Android 13 will give users access to some device controls even on locked phones
In Android 11, Google introduced a new feature to help users quickly control their smart home devices. The feature added a Device Controls Quick Settings tile and a lock screen shortcut, letting users control their smart home devices without opening an app. But to use the Quick Settings tile or lock screen shortcut, users first had to unlock their devices. This added an unnecessary step to the process, making the implementation less than ideal for users who always keep their devices locked. Thankfully, Google is reportedly working on a change that will let users access device controls without unlocking their phone in Android 13.
According to Esper, Android 13 DP2 introduces a new API that controls whether you need to unlock your device or not to control a smart home device. Google’s documentation for the new isAuthRequired method states that if the method returns “true,” the associated Device Control is unavailable until the device is unlocked.
Using this information, XDA Senior Member and Tasker developer joaomgcd added a new toggle to the automation app that lets users create a custom Device Control that is available even when the device is locked. Check out the video embedded below to see it in action.
Esper further notes: “Since this behavior can be set per-control, apps can block users from interacting with certain smart home devices when their phones are locked.”
While the feature is functional in the latest Android 13 developer preview release, Google is yet to update the Google Home app to support the functionality. Therefore, we’ll have to wait a while before we can access Device Controls for Assistant-enabled devices on a locked phone.
It’s worth mentioning that the feature will not give users the option to select which Device Controls are available when their phone is locked. Instead, app developers will have to pick whether or not certain Device Controls are available on locked phones. As such, the feature will not be available until developers update their apps to support the functionality.