Fancy smartphone lockscreens vs. security

miui_lockscreen

Smartphones have lock-screens that usually require some swiping gesture to unlock. This is so the capacitative screen doesn’t accidentally unlock in your pocket. These lockscreens come in all shapes and sizes; some reqiure swiping left to right, others upwards. A trend started by, I think, Windows Mobile, allows you to swipe-unlock directly into an app. For example, you receive a text message, turn on your phone, see there’s a new message and swipe towards the messaging app to read it. See also screenshot above from the MIUI Android distribution. That’s smart, right?

But what about security? Your smartphone holds your entire digital life. Should your phone be snatched in a bar, the hardware itself might not be the only thing you get stolen — your Google account perhaps being a more severe loss than the $500 phone. Which is why you should have some sort of security code as your lock screen, no matter if that’s a number code or a security pattern.

The short of it is, everyone should go through this hassle to unlock their phones, at which point the fanciness of swiping directly into an app is lost. Would the time spent working on hi-tech lockscreens be better spent improving the homescreen? I’d say so.

9 thoughts on “Fancy smartphone lockscreens vs. security”

  1. You could do both…swipe to app, then put in your pin.

    1. Joen says:

      James John Malcolm,

      That’s my point, entering your pin is an unlock gesture itself. Adding a swipe action on top of that is just extra cruft. Wouldn’t it be easier if you unlock using your pin, and whatever is new is right there and/or easier to launch from the homescreen than from the lockscreen?

      Let me put it in other words: it feels like throwing in the towel, having it be easier/faster to launch something from the lockscreen than from the homescreen.

      1. James John Malcolm,
        Wouldn’t it be easier if you unlock using your pin, and whatever is new is right there and/or easier to launch from the homescreen than from the lockscreen?

        At the moment I have to swipe, input pin, wait for whatever I had running to load, press the home button, swipe to wherever the app was that got the notification and then wait for that to load.

        Swipe, pin, load is still a lot quicker by comparison.

        1. Joen says:

          Swipe, pin, load is still a lot quicker by comparison.

          Oh of course, no doubt. What I’m saying is, there’s got to be an easier way to get you to your messages without adding even more features.

  2. Donncha says:

    One of the reasons I switched to a swype code on my android phone was security but also the fact that swyping a lock screen away required some precise thumb work.

    Now I find it easier to enter a code and my phone is more secure!

    1. Joen says:

      Donncha,

      So you’re using the number pin now? What made you switch from using a swiping pattern? The fingersmudge?

  3. Donncha says:

    No, I use a swype pattern still.

    When I use a simple lock screen and swyped sideways or up/down the lock screen wouldn’t unlock half the time. It would move almost all th he way then bounce back to the locked position.

    The swype pattern is more responsive than the lick screen! 🙂

    1. Joen says:

      Donncha,

      Ah, I see (and I agree).

  4. Pin would be optional…I just like it for security.

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