Automatically disable Android's lock screen when you're home

By JR Raphael (@jr_raphael)

Disable Android Lock Screen

Android's lock screen keeps your phone protected when you're out and about -- but when you're home, it can quickly turn into a nuisance. Good news, though: With a few minutes of simple setup, you can configure your phone to automatically disable its lock screen anytime you're home, then automatically switch it back on when you're out.

Here's how to make it happen.

Disable Android's Lock Screen at Home: Step 1

The first and most important step: Download Unlock with Wifi, a great little app that does all the dirty work for you. Unlock with Wifi uses your home Wi-FiĀ  network as an indicator that you're home; the app will disable your lock screen whenever your device is connected to that network.

Unlock with Wifi

Once you've installed Unlock with Wifi, open up the app and use the on-screen commands to add your home Wi-Fi network into its list. (Obviously, you'll need to do this initial configuration while you're at home; otherwise, your home network won't show up as an option.) Make sure the "Enabled" indicator is selected, and that's it: You're locked and loaded. Or unlocked and loaded, to be more accurate.

(Note: Unlock with Wifi comes in both a free version and a paid ($4) version. The free version lets you define only one home Wi-Fi network, while the paid version allows you to set up as many networks as you want. The paid version has a few additional features as well.)

One final footnote: The developer of Unlock with Wifi says the app doesn't always work with the Samsung Fascinate or Droid Charge -- he says glitches in Samsung's firmware get in the way -- so be warned, if you're using one of those phones, this may not work for you.

Disable Android's Lock Screen at Home: Step 2

Okay, so your phone knows to shut off its lock screen when you're connected to your home Wi-Fi network; now, let's set it up to automatically turn on Wi-Fi when you get home so the whole process becomes automated.

There are a couple of ways to do this:

1) Grab Auto Wifi Toggle, available free in the Android Market. Auto Wifi Toggle periodically turns on your phone's Wi-Fi to check if you're in range of a known network. If you are, it leaves your Wi-Fi on; if you aren't, it turns it off.

2) Use a more robust phone management solution like Setting Profiles (free in a limited "lite" version; $4 for full version), Tasker ($6.49), or Locale ($9.99). [UPDATE: Several readers have also suggested Llama (free) as another alternative.] These apps give you an enormous set of options to customize how your Android phone will behave in different circumstances.

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The apps function on a rule/condition-based setup, which can be a bit overwhelming at first -- but once you get the hang of it, the power is phenomenal. In this case, what you'll want to do is set up a rule so that your phone activates Wi-Fi whenever it recognizes your home location, then deactivates it whenever you leave that location.So that's it -- you're all set. Congratulations:

Your smartphone just got a little smarter.

More Android Power Tips & Tricks:

JR Raphael writes about smartphones and other tasty technology. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

Article copyright 2011 JR Raphael. All rights reserved.

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