In Android 7.0 Google has removed the ability for apps to have full control over the screen lock. This seems to be in response to the recent malware type called ransomware. Ransomware is software that gains control of a mobile device, usually through locking the device, and makes you pay to get back control of your phone.

This effects two of Where’s My Droid’s features, the Remote Lock and Uninstall Defense.

Remote Lock

The Remote Lock feature can still lock your phone, but only if there isn’t already a screen lock engaged. This is good for those who don’t usually have a screen lock in place. The downside is the app can’t remove the screen lock for you once you have found your device. Therefore, using WMD to unlock by text or Commander will not work. If you get the device back you can enter the PIN you set and the app will help you remove the screen lock as normal.

Uninstall Defense

The 7.0 update has a greater effect on the Uninstall Defense feature. This is because Google removed a function that allows apps to be notified when they are being removed as a device admin. Where’s My Droid usually listens for this notification and then locks your device to prevent someone from removing the app. Where’s My Droid users can still deter thiefs from un-installing the app by hiding the app icon so they don’t know it’s on the device.

 

Here is the excerpt from Googles blog:

We’ve reduced the power of device admin applications so they can no longer change your lockscreen if you have a lockscreen set, and device admin will no longer be notified of impending disable via onDisableRequested(). These were tactics used by some ransomware to gain control of a
device.

You can read the full article here.

Helps us get it back

We have started a forum post with Google. We are hoping to convince them there is a better way to handle ransomware. Help us by telling Google how important this feature is by posting here.