers are wet or when your face is not recognized”.
Our colleagues from 9to5Google were able to test what is called in English the “Watch Unlock”. There are conditions for this to work, the watch must be “unlocked, on your wrist, and within range of the phone”. So far, it makes sense. In fact, the distance is approximately 10 cm. You will almost have to grab the mobile, which can be annoying. if the watch is not on the wrist of the hand holding the device. When unlocking is possible, you feel a small vibration.
Unlocking the mobile with a Pixel Watch presents some constraints
From there you need to slide the smartphone screen upwards or tap a notification that appears. We lose a little interest in being able to access the phone with wet fingers, even if a “swipe” or a press remains possible in this case. Face Unlock, once the option to skip the lock screen is activated, does not need any additional interaction.
Google also warns that the function has a negative impact on the watch battery. When we know that some people have difficulty making it through a whole day, it is not certain that we want to activate an option that will drain even more energy.
The “Watch Unlock” will surely arrive with the Pixel 8, the Pixel Watch 2 and Android 14. Initially, it is very likely that only Google devices are compatible. It could be extended to other brands and models through Wear OS 4, new version of Google’s operating system for connected objects. No deployment date has been announced at this time.