Google Play Services teardown reveals Android 13’s Nearby Unlock feature

Google Play Services teardown reveals Android 13’s Nearby Unlock feature

Google is reportedly adding a new feature in Android 13 that will let you unlock your phone with your smartwatch. While Google hasn’t shared any details about the feature, a teardown of the latest Google Play Services update reveals how it would work upon release.

As per the teardown (via Mishaal Rahman), the upcoming “Nearby Unlock” feature will let you use your smartwatch “to securely unlock your phone after you wake it.” New strings in Google Play Services v22.24.13 shed some light on how the feature will work, and the update also includes a new animation that illustrates the Nearby Unlock feature.


The strings suggest that you’ll only be able to unlock your smartphone using your watch if it’s unlocked, on your wrist, and close to your phone. The strings further state that after “you unlock your watch, it stays unlocked while you’re wearing it.” The Nearby Unlock feature will also push a notification to your smartwatch after you use it to unlock your phone successfully. Tapping on this notification will instantly relock your phone.

The new animation is likely part of the initial setup process for Nearby Unlock. It shows a smartwatch unlocking a phone when brought close to it.

It’s worth mentioning that this isn’t the first time we’re hearing about the Nearby Unlock feature. Earlier this month, 9to5Google spotted the feature in a teardown of Google Play Services beta v22.22, but it was referred to as “Smart Unlock” in the older release. While Google may have decided on a different name for the feature, its functionality remains unchanged. The Smart Unlock feature spotted previously had the same purpose — letting you unlock your phone with a smartwatch.

It’s worth noting that the feature is not live in the latest Android 13 beta release. So, we can’t be sure if it will make the cut when the first stable Android 13 builds roll out later this year.

About author

Pranob Mehrotra
Pranob Mehrotra

A Literature and Linguistics graduate with a keen interest in everything Android. When not writing about tech, Pranob spends most of his time either playing League of Legends or lurking on Reddit.

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