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This is Android 5.0 Lollipop’s most important new security feature

Published Oct 17th, 2014 3:35PM EDT
Android 5.0 Lollipop New Features
Image: Google Inc.

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There are a lot of great new features in Android 5.0 Lollipop but one that’s gone rather unheralded has been the addition of a kind of “kill switch” that can be used as a major deterrent to would-be smartphone thieves. Forbes reports that the new feature, dubbed “factory reset protection,” essentially prevents anyone from wiping and resetting your device if it’s stolen. If thieves can’t factory reset your device, then they won’t be able to successfully resell it since it will be obvious that the device has been stolen.

RELATED: Check out all the great new features Google packed into Android 5.0 Lollipop

Forbes notes that the feature “requires a Google ID and password before a phone can be reset, and only works when a phone passcode is enabled.” However, Forbes also knocks Google for making the feature opt-in, which means users have to specifically enable it before it takes effect. This is troublesome because for something to be an effective deterrent it has to be widely implemented so that thieves will believe that swiping a device isn’t worth their time.

That said, this seems like a very good option to add and it’s definitely something you should consider enabling if you own a device running on Android 5.0 Lollipop.


Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.