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30 Mar, 2023
2 min time to read

Android 13 QPR3 introduces "Enhanced PIN privacy" toggle in the June Pixel Feature Drop preview to improve PIN security by preventing spying from a distance.

Smartphone users have become increasingly concerned about the security of their lockscreen passcodes, as unauthorized access could potentially lead to full access of their digital lives. To address this, Google has introduced a new feature called "Enhanced PIN privacy" on Pixel phones, which may also be extended to other Android devices after updating.

To access this feature, users need to install the latest Android 13 QPR3 Beta and toggle the "Enhanced PIN privacy" option in Settings > Security & privacy > Device lock > Gear icon. By default, the lockscreen displays the PIN number as it is entered, making it visible to any onlookers.

However, by enabling Enhanced PIN privacy, users can prevent their PIN number from being visible to others. When this feature is enabled, the lockscreen will only display a star in the box to indicate that a button has been pressed, without revealing the actual number. This makes it more difficult for onlookers to see the exact PIN number, as they can only determine its length.

One advantage of the original design is that it can help users see when they have pressed an incorrect digit. However, this design also has the unintended effect of making the exact PIN number visible to anyone who is paying attention. Therefore, the Enhanced PIN privacy feature offers a more secure way to unlock your phone.

While the feature is currently available in the Android 13 QPR3 Beta, it is important to note that there is a possibility that Google may remove it before the official launch. However, it is expected to be included in the June Pixel Feature Drop.

It should be noted that the Enhanced PIN privacy feature is not easily demonstrated through screenshots or recordings due to Android restrictions. Nevertheless, my colleague Damien Wilde should be able to offer a proper look at Enhanced PIN privacy in his overview of Android 13 QPR3 features in the coming days.

In summary, the Enhanced PIN privacy feature on Pixel phones and other Android devices offers users a more secure way to unlock their phones by preventing their PIN numbers from being visible to onlookers. Although this feature may be removed before the official launch, it is expected to be included in the June Pixel Feature Drop.