Trusted Voice lets Android users unlock their smartphones with their dulcet tones

trusted voice android phone unlock guide header image
If you’ve ever dreamed of unlocking your phone by speech, you may soon get your wish. Google’s Trusted Voice, a new unlocking method for Android devices, is reportedly rolling out to a handful of users with smartphones running Lollipop. It appears as a new entry in the Smart Lock settings, the umbrella menu for contextually-aware security features.

Trusted Voice lets users unlock their smartphone by uttering the phrase “OK Google.” It relies on your unique voiceprint to prevent others from doing the same — no matter how many times your friend yells the aforementioned magic words, it’ll never unlock.

At least in theory. A disclaimer accompanying Trusted Voice warns that the feature is “less secure” than the traditional pattern, PIN, or password alternatives. Specifically, it says someone with “a similar voice” or “a recording of your voice” could unlock your smartphone.

That should go without saying, but the disclosure was probably prompted by precedent. Face Unlock, a key feature of the 2011 Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, let users unlock their phones with facial recognition, but could be easily foiled with pictures of the device owner’s face. Google later added a “liveness check” which requires blinking.

Then again, Trusted Voice may soon be old hat. ZTE’s Grand S3 sports a retinal scanner that’s faster than pattern-based unlocking. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Sense ID platform can identify skin sweat pores, check blood flow, and see inside the ridges of your finger. And Elliptic Labs is developing an ultrasound-based gesture sensing that could be used to implement swipe-based security. How’s that for futuristic?

Google itself isn’t putting all of its eggs in one basket. Trusted Devices, another Smart Lock feature, prompts for a PIN only when your smartphone isn’t paired to a particular Bluetooth accessory, and Trusted Places keeps your handset unfettered at your designated work and home location. On-body detection, a relatively recent addition, uses data from your smartphone’s sensors to keep it unlocked only when it’s in your pocket.

Sadly for those jumping at the bit to try Trusted Voice, there isn’t a way around Google’s Byzantine rollout system — the switch appears to be on the server side. Until then, Face Unlock will have to do.

Mobile

An unknown number of Sprint customers had their personal info stolen by hackers

Hackers stole an unknown number of Sprint users' data after breaching the Samsung.com “add a line” website, according to a letter Sprint sent to impacted customers. Names, addresses and other personal information was all taken in the…
Smart Home

From the kitchen to the bedroom, here are the best Alexa tips and tricks

Amazon's voice assistant Alexa has plenty of neat skills. So many, in fact, it seems like new ones appear every day. We've rounded up the top Echo tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your virtual assistant.
Smart Home

The top digital frames and displays for showing off your photos

Check out the best digital photo frames for displaying your digital photos around the house. The best frames offer smart compatibility, voice controls, facial recognition, and multiple upload options.
Deals

Walmart sale has the lowest prices on Google Home smart speakers after Prime Day

Looking for a voice-assistant smart device? Walmart dropped prices on Google Home smart speakers to stay competitive with Amazon's Prime Day smart home sales. Find deals on Google Nest Hub, Home, and Mini.
Mobile

The best mobile collage apps, for when a single image or video just won't cut it

Today's collage apps combine images and videos into a crafted presentation complete with fonts, stickers, memes, and other elements that tells a story, instead of relying on a single iconic representation of a place or event.
Photography

From DIY to AAA, here's how to take a passport photo in 6 different ways

If you're applying for a passport or renewing one, you need to submit a photo in your official application. There are strict guidelines, but fortunately, it's something you can do at home. Here's how to take a passport photo.
Mobile

Android will soon monitor battery of wireless earbuds, find them if they get lost

Google will soon roll out new features that will improve Android support for true wireless earbuds. The planned features include the ability to monitor the charge of the wireless earbuds and Find My Device compatibility.
Mobile

Here’s every Alexa Built-in phone that can access Amazon’s assistant on the move

If you've got your Amazon Echo, Echo Show, and Fire TV set up, you might want a phone that's just as tied into your Amazon-based A.I. network. Here's every Alexa Built-in smartphone you can buy from Amazon right now.
Mobile

Text up a storm with the best messaging apps for iOS and Android

These days, most people tend to favor digital messages over phone calls. We have the best messaging apps that allow you to share photos and documents, send text messages, and more with end-to-end encryption.
Mobile

Seeking photo storage and backup in the cloud? Google Photos gets the picture

Google Photos offers free, unlimited photo storage in the cloud, making photos instantly accessible and sharable. Google also uses artificial intelligence image analysis to organize photos and videos, making them easy to search and edit.
Mobile

Android vs. iOS: Which smartphone platform is the best?

If you’re trying to choose a new phone and you’re not sure about the merits and pitfalls of the leading smartphone operating systems, then come on in for a detailed breakdown as we pit Android vs. iOS in various categories.
Mobile

Tinder tries to break up with the Google Play Store with new payment process

Tinder launched a new payment process that allows the dating app to bypass Google Play Store fees. Unlike others that have worked around app store fees, Tinder remains listed while in open defiance of the Google Play Store requirements.
Product Review

The new Asus gaming phone certainly isn't a beauty, but it performs like a beast

Asus is on a roll in 2019, having started out with the Zenfone 6 -- a welcome surprise and a great phone -- and now with the ROG Phone 2. This gaming phone has plenty of ability to ensure even casual gamers will want to take a look.
Mobile

The fast ROG Phone 2 is Asus' new giant-sized mobile gaming monster

Asus has announced a sequel to the ROG Phone (that stands for Republic of Gamers, for those new to the company's gaming brand) called the ROG Phone 2, and it's a massively powerful, giant-sized mobile gaming monster.