May 29, 2024

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Android 15 can help protect your data and extend battery life with adaptive timeout

Android 15 can help protect your data and extend battery life with adaptive timeout

Mishal Rahman / Android Authority

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  • Android 15 may add an adaptive timeout option that automatically turns off your device's screen when not in use.
  • It's important to lock your Android device when you're not using it so that no one else can access your apps and data.
  • Android's screen timeout feature turns off your device's screen and then locks it after a specified period of time.

Google will launch the next major version of the Android operating system, Android 15, sometime this fall, and we've already revealed several new security and privacy features. This includes a new private space for your sensitive apps, added protection from rogue “Stingray” devices, better control over when your location is shared with cellular networks, automatic redaction of one-time passwords (OTPs) from notifications, and more. Since there are still four preview builds left before the stable release of Android 15, there are bound to be more security features that have yet to be added or discovered. One of these features that we expect to see in the upcoming beta is called Adaptive Timeout.

If you have a screen lock enabled on your device (and you should), Android will automatically lock your device after a set period of time. By default, Android turns off the screen after 30 seconds of inactivity, and then locks the device after an additional five seconds. These thresholds can be changed by going to Settings > Display > Screen timeout And Settings > Security & privacy > Unlock device > Lock screen settings, respectively.

If you're doing something that requires keeping your device's screen active and unlocked but you can't interact with it, you can turn on the optional Screen Attention feature on select devices. This feature, which Google introduced with the Pixel 4 series, “prevents your screen from turning off if you're looking at it.” It uses your device's front camera to know if someone is looking at the screen, so even if the screen is normally set to time out after 30 seconds, it will stay awake as long as a face is detected in front of it.

While Android gives users the option to automatically extend their device's screen time through the Screen Attention feature, the operating system does not offer a feature that does the opposite. In other words, Android doesn't have a feature that can automatically reduce the time it takes for the screen to stay on. This is set to change in Android 15 with the new adaptive timeout feature.

that APK Tear It helps predict features that may arrive in service in the future based on work-in-progress code. However, it is possible that these expected features may not make it to a general release.

<string name="contextual_timeout_description">Automatically turns off your screen early if you’re not using your device</string>

<string name="contextual_timeout_title">Adaptive timeout</string>

These strings can be found in the Settings app of Android 15 DP2, but the code that references these strings belongs to categories under com.google.* Namespace. This indicates that the adaptive timeout feature will not be part of the Android Open Source Release (AOSP), but rather part of Google's Android 15 release for Pixel devices. This would make it similar to the Screen Attention feature, which is also not enabled in AOSP out of the box because it is powered by Google's Android System Intelligence app.

With Adaptive Timeout in Android 15, you can enjoy the benefits of extended screen timeout without significantly compromising security, as the operating system will be able to intelligently turn off (and then lock) your screen when you're done using your device. This also has implications for battery life since longer screen timeouts mean the screen is on for longer, thus consuming more battery.

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