One of the more annoying features of new phones is the unlocking experience. Yes, phones should have a lock to prevent strangers from accessing private data, making fraudulent purchases, or creating other mischief. However, the price to pay for this protection is distraction, inconvenience, and additional cognitive load.

Unlocking during driving is dangerous — entering numbers or ensuring that the device can see your face, or even trying multiple fingerprint presses. It seems like most devices should be able to sense when driving and not require this.

Inconvenience is another issue that also contributes to distraction and annoyance. The worst is the phone locking during a GoToMeeting or Zoom meeting. Muting, ending the call, or other actions aren’t available.

Then there’s the cognitive load issue — if you need to jot something down, the unlocking process is enough of a pause to cause other thoughts to jump in. It leads to more time on Instagram or Facebook.

The solution is already starting to emerge — facial unlocking, unlocking on BT connectivity. However, still more work needs to be done to determine whether someone is a threat or not. Maybe adding password before accessing critical data when a non-user is suspected?

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