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How to Unlock Your Android Phone Screen Without the Power Button


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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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