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How to quickly lock down your Android phone

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Lockdown mode is a security feature that first arrived with Android 9 Pie that acts as a last-resort measure to keep prying eyes out of your phone. Enabling it obfuscates any incoming notifications on your lockscreen and disables biometrics and Smart Lock settings, preventing anyone from forcing you to unlock your phone with your face or fingerprint.

Product used in this guide

  • Pure Android bliss: Google Pixel 4 ($650 at Amazon)
  • Well-rounded flagship: Samsung Galaxy S20 ($1000 at Amazon)

How to enable Lockdown on the Pixel 4

The exact steps to enable Lockdown mode varies from phone to phone, but on the Pixel 4, it’s as simple as jumping into the display settings. Once it’s been enabled, you won’t have to launch it from the settings every time; instead, it’ll conveniently show up in the power menu.

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Open the Settings app.
Tap Display, then drop down additional options by tapping Advanced.
At the bottom of the screen, tap Lock screen display.
Under What to Show, toggle Show lockdown option on.

That’s it! All that’s left to do to enable Lockdown is hold down the power button to open the power menu. You’ll see Lockdown as a new option, denoted by a padlock icon. Once you tap it, Face Unlock will stop working and you’ll need to revert to your PIN or password to unlock the phone. Smart Lock is also disabled while Lockdown is on, preventing the phone from unlocking around familiar Bluetooth devices or locations, and notifications will no longer show up on the lockscreen for privacy’s sake.

The next time you unlock your phone, Lockdown turns off automatically — easy as that!

How to enable Lockdown on the Galaxy S20

Love it or hate it, Samsung’s One UI software turns its phones into a totally different Android experience than what you’d find on a Pixel. That doesn’t mean it loses out on features like Lockdown mode, it just means you’ll need to look elsewhere to enable it.

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Open the Settings app.
Tap Lock screen.
Tap Secure lock settings.
Enter your security PIN or pattern.
Toggle Show Lockdown option on.

How to lock down other Android phones

If you’re using a phone from a different manufacturer like OnePlus, LG, or Huawei, the exact steps to enable Lockdown mode may differ, but if you’re having trouble finding the option, you can always search for it in the settings. Generally speaking, you’ll find it in your phone’s lockscreen settings, whether that’s tucked under the Display or Security sections.

Of course, there are other ways to secure your phone without going into full Lockdown mode. Using a longer PIN or even a full-on password makes it harder for intruders to guess their way into your phone, and biometrics or Smart Lock ensure you don’t have to sacrifice convenience to quickly authenticate.

The phones used in this guide

Pure Android bliss

Google Pixel 4

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$650 at Amazon
$800 at Best Buy

The most Google phone ever

The Pixel 4 is the embodiment of Google’s vision for Android, with sleek hardware, a top-class display, and one of the best mobile photography experiences around. Being a Google phone, the Pixel 4 is also the first in line for any new versions of Android.

Well-rounded flagship

Samsung Galaxy S20

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$1000 at Amazon
$1000 at Best Buy

A phone with something for everyone

Whether you’re after top-end specs, 5G connectivity, reverse wireless charging, or great cameras with a whopping 30X zoom, the Galaxy S20 has it all. It’s an incredibly versatile phone and, as a bonus, has one of the best displays on the market with a 120Hz refresh rate.

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