Android Oreo Apps Can Dismiss Insecure Lock Screen, Tasker Fans Rejoice
Android Oreo’s commitment to user experience is shown yet again in another small, yet useful addition. Applications in Android Oreo can dismiss your lock screen when there’s no pin/password/pattern, or your device is already unlocked via Smart Lock. This means that applications can unlock your device for you and display their full UI without you having to manually unlock your phone. Anyone with an interest in Android automation, such as with Tasker, can recognize the beauty of this feature since there are a lot of things you might want to achieve when something happens in the background.
This new API has surfaced in the Android Developer site. It is located under android.app.Activity, android.app.KeyguardManager.KeyguardDismissCallback. Applications on Android can already kind of do this, but not in a very free way. Applications can allow an activity to draw over the lockscreen, but not unlock your device entirely. Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp do this for incoming calls, where the in-call UI is drawn over the lock screen but your device isn’t actually unlocked. This differs from the Android Oreo addition as your device becomes fully unlocked, which allows these applications to start more than just a single activity.
Security or privacy conscious people may take issue with this addition, but its main purpose is for better ease of use. Any applications which abuse this can be uninstalled, so I’m not majorly concerned with app abuse. It can also only be used when your device’s security measures are already disabled, so those of you who use the security features on your phone won’t even notice this small addition anyway. It’s doubtful many app developers will implement this in their applications though, as the target market is rather small.
But for those of you who might find interest in this, you can go crazy with automation. Previously, methods to turn the phone on and dismiss the keyguard were rather convoluted. With this API, you can do some neat actions such as having an SMS texting application whereby receiving a message from certain contacts automatically opens the full conversation in the messaging app. If you can think of any other use cases let us know!