For several years now, the Google app allowed users to unlock a device with your voice when interacting with Google Assistant. After removing on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, “Unlock with Voice Match” appears to be nearing deprecation and replacement on all other Android devices given that it’s not too secure.
“Unlock with Voice Match” allowed users to have their voice act as a device passcode. The general premise was that if a command you gave to Assistant required further action — like opening an app — the phone would be able to authenticate that it was you and have the command proceed untempered.
However, the feature was considered “less secure” — even by Google — with a prompt warning users that this was the case before allowing you to enable it. Namely, “a similar voice or recording of your voice” could unlock your device and give somebody total access.
As such, starting on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, Google replaced it with “Lock screen personal results.” This meant that Voice Match could only show email, calendar, and contacts through the Assistant interface, but any further action would require a password or fingerprint unlock. The Google Assistant features a lock icon on top to reflect the state of your device (as seen in the cover above).
<string name=”personal_response_on_lockscreen_message”>”Use Voice Match to access your email, calendar, contacts, and more when your phone is locked. You’ll still need to unlock your phone for some actions, like purchases and sending messages.”
Our upcoming APK Insight of Google app 8.39 reveals an “Updated Voice Match” prompt that details the replacement and that “Lock screen personal results” will be the “more secure way” going forward. This dialogue only makes sense on devices that previously had access to the old Android voice unlock functionality.
<string name=”opa_trusted_voice_deprecation_promo_message”>”The Voice Match to unlock feature you’ve been using has been replaced with a more secure way to get personal results while your device is locked. You can change this in your Assistant settings”
In the grand scheme, this is more secure and the right decision for Google to make, with users getting to “benefit from enhanced security.
This deprecation of “Unlock with Voice Match” and replacement with “Lock screen personal results.” is not yet enabled as of Google app 8.39. It might take effect on future versions or via a server-side update.
Dylan contributed to this article