The company confirmed last year that Wear OS watches would unlock Android phones. We now have a better understanding of how the feature works, even though it isn’t widely available yet. To enable Watch Unlock, 9to5Google confirmed that your wearable must be unlocked, on your wrist, and within reach of this phone.
More specifically, they found their Pixel Watch needed to be within 4 inches or 10 centimeters of their Pixel 7 Pro phone. The phone will also prompt you to move the watch closer if it’s still out of range. Then simply tap a notification or swipe up the lock screen to access your phone.
Watch Unlock surprisingly unlocked the phone faster than Face Unlock in most tests. This makes sense since face unlock relies on the phone’s camera versus integrated unlock tech.
Google warns Watch Unlock may be less secure than fingerprints or passcodes. It also notes the feature could drain battery life more on the watch. However, it could replace “Extend Lock” which keeps phones unlocked when nearby Bluetooth devices present security risks.
No launch date yet for Watch Unlock but it could arrive with the rumored Pixel Watch 2 on October 4th. Stay tuned for this convenient way to unlock Android phones using your Wear OS watch wrist!