10 Steps to Fix Smart Lock & Trusted Place settings on Android Devices

10 Steps to Fix Smart Lock & Trusted Place settings on Android Devices

When it works, Android smart lock feature is amazing. No need to enter a PIN when the phone knows it’s in your hand, just unlock and unlock it. But Smart Lock, especially the Trusted Place feature, can be a problem sometimes.

Most of the Smart Lock features are very robust. Trusted faces, trusted devices, on-body detection, and voice matches almost never fail to function, but the most useful Smart Lock features have the most problems. Trusted Place should keep your phone unlocked when you are at home, but many users have complained that this is not the case.

The troubleshooting steps below are constantly improving in other words, you should start with the first one, try Smart Lock again and see if Trusted Place has been fixed then move on to the next step if it hasn’t been fixed. Each step is increasingly involved, but they all assume you’ve tried the previous steps, so be sure to follow the order.

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1. Ensure that GPS is active

The simplest first step is to make sure you have GPS enabled. Other location reporting methods are not as accurate as your phone’s actual GPS sensor, and Trusted Place only has a radius of roughly 50 meters, so your phone’s reported locations must be accurate enough for Trusted Places to work.

You can activate GPS by opening your phone’s main Settings menu. From there, the exact location may vary depending on your device, so use the field at the top of the main settings page to search for “Location”. Once in the Location menu, select “Location Methods, then select” High Accuracy “to ensure GPS is enabled.

2. Make sure your location is updated

It’s possible that your phone hasn’t updated its location status in a while. If so, Smart Lock will stop working, as Trusted Place requires a fairly recent location report before it can unlock your phone.

So to lock your location, open Google Maps and tap on the compass icon near the bottom right corner. When the screen updates your current location the blue dot on Google Maps, your phone will have an updated location report.

3. Disable other devices under Google location reporting

If you have more than one Android device, or if you recently changed phones, location data from other devices may interfere with Trusted Place.

To fix this, go to Settings -> Google, then scroll down and select “Location”. From there, select “Google Location History” may have to tap “Advanced” before seeing this option, then make sure only your current device is enabled.

4. Disconnect other Google accounts on the Device

Just like the third step, Trusted Place may stop working if the feature retrieves data from a different Google account, other than or instead of your main account.

Smart Lock doesn’t let you choose which account to use with its features, so if you are logged in with multiple Google accounts on the same phone, it may be pulling location data from the wrong account. G Suite accounts or “Google Apps” accounts also have problems – many of them immediately prohibit the Smart Lock feature, depending on your account administrator settings.

The only action here is to delete all additional Google accounts from your phone. Go to Settings -> Accounts and then select any non-primary Google account. Tap “Remove account” on the next screen, then confirm your choice when prompted. Repeat this step for other non-primary Google accounts.

5. Make sure the play service has location permissions

The backbone of all Smart Lock features is a system app called Google Play Services. This app must be able to see the location of your device for Trusted Place to work. To verify that Play Services can access your device’s settings, go to Settings -> Applications and select “All Apps” from the drop-down menu. Scroll down and select “Google Play Services”, then tap on “Permissions” and make sure the “Location” button is activated.

6. Make sure the play service can change system settings

The way Play Services can unlock your device while Smart Lock is activated is by using a special permission called “Change System Settings”. Ensure Play Services have this permission by browsing your Settings app for “Change System Settings” and selecting the top result. From there, select Google Play Services from the list and make sure the switch is enabled in the following screen.

7. Ensure that Play Services are not wasteful of battery

The next troubleshooting steps are not applicable for most users, but if you have used a mode like this to roll back Play Services battery drain, Trusted Place may fail because its backbone Google Play Services is in Doze Mode.

To verify, go to Settings and search for “Battery Optimization” and tap on the top result. From there, scroll through the list and look for Google Play Services if it is listed in the main menu, you are all set. If not, tap the drop-down menu at the top of the screen and select “All Apps”, then find Play Services and set it to “Not Optimized”.

8. Remove Trusted Place and add it again

Go to Settings -> Security -> Smart Lock -> Trusted Place, then tap on the address that is problematic. From there, select “Edit” from the menu, then tap the trash can icon in the top right corner of the next screen to delete this address. Confirm your choice when prompted.

Once done there, restart your phone. Return to the Trusted Place menu and tap “Home”, then enter the address again.

9. Deactivate home location and add the closest address

Most of us have allowed Google to automatically determine our home and work addresses through Google Maps location data. If your Trusted Place is labeled as “Home” or “Office”, this is where the address comes from, and it is possible that Google has bad metadata for that specific address in its mapping system. To fix this, go to Settings -> Security -> Smart Lock -> Trusted Place then tap on your default address and select “Turn off this location”.

Next, tap “Add Trusted Place”, then drag and zoom the provided map until the location indicator hovers over a place very close to the address where you want Smart Lock to start.

As long as your target address is in the blue dashed circle, Trusted Place will still function while you are there. Tap “Select this location” then “Select” to make it a Trusted Place. Doing this manually will add the coordinates to your Trusted Place, which is more reliable than just a street address.

10. Delete Data on Google Play Service

The final troubleshooting step is the nuclear option. Start by heading to Settings -> Security -> Smart Lock, then open each menu item and disable all Smart Lock features. Make sure your Trusted Place is also disabled.

Next, go to Settings -> Applications. Select “All Apps” from the drop-down menu, then scroll through and find Google Play Services. Tap, then select “Storage”. On the next screen, tap “Clear Storage” or “Clear Data”, then confirm your choice when prompted. As soon as possible, restart your cellphone. When you reactivate it, activate your Smart Lock feature again and it will finally work.


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