Google silently disables NFC Smart Unlock on Android devices

We unlock our smartphones more than 100 times per day. Every Android device comes with various options or ways to unlock the smartphone. It includes a simple swipe to unlock with no password or anything, but if you need security, you can set up a PIN, password or fingerprint unlock method. In some of the new devices like Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and S8, you get features like IRIS scanner too.

However, starting with Android 5.0 Lollipop, Google added a cool new feature to Android devices called Smart Lock. Unfortunately, very few people are familiar with the awesomeness of this new feature. Smart Lock automatically unlocks your phone based on certain conditions without prompting you to do anything. For instance, Smart Lock has an option called “Trusted Places”, where you can set up the location where your device always remains unlocked, but as soon as you leave that particular location, the device locks itself automatically.

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Similarly, Smart Lock features other options such as On-Body detection, Trusted Face, Trusted Voice and Trusted Devices. And until now, Trusted Devices had both Bluetooth connected devices and NFC Tags support to automatically unlock a device. But unfortunately, it seems like Google has now removed support for NFC tags under the Trusted Devices option.

No, we are not kidding. A Google official has confirmed in the Issue tracker that Smart NFC Unlock service has been deprecated. We feel you! It’s not right on Google’s side to remove a feature without informing its users. And the feature that many OEMs market at the time of selling their phones. We don’t know what made Google take this bizarre decision. But as of now, NFC Smart Unlock is no longer available for newly logged-in Google accounts.

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Yes, the feature has been disabled for new Google logins only. Users who have added their Google accounts before June 2017 can still see and use Smart NFC Unlock with NFC Tags but those who have added their Google account to their Android devices after July 2017, they won’t have the NFC Tags option under Trusted Devices setting. This includes users who even factory resetted their devices and added their Google account after July 2017. Also, this affects all versions of Android.

Source: Reddit