Android P allows apps to lock the screen without disabling fingerprint unlock

The first developer preview for Android P has been out for close to a week, but we’re still unpacking some goodies. The list of features and changes is so long that we had to break it into two parts. As with any update, some of the best stuff is underneath the surface. Features the average consumer won’t notice. One such feature in Android P is the ability for apps to lock the screen without disabling the fingerprint on the lock screen.

Previously, apps were able to lock the screen with the Device Admin API. The problem with this method was it reset the fingerprint unlock. So every time the app locks your phone you’re stuck entering the annoying password/PIN/pattern again. Nova Launcher is one app that got around this problem by making the screen go black and changing the timeout to be short. Developers won’t have to use clever tricks like that in Android P.

Android P adds two new device actions for the Accessibility Service. The one we’re interested in for this post is GLOBAL_ACTION_LOCK_SCREEN. As mentioned, it simply allows apps to lock the screen. You won’t have to enter a password/PIN/pattern afterward. This feature will be great for automation apps, like Tasker, which are used to control device actions. The developer of TouchTask for Tasker has already started implementing this in the app.

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