+ Monday November 18th, 2019

Google’s Voice Unlock has been a feature for quite some time, and of the various ways to unlock an Android device, it’s definitely one of the least secure. Google warns users that a recording of your voice may be sufficient to unlock your phone, making sure that users know – frankly – it’s not safe.

It appears that “Unlock with Voice Match” as the feature is known may soon be deprecated, and ultimately removed. It had its benefits, of course, in allowing Google Assistant to proceed unimpeded through a lock-screen provided that it recognised your voice.

On Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, the feature is already replaced with “Lock screen personal results”, which allows Assistant to show you email, calendar and contact information with a voice match, but any further information requires either a fingerprint, password or PIN code unlock.

In an upcoming of the Google app, 9to5Google found a string indicating that the feature will shortly be replaced with the more secure version:

<string name=”opa_trusted_voice_deprecation_promo_message”>”The Voice Match to unlock feature you’ve been using has been replaced with a more secure way to get personal results while your device is locked. You can change this in your Assistant settings”

This feels like the right move; in an era where smartphones store increasingly personal (and even compromising) information, you don’t want anyone or anything being able to unlock your phone easily without your express permission, and voice unlock is probably due to go for this reason.

Chris Rowland   Managing Editor

Chris Rowland

Chris has been at the forefront of smartphone reporting in Australia since smartphones were a thing, and has used mobile phones since they came with giant lead-acid batteries that were "transportable" and were carried in a shoulder bag.

Today, Chris publishes one of Australia's most popular technology websites, Ausdroid. His interests include mobile (of course), as well as connected technology and how it can make all our lives easier.

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If voice is considered not secure, it will hobble plans for the Google Assistant in watches and other devices, including smart speakers. It limits the range of things you can do.

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