Do you own an Android-powered smartphone or tablet? Accounting for over 76% of all mobile operating systems, Android has become the leading software used in touchscreens. It’s fast, versatile — and because it’s owned by Google — highly reliable. But if you’re going to use an Android touchscreen, you should secure it with a screen lock.

What Is a Screen Lock?

A screen lock is an optional security measure in Android touchscreens, as well as other touchscreens, that prevents unauthorized access. By default, most touchscreens have screen lock disabled, meaning anyone can use the touchscreen simply by picking it up and turning it on. When screen lock is enabled, however, only the owner can use it.

Screen lock essentially adds a login layer to the touchscreen. Android touchscreens typically support three different types of screen locks: pattern, PIN or password. A password, of course, is a alphanumerical string, whereas a PIN is a string of four or more numbers. Finally, a pattern is a specific string of touches or taps.

Keep in mind that some Android touchscreens support a fourth type of screen lock: biometrics. Biometrics may involve the use of facial recognition or fingerprint recognition. Rather than entering a pattern, PIN or password, you’ll take a photo of your face or press your finger against a fingerprint reader. The touchscreen will then compare the photo of your face or the copy of your fingerprint to the stored image. If the two match, the touchscreen will unlock. If they don’t match, the touchscreen will remained locked and, therefore, unusable.

How to Enable Screen Lock

To enable screen lock, power up your Android touchscreen and go to the “Settings” menu. From here, access the “Security” menu, at which point you should see an option for “Screen Lock” under “Screen Security.” You can then select the type of screen lock you wish to use.

Tips on Configuring a Screen Lock

For maximum protection against unauthorized access, you must configure your touchscreen’s screen lock so that a nefarious individual won’t be able to easily guess it.

PINs, not surprisingly, are the least secure. It’s easier for someone to guess a PIN than an alphanumerical password. Biometrics, if available, is also a highly secure type of screen lock. Whether it’s facial or fingerprint recognition, biometrics offers an iron-clad level of protection against unauthorized use of your touchscreen.

If you’re going to use a PIN or password for a screen lock, don’t reuse the PIN or password on other devices or accounts. By following these tips, you’ll achieve a higher level of security with your Android touchscreen.