We all know the scenario: a friend needs to make a quick call, and asks to borrow your phone. Your younger sister has asked to play Angry Birds, but you don’t want her browsing your photos. Your parents are checking into a flight, but you don’t want them to accidentally open your SMS. Few smartphone users would have avoided this fear, and for us, Android 5.0 has a solution.

Now, you can lock your device to a particular app by use of the screen pinning option found under security settings. By default, you just use a shortcut key to disable it, which will prevent accidents, but won’t prevent someone deliberately trying to look through what’s on your phone or tablet. If you set a device PIN though, you’ll be prompted to enter this PIN to disable screen pinning, which makes it an awful lot more secure.

Here’s a walkthrough of the feature and how to set it up.

Of course, there are still some issues with this. If you PIN an app that has access to your Gallery (e.g. Hangouts with its Attach Photo option), your friend/sister/parents will still be able to flick through your photos if they really want to.

Where I see this being extra useful is allowing people to make a call on your phone; with that, there’s very little else they can get into. You could probably pin Chrome to your screen as well if you want to let someone else look something up on your phone, but then they’d have access to all your bookmarks as well, so there’s a risk there. At the end of the day, with security, physical access is most of the battle. If someone really wants to get into your phone or tablet, and you’re silly enough to give it to them, you might as well just give them the keys to the house too — they’ll get what they want if they’re determined enough.

But for everyone else, who’s not completely paranoid, this feature is pretty cool.

We’re combing through the updated Android 5.0 Lollipop Developer Preview for you.
Check out the Android 5.0 Archive


    1. This is also cool for a party, to have a tablet running Google Play Music, allowing people to change songs but not go through your emails etc.