Google has every reason to make its plethora of devices work seamlessly within the Android ecosystem, and earlier this year, the company demonstrated a few ways it could achieve that, including a new method for unlocking your phone using your smartwatch. This capability, dubbed Watch Unlock, will allow the Pixel Watch to keep your handset seamlessly unlocked as long as certain requirements are met. It appears this capability won’t be limited only to Google’s smartwatches, and will apparently make its way to Samsung’s Galaxy Watches in the future.
Mishaal Rahman found evidence that Watch Unlock may also make its way to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 and Watch 6 Classic, with the Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 5 lineups potentially following suit at a later date.
His discovery arises from a listing for the Pixel Watch 2 on the Google Play Console’s device catalog, which was spotted by 9to5Google.
As shown in the screenshot above, the listing contains a string that easily gives away the feature. Rahman used the same hint as a filter in the Play Console and found that the Galaxy Watch 6 series declares the Active Unlock feature as well.
On the other hand, the same cannot be said for the Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 5 series at the moment. That said, Active Unlock will presumably land on those older models when they’re upgraded to One UI Watch 5 (Android 13) in the near future.
As demoed by AssembleDebug on Twitter, the feature does not do anything yet, but when it becomes active, it will make it a lot easier to unlock your phone on occasions when your finger is wet, which may make it hard for your phone’s fingerprint sensor to read it.
Active Unlock is designed to work when biometric scanners fail after you swipe up from the lock screen or tap a notification (these actions should trigger the phone to automatically scan for a face or read a fingerprint). It will then check for a nearby Wear OS watch that’s on your wrist, unlocked, and connected to your phone in order to unlock your handset.
However, as noted in the setup screen for Watch Unlock, this method might be less secure and, in some cases, may unlock your phone even if you’re not wearing your smartwatch. It’s not clear at the moment whether other Wear OS watches will get this feature, too, but it may certainly ruffle some feathers in the security community once this becomes widely available.