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I've recently gotten a Samsung Galaxy J5. Its default (insecure) unlock procedure involves simply swiping anywhere on the phone in any direction. My primary concerns are (a) being able to quickly unlock and use the phone and (b) not accidentally unlocking the phone when it's in my pocket.

As it is, the 'swipe to unlock' feature is too easy to accidentally unlock, since any movement in any direction is sufficient. A solution to this would be to setup a simple unlock pattern that can be executed quickly and easily. That would make the phone much less likely to be accidentally unlocked whilst in the pocket. However, setting a pattern lock requires a minimum of four points to be used, for security reasons. Using a three-point unlock would make life easier as it would just be a quick swipe in one direction (crucially, a very specific direction, which would make the system much less prone to butt-dialing)...

I understand why four points are mandated as a minimum, but my concern here is not around security. Can anyone offer a solution that would allow me to either (a) remove the minimum number of points required for a pattern lock or (b) replace the lock screen with something similar that involves a more specific swipe than 'anywhere and in any direction'?

Note that as the phone is new and therefore still under warranty, I have no plans to root the phone unless absolutely necessary.

  • The 4-point pattern minimum is built into the Android base code for its security purposes... 3 point pattern could be broken by executing a system attack of all possible patterns in a few hours with 729 possible combinations, but with 4 there are 6561 possibilities... The number 4 was chosen as the minimum arbitrarily as a minimum of security to ease of use trade off. This minimum is built in the code and cannot be adjusted. Root or not isn't relevant. – acejavelin Nov 23 '16 at 11:50
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    Why not set a PIN lock with 4 zeroes? Much easier to unlock than the impossible 3 points pattern. – esQmo_ Nov 23 '16 at 12:05
  • Perhaps the solution then is to install a different type of unlock screen altogether, rather than try to reduce the number of points on the built-in one. As I've mentioned, this isn't about security. Any suggestions would be welcome. – CaptainProg Nov 23 '16 at 12:11
  • Ah, interesting question. Especially because you value ease of use more than security (nothing wrong with that). – miva2 Nov 25 '16 at 12:43
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A quick google search for android custom lock screen presents me with a list of lock screen apps (for example this one: https://www.androidpit.com/best-android-lock-screen-apps). I don't think these apps need root access to function.

Many of these apps support "slide to unlock". Which is basically the same as a pattern consisting of a straight line, which is what I assume you want. Most apps I saw require you to swipe from left to right on the bottom of the screen. This is a specific direction starting from a specific location on the screen, yet the pattern is incredibly fast and easy. This prevents most cases of "butt-dialing" without giving up speed of unlocking your phone.

Take your pick from the many lockscreen apps that support this and enjoy! :)

  • Alas, after awarding the bounty for this question and using one of these apps (specifically, 'DynamicNotifications'), I've found this doesn't solve the problem either. These lock screens don't really lock the screen; although I'm able to set up a specific swipe unlock, pressing any other button on the phone, such as the Home button, also unlocks the phone. So, the problem persists. I am therefore still searching for a solution. I'm happy to root the phone if needs be. – CaptainProg Dec 6 '16 at 8:29
  • Did you try multiple lockscreen apps? Maybe it's just a problem with that one. I haven't checked lockscreen apps in detail but I assume they actually LOCK the phone and not just disable the standard locking and show their app whenever you open the phone. – miva2 Dec 6 '16 at 10:15
  • Ah - yes, this was just a bug with this app. I've switched to 'Holo Locker'; this works for most buttons. The 'switch app' button still seems to be active and allows the lock to be bypassed, but it's only this buttong, and I'm sure with a bit of searching around I'll be able to find an app that covers all buttons. It's a little surprising that these apps are so variable on different devices, but I suppose it's tricky to implement testing on every device. – CaptainProg Dec 6 '16 at 15:03
  • Thats unfortunate but I'm glad you found a solution that works for you :) It doesn't really sound like a locking app if you can bypass it with the Home or Recents buttons. – miva2 Dec 7 '16 at 9:36

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