How to Unlock Your Android Phone Screen Without the Power Button
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Whether the power button is not working on Android or you are simply tired of constantly pressing it, there are numerous alternative ways to unlock and lock your Android device.

You can automate the whole process, wake it up by hovering your hand over the screen, and more. Here are several ways to unlock your Android phone with a broken screen or when the power button is not working.

1. Automatically Have Your Phone Wake Up or Sleep

Gravity Screen takes all the manual work out of turning your phone’s screen on or off. It not only makes the power key obsolete but doesn’t require any interaction from your end either.

Gravity Screen is a clever app that can detect your phone’s motions. Based on sensor data, it can unlock the phone as soon as you pick it up or pull it out of your pocket. The app can function in the opposite way as well. So when you place your phone on a table or in your pocket, Gravity Screen will automatically switch it off.

You don’t need to do much for configuring Gravity Screen. First, go ahead and download the app from the Play Store. When installed, launch it and grant the Device Administrator permission. That’s all.

But in case you find it inaccurate, you can adjust the triggering angle. On Gravity Screen’s home page, you have straightforward bars for the Pocket and Table sensors. Drag and test different angles until you’re satisfied.

Download: Gravity Screen (Free, premium version available)

2. Take Advantage of Your Phone’s Biometric Sensors

On phones with fingerprint sensors or facial recognition features, you need neither a power button nor a third-party app to unlock your phone. All you have to do is swipe your finger or show your face. So if they’re available on your phone, go ahead and set them up. You should be able to locate them under Settings > Security.

In addition, Android also has a software-based face unlock authentication mode. It doesn’t require any special sensors and instead, relies solely on the front-facing camera to scan your face. Before you learn how to employ it, do keep in mind that this is not nearly as secure as a PIN/fingerprint lock.

Android’s face unlock feature is present at Settings > Security > Smart Lock > Trusted Face.

Biometric authentication covers the unlocking process. But what about when you want to manually lock your phone and don’t wait for the screen timer to kick in? For that, you will have to install a third-party app like Screen Off.

Screen Off adds a handy shortcut on your phone’s home screen. You can tap it to immediately lock your phone. The app also supports Google Assistant. So you can say “Hey Google, Open Screen Off” and the voice assistant will automatically switch off the screen.

Download: Screen Off (Free)

3. Wave to Unlock and Lock Your Phone

You can replace the power key with your hands as well. An app called WaveUp lets you wake up or lock the phone by hovering your hand over the proximity sensors. Similar to Gravity Screen, WaveUp can turn on the screen when you pull the phone out of your pocket.

In addition, you can customize the wave combinations. So for instance, to avoid accidentally triggering the service, you can ask WaveUp to wake up the phone only when you cover and uncover the sensor twice in succession.

WaveUp has a quick setup process too. By default, it comes enabled with the unlock gesture. To use it for locking the phone, activate the Lock Screen option and grant the Accessibility permission.

There are a handful of other settings you can customize to ensure WakeUp doesn’t interrupt you when you’re, for instance, playing a game. You can exclude specific apps, add a buffer before locking so you have the option to pause it, specify whether it should work in the landscape mode, and more.

Download: WaveUp (Free)

4. Explore Your Phone’s Built-In Gestures

Phones from a range of manufacturers have built-gestures you can explore to replicate the power key’s functions. The most common one is the Double Tap to Wake gesture. It’s available on phones from Google, OnePlus, Xiaomi, Samsung, and more. The shortcut allows you to wake up the phone by tapping the screen twice.

Another gesture you can check for is Double Tap to Lock. When enabled, you can double-tap anywhere at any empty space on the home screen to lock the phone.

By searching the gesture’s name from the search bar situated at the top of Settings, you should be able to find the relevant options in most scenarios. Otherwise, you can look into Settings > Display or visit the Help section on the manufacturer’s website.

A few phones like the ones running stock Android Pie also have a gesture called Lift to Check Phone. When this is active, your phone’s screen will light up as soon as you lift the phone.

Take a look at our detailed guide to Android’s built-in gestures How to Use Gestures in Android 9 Pie How to Use Gestures in Android 9 Pie Android 9 Pie brings gesture controls for navigation. Here's a quick reference guide for using them. Read More .

How to Install Apps When Power Button Isn’t Working

You might be wondering how would you set up these alternative methods if your power button is not working and you can’t turn on the display. Fortunately, here’s how to unlock your phone with a broken screen.

The easiest solution to this is to put your phone on charge. Once you plug in the cable, the screen will switch on to confirm the battery is charging. At this stage, you can manually enter your PIN or passcode on the lock screen and access your phone’s settings or the Google Play Store per usual.

How to Uninstall These Apps

To take over your phone’s core functions like waking up the screen, some of these apps may have asked you for the Device Administrator permission. This means you won’t be able to directly uninstall them if you wish to in the future.

Instead, first, you will have to revoke their Device Administrator permission. To do that, go to Settings > Apps & Notifications > Advanced > Special App Access > Device Admin Apps. Disable the permission for the app you’d like to remove and then continue with the standard uninstallation steps.

Get More Out of Your Phone’s Physical Buttons

These apps and tips offer nifty replacements for your phone’s power button. They will come in handy irrespective of whether you’re bored of pressing buttons or your Android device’s power button is not working.

However, you shouldn’t dismiss those physical buttons just yet. There’s a lot more you can do with them. Check out these Android apps to get more out of your phone’s physical buttons 7 Android Apps to Get More From Your Phone's Physical Buttons 7 Android Apps to Get More From Your Phone's Physical Buttons Your Android phone's physical buttons aren't used to their full potential. Here are powerful apps that let your buttons do more. Read More .

Explore more about: Android Customization, Android Tips, Troubleshooting.

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  1. elite
    February 16, 2019 at 1:15 am

    Love it.????

  2. Riccairdo
    September 14, 2016 at 12:06 am

    Holy smokes! Must I attend and pass Calc 460 before I am able to figure this muther out?
    Whoa dude - - all the options are super cool, but this is NOT for the average joe cell phone user.

    I am so dumb i had to uninstall after about 10 seconds and installed a waaaaaay user friendly version.

  3. Sambit Das
    February 14, 2016 at 8:36 am

    I use a magnetic flip cover on my tablet (no proximity sensor). Is there any app that locks the device when the magnet is near, and unlock it when the magnet is away?

    • luis D
      April 26, 2016 at 9:35 pm

      smart screen

  4. Anonymous
    June 26, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    A couple days ago the power button on my Galaxy S3 began to randomly send my phone into a restart loop from hell. I had to pull the battery and wait 5 minutes before it would stop. This happened several times. I can't even begin to express how crazy this made me.

    I tried using Gravity to fix the problem but I wasn't able to lock the phone whenever I wanted
    because Gravity uses the stock lock-screen settings. It either locked every time I turned it on or not at all. After a lot of trial and error I finally hit on a combination of apps that worked for me and
    I've decided I'd like to share this fix here. I've only used this with Nova, I doubt it will work with a stock launcher.

    The apps.

    Nova Launcher Prime. (Y'all should have it anyway)
    Gravity
    Smart Applock (free version)
    Tasker with the Auto-Shortcut plugin.

    The steps:

    Set up Gravity however you want it. ( I've found that it's less annoying with the proximity sensor turned off and the sensitivity set way down around 4 or 5)
    Gravity has a ton of options. So it takes a while to get it dialed in.

    Set Smart App-Lock to lock just Nova launcher. This lets you lock the phone from a shortcut you can create using Tasker with the Auto-Shortcut plug-in.

    Here's how I set up the shortcut. It's extra detailed in case If you haven't had any experience with Tasker.

    1. Create a new task in Tasker. I named mine "Lock Toggle"
    2. Touch the +.
    3. Go to "plugin"
    4. Then choose AutoShortcut.

    5. Configuration. Choose "Smart App-Lock" from the list. Hit OK. *If "unlock now" pops up just hit cancel. It will still work. Press the check-mark to exit configuration.

    6. Press the back arrow (next to action edit) at the top to go back to the previous screen which will now have an entry saying "Smart Applock(on/off)"

    7. Repeat steps 2-6 once. This creates an automatic toggle. The toggle launches Smart App-locks pattern lock (or whatever lock method you like) when the screen is turned off by the next step.

    8. Hit the + again. Go to plugin then Auto-Shortcut. Configuration - Gravity screen off.

    That's it. Hit the back arrow again. Then exit Tasker.

    Gestures are one of the many great things about Nova Launcher. I have mine set-up to turn the screen off (without the screen-lock) on a double tap to the desktop. And to turn it off (with the screen-lock) when I swipe one of my icons.

    To do that. Long-press the icon. Press edit. Swipe action. Shortcuts. Task shortcut, then the shortcut you just created in Tasker. Or you could just have a shortcut on the desktop if you'd prefer.

    One more thing. You'll need to assign an icon to the shortcut the first time you try and launch it. I just downloaded a pic of an ignition lock that I liked and used that.

    Hope this helps. Good Luck.

    Ty

  5. Chris Ali
    June 1, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    As my tablet's power button is hard to reach, I lock my android using this tiny app called Go-Sleep [Broken Link Removed] using the free version, but how can I hack it to unlock the WIDGET ?? Thx

  6. Atrusty
    April 2, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    Is there a setting/app for tap-screen-to-lock-unlock without draining battery ?
    GravityScreen drained battery, had to uninstall.
    Samsung Galaxy GT I9082 Android 4.2.2

  7. k kgb
    March 1, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    I use Smart Screen Off, which has the option Of wave, speak, or flip to turn your screen on or off. I can't even find it in a search in the app store but I've been using it for a couple of years using the flip to turn off ONLY and it works great.
    I still use the button to turn on.
    I want a tap to turn on app but can find one that seems tonott drain the battery.
    Galaxy S3

  8. 8bitG33k
    November 27, 2014 at 8:25 am

    GS freezes up my phone. Nexus 5 on stock Lollipop. 5.0

    • Justin Dennis
      February 18, 2015 at 12:59 am

      weird, might be that it isn't compatible with 5.0 yet... hopefully they'll update soon.

  9. dan shaw
    November 25, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    I just double tap my screen on my HTC one m8!

    • Justin Dennis
      February 18, 2015 at 12:59 am

      i love phones that incorporate that :)

  10. Richard Allen
    November 25, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Some interesting apps I've not heard of before. I was also wondering what the impact would be to battery life. I would imagine the first two apps have at least one service running in the background and would have a noticeable impact on battery life. Just speculation on my part and really should have been mentioned in the article. For something with a big battery like one of the Notes or the LG G3 probably not a big deal, for most other phones...

    • Justin Dennis
      February 18, 2015 at 12:55 am

      you're right, that would be a good thing to look into. thanks!

  11. Sparx
    November 25, 2014 at 7:20 am

    There's no mention of the impact these apps have on battery life and whether they allow the devices to enter the power-saving Deep Sleep mode. This is certainly the case for unlocking the device or keeping it awake to ensure the prox sensor is always "listening".

    • Justin Dennis
      February 18, 2015 at 12:55 am

      you're right; I didn't notice severe battery drain, but that would be good to look into in the future. cheers!

  12. Vishnu
    November 25, 2014 at 2:09 am

    Gravity Screen is a great App offering lot of customizations

    But there are few issues with it lately and Needed to manually disable/enable some settings each time when you want to play games or watch videos else you need to pay about $2 to unlock the option to exclude some apps from locking.

    You can try Pocket Lock which has a free solution for landscape mode. But I personally feel that unlock phone option is not as good as in GS.

    I will suggest you to try both and look at the performance of them and use it as per your requirement.

    • Justin Dennis
      February 18, 2015 at 12:54 am

      ooohhh sounds cool, thanks for the recommendation

  13. Mark Messinger
    November 24, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    Gravity Screen is far and away my favorite. On the HTC One (M7), it not only works flawlessly, it means I rarely have to go to the top of the handset, to use the power button. Gravity Screen: highly recommended!

    • Justin Dennis
      February 18, 2015 at 12:54 am

      sounds good! thanks for sharing your experience

  14. Thomas Erskine
    November 24, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    Well, Swipe Lock is no use to me as all the edges are already taken. Gravity Screen seems to do everything that Wave Unlock does, so I'll try GS first.

    • me
      November 25, 2014 at 4:57 pm

      MagnetUnlocker is much better of all of the above