Last year, Google announced that it was getting rid of the ability for voice match to fully unlock a phone, because frankly it was way too insecure for anyone’s liking. Initially, this was just on the Pixel 3 range of devices, but at CES 2019 Google announced it would roll out this change to all Android devices.
9to5Google reports that the change is now starting to appear on Android devices worldwide; instead of a full device unlock, Voice Match will now only allow some interaction with Google Assistant. Unlocking the phone fully will require some other, more secure unlock method – such as a password, PIN or fingerprint.
Assistant activated via Voice Match will still have access to your personal results, such as emails and calendar entries, depending on your configuration.
The full list of features you can interact with in this mode include:
- Email, including personal results from Gmail, like flight reservations and bills
- Google Calendar
- Memory aids
- Shopping lists
Trying to access a function that isn’t supported in this mode (e.g. “OK Google, Play Music”) will show a prompt to unlock the device properly so that it can be accessed.
While some users may find this change somewhat unwelcome (having to unlock ones phone some other way in order to access basic functions like music playback), ultimately it’s for the best.
When this change appears on your device, heading to Google Assistant settings > Assistant tab > Assistant devices list > and Phone will reveal that the “Unlock with Voice Match” toggle has been replaced with “Lock screen personal results.”