Whether your power button is broken or you just don’t want to press it constantly, there is a way to turn your Android smartphone or tablet on and off without using it.
Some devices, like the LG G Pad 8.3 and other LG smartphones and tablets, come with a “double tap to wake” feature that allows you to turn on the device using a simple double tap on the screen. As most devices nowadays are forgoing physical home buttons in favor of onscreen keys, you’re putting a lot of reliance on that small power button to hold up for the years that you may have your phone or tablet.
The first method works automatically, turning your screen on when you pick it up and off when you set it down or pocket it. If that’s not your style, you can skip to the manual method for some apps that’ll let you decide when to turn your device on or off.
The Automatic Way
Gravity Screen is the app that’ll be doing the heavy lifting here. We’ve reviewed this wonderful app previously, as its automation skills can make it so that you never have to press the power button on your device again. You can see the full review for a detailed look, but let’s go over it briefly here.
This app basically allows you to have your phone’s screen turn on as soon as you pick it up and turn off as soon as you set it down or put it in your pocket. In our testing, we actually found it surprisingly reliable and useful.
Upon opening the app, you’ll need to approve it to be a Device Administrator so that it can lock and unlock your screen. This is perfectly safe, but it does add an extra step to the uninstalling process, which will be covered towards the end of this article.
Once installed and setup, you’ll see a list of options that you can customize. The first options are for the screen turning off. You can decide the angle that the phone needs to be at for the screen to be able to turn off. Note that for the screen to turn off, your phone has to drop to that angle and have the proximity sensor covered (as it would be in your pocket).
The proximity sensor is usually located at the top of your phone near the earpiece and the front-facing camera if you want to test it out, though it can vary from device to device.
As you scroll down, you’ll find all sorts of options for turning the screen on, how sensitive you want it to be, and more. Tweak the settings to your liking, and then test it out a bit. It takes a bit of getting used to, but once you do, it’s hard to go back to pushing physical buttons like a chump.
The app is free, but a few of the features require an in-app purchase – like the ability to exclude certain apps so that your screen doesn’t turn off during a game. If Gravity’s approach isn’t quite up your alley, the next method may be for you.
The Manual Way
Don’t want your phone to guess when you want the screen on or off? Then this combination of apps is perfect for you. With a wave of your hand, you can unlock your phone, and with a simple swipe, you can lock it again.
First, let’s go over the app for turning your screen on: Wave Unlock. This app works by utilizing the proximity sensor on your device that should be above the top of your screen near the front-facing camera or earpiece. With a simple wave of your hand over the proximity sensor, it will unlock your phone.
It works extremely well, and it’s a pretty impressive little trick to show your friends. Our phones have such intricate sensors on them, but we hardly make use of them in the best ways!
As far as the settings go, you’re best off finding the sensitivity that works for you, though I would recommend checking the “Start on boot” option so that the app continues working even after a reboot. You may experience some battery drain using this app, since the proximity sensor is always waiting for a wave, but we didn’t experience too much drain in our testing.
This app can also be used to lock the device by holding your hand over the proximity sensor for a few seconds, but that’s not always ideal. For a quicker, on-screen method, let’s examine a different app.
Swipe-Lock is the app you’re going to need for this. It allows you to swipe in from the side of your screen to lock your device, making for a quick but invisible shortcut to turning off your screen.
There’s just a bit of customization available: if the activation area is on the left or right, how tall it is, how thick it is, and if you want the icon in the notification bar. You’ll need to shell out $1.57 for the Pro version if you want to swipe up from the bottom to lock your device, though.
Uninstalling These Apps
Since all of these apps need to be become Device Administrators to handle the locking of your device, you need to remove them from that position before uninstalling. If you try to uninstall a Device Administrator, you’ll simply get a pop-up letting you know that it can’t be uninstalled.
To do this, go into your Settings, go to Security, and choose Device Administrators. Uncheck the box next to the app you want to uninstall,
Which Do You Like Best?
Other methods of achieving this feature are possible – like installing a custom kernel – but those methods are complicated and involve root access. For those who don’t want to go through all that, this offers a quick and fuss-free alternative.
What’s your favorite method for unlocking/locking your Android device?