This blog is my storehouse for a good deal of miscellany, since combined with Google's search capabilities, it's a good way to find things at some future time when I've forgotten them, despite assurances to myself that of course I wouldn't forget that.

Smart Lock is a feature on the Galaxy S9 (and other phones too, I'm sure, but this is the one I know about) that allows me to lock my phone yet not have to deal with the inconvenience of unlocking it every time I pick it up. You tell the phone that certain places are trusted, such as home, and it won't require unlocking when you're in that place. Yay! It worked like a charm—for the first few days.

Then, as charms are wont to do, it became fickle. I found myself having to unlock my phone all the time. It was driving me up the wall. I tried this, that, and the other thing, all to no avail. Finally, I took the problem to Dr. Google. There I found a suggestion that the poster said was crazy, but effective:

I, like most people, had accepted the phone's suggestion of my home address for a trusted site. I don't know if it's Google's fault or something else, but people have found that to stop working after a few days, as it did for me. Who knows why? The secret, they said, was to edit the home location and move the marker a bit to reset it.

That didn't work for me. Perhaps I didn't move it enough, but since Google warned that doing so would affect the location of my home in several other of its applications, I didn't want to move it too much.

Instead, I took a different approach. I set up a second trusted site that was in the correct location, but not associated with my address—it's known to the system by its latitude and longitude. That worked perfectly.

Until it didn't, and I was back to having to unlock my phone every time.

I opened the SmartLock settings again, and added yet another trusted location—the place that my phone apparently thought it was, right then

And that worked, until it didn't. The pattern seems to be this: For a day, my phone would stay unlocked. Sometimes I'd get more than one day out of it, but generally the next morning I'd wake up back at Square One.

Actually, not quite back to the beginning—I'm gradually accumulating a collection of trusted places around our house. Despite the fact that SmartLock claims to be trusting a fairly large circle around a given location, that's not they way it's acting. The trusted places on my list show differences by 0.1" in either latitude or longitude. I hoped that eventually I'd have all the bases covered....

I'm still hoping that, but it seems to be a very slow process. Apparently the latitude and longitude measurements have a finer granularity than what is displayed. The process I have settled into is this:

When I first open my phone in the morning, I must unlock it. That's what I would expect after a long pause in use. But then the next time I try to use it, the phone is locked again. So I go into the SmartLock settings and add a new trusted place—wherever the phone thinks it is. After that, the phone is good for the rest of the day. I must do this every day.

It's a pain, and it shouldn't be that way, but it works for me. For now. I'll update this if I ever figure out something better.

UPDATE 2/7/19 There is hope that my phone will eventually learn that our home is a safe place. Today began with the usual problem: I opened the phone and needed to unlock it. The same thing happened the second time, but I was too lazy to go through the process of adding a new Trusted Location. Somewhere along the line—third or fourth time, maybe?—the phone opened with no need for unlocking. Was that because I was at that point in a different room of the house, one the phone recognized? Who knows, but it gives me hope to keep observing and experimenting.

Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, February 7, 2019 at 7:12 am | Edit
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Hmm - I would have been off to Best Buy at the first lockout. Would never have had the patience to fuss with all that. Guess that's why I never worry about who's calling.



Posted by Grace Kone on Thursday, February 07, 2019 at 10:38 am

Ah, well, I like puzzles, even if I really would rather things work as they are supposed to. I didn't get the phone from Best Buy, and I figure it's probably a software problem—or maybe a Google problem. My son-in-law has the opposite concern: SmartLock says he is at home when he's three blocks away. I'm hoping that eventually an update will fix it—no luck with the one that came through yesterday, though.



Posted by SursumCorda on Thursday, February 07, 2019 at 12:19 pm
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