What to Do When Android’s Smart Lock Isn’t Working

android smart lock not working

There’s nothing worse than a piece of smart tech that’s not functioning as it should be, and if you’re a devoted user of Google’s Smart Lock tool, you’ve probably experienced this before.

When Smart Lock is good, it’s good, but when it’s not, there are a number of things you’ll need to try to get it back online again.

How do you fix Smart Lock not working?

There are several reasons why the Android feature might not be working, including GPS connectivity, other devices using Google Location, and more than one account being used on the device. It’s usually an easy fix once you make your way through the potential problems and find the one causing the issues.

To help you diagnose the problem with your Android’s Smart Lock feature, we’ve got some of the most common causes and how to fix them.

With our troubleshooting tips, you’ll get this smart tool back in action and know just what to do the next time you face any issue with the feature.

What Is Android’s Smart Lock Feature?

android smart lock configuration

Android is no stranger to ground-breaking tech and their Smart Lock feature that debuted in 2014 is no exception to this rule.

Since its first introduction, the feature has come a long way, and when it’s working, it makes your Android device smarter, safer, and far more convenient to use.

Smart Lock is a feature that can be used on computers and phones, but the Android version is where it stands out. With the feature turned on, you’ll be given automatic access to your phone by keeping it unlocked in certain situations when it’s safe, and locked when it’s not.

It manages this by using a number of the device’s features including GPS to learn safe zones or on-body detection to tell when it’s being held by you.

When it’s okay to do so, your phone will be unlocked for easy access, and when you hand the device over to someone else or it gets moved to an area that’s not in your safe list, it’ll lock right away.

As cool as the feature sounds, it can be a real pain when it stops working, especially if you’ve gotten used to how easy it made your life.

Thankfully, fixing it is usually just a matter of following a few simple steps and doing some investigating as to what’s causing the error, and there are usually only a handful of things it can be.

Troubleshooting Tips for Smart Lock Not Working

trusted places

One of the most common issues with Smart Lock is the Trusted Places feature which you can use to set rules about specific safe locations where it’s okay to keep your phone unlocked.

Although this seems to be the area with the most problems, there are other issues with Smart Lock that can cause it not to work also. Check through this list and see if any of these solutions are a fix for your Android glitch.

Fix #1: GPS Issues

Trusted Places relies on your GPS to be functional so it can tell where you are and whether you’re in a safe zone. When the GPS isn’t on, your Smart Lock won’t be either, so this should be your first port of call.

The GPS of your phone is the most accurate method it has of knowing its location and when you use Trusted Places, you’ll need it to be precise.

To check if your phone’s GPS is enabled, go to the main Settings menu and look for the Location menu. From there, you can find either the Location Method or Locating Method and make sure it’s set to the highest accuracy and also turned on.

With that done, test your Smart Lock again to see if the Trusted Places feature is back online.

Fix #2: Update Your Location

android loaction settings

Another issue with Trusted Places occurs when your phone is updating slower than usual. These devices might be fast but they aren’t always up to speed as quickly as we think and the issue could be as simple as your phone not yet having time to update where it is.

To check where your phone’s location is set to, open up the Google Maps app and check where it thinks you currently are.

This can be done by viewing where the illuminated blue dot is, and if it’s not visible, click either My Location or the compass icon in the bottom right corner of the map. Once it’s updated to where you are at this moment, your Smart Lock should do the same.

Fix #3: Remove Other Google Accounts

It’s common for users to share phones or other devices with friends and family, but if you plan on using Smart Lock efficiently, it’s not always going to work.

If your phone has other people signed into their Google accounts on the same device, Smart Lock will get confused about where the data is coming from and stop working altogether. To find out who else is using your device with their Google account, go to Settings and Accounts to see what’s there.

If you do spot someone else’s account or have other secondary accounts of your own there, you can simply tap the “Remove Account” button and get rid of them. Test your Trusted Places and other Smart Lock features to see if this rectifies the issue.

Fix #4: Other Uses of Your Google Account

another google account

Just as your phone won’t like other Google accounts trying to use it alongside yours, other devices that have your account linked to them can also cause an issue thanks to location data.

Fixing Smart Lock could be as simple as going around to the other places you might be signed in with and signing out of them, but how do you know where that is?

Open the settings of your phone and go to Google, then look for the location tab. Within this area find the Advanced settings and then select Google Location History.

Check to see if the device you’re using now is the only one enabled and if not, get rid of the others. This quick-fix can reset the location data so that only your existing Android device is being considered where using Trusted Places.

Fix #5: Play Services Configuration

Play Services is the root of all Smart Lock’s features, so if there’s nothing wrong with location data or GPS, it’s probably to blame.

First, you’ll need to make sure that Play has access to your phone’s settings, head to Google Play Services’ settings, and tap Permissions and then Location.

Next, head to the Modify System Settings in the Settings app and make sure Google Play Services is enabled. Finally, checked the Battery Optimization settings and make sure Google Play isn’t on the list either, as this can sometimes be set as a battery-saving measure which means it won’t run unless asked to.

If all else fails, clear the data from Play Services and turn your phone off, then enable Smart Lock once again after it restarts. With all of these ticked off, Smart Lock should be working again without an issue.

Making Your Android Device Smarter

android updates

Once you get used to the simplicity that Smart Lock offers your phone, you’ll never want to be without it.

For all of its benefits, it can be a real pain when the feature starts to fail, but with a little bit of effort and some troubleshooting tips, you’ll have your Android device back in your hands and with easy access just like before.

Related Questions

Easy accessibility is a great feature to have on a smartphone and an even better way to automate your everyday devices and tasks.

Smart Lock is just one way you can achieve this automation with your gadgets, and if you’re interested in learning what else you can do, read on to see our expert answers to some FAQs on the topic.

How Can I Control My Home With My Phone?

Many smart devices can be controlled by a single smartphone just by downloading the dedicated app.

These include smart lighting, appliances, security, entertainment, and assistants, all of which can be controlled with a standalone app or synced to a home hub and accessed through there.

Can I Control Lights With My Phone?

Installing smart lights or a smart plug that’s connected to your home’s lighting will allow you to control their use through an app on your phone.

With these apps, you can remotely turn lights on and off, access them when you’re not at home, and create schedules and rules so the lights operate autonomously and without your input.


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