Safer unlock patterns: how to create them

unlock patterns

Create safer unlock patterns It should be a priority for everyone. However, most users, myself included, take the easy way out and use unlock patterns that are easy to remember and easy to enter.

Unlock patterns are more or less the same as passwords. Every year, which ones with most used passwords based on password leaks that occur every year.

12345678 y Password they tend to top the lists of most used passwords every year.

Although unlock patterns are not leaked like user passwords are, we have a study to show that we don't worry too much about creating a safe pattern.

Most used unlock patterns

Insecure unlock patterns

The most used unlock patterns, as happens with passwords, they are the least safe.

Cornell University (United States), NTNU and Eset carried out a study in 2017 to find out what the most used unlock patterns, and therefore, the least secure.

He also analyzed the probabilities that any person in our environment could know our unlock pattern watching us introduce it.

The study created a closed group of users (the number is not specified) in which several people entered an unlock pattern while other users watched them from different points of view.

The results of this study They were the following ones:

  • 64,2% of users who only saw the unlock pattern entered once were correct on the first try.
  • 79,9% managed to unlock it after watching on various occasions How to enter the unlock pattern?

This study also tested whether using a PIN code the chances of accessing the terminal were enlarged or reduced. This test produced the following results:

  • 10% guessed the PIN code after observing as it was entered once.
  • This percentage increased to 26,5% when users saw on several occasions enter the PIN code.

Unlock pattern or PIN code?

Although some studies may seem absurd, this one shows us how it is much safer to use a PIN code than an unlock pattern.

Ok, an unlock pattern is easier. However, we must begin to be aware that on our smartphone We store a large number of personal and banking data.

If we do not protect them correctly, it is as if we were using a notebook like our grandparents did and whose security is zero.

Less secure unlock patterns

unlock patterns

The unlock pattern that each person uses is different. Unlike the most used passwords, there is no most popular pattern to unlock a device. However, if there is a usual pattern when creating them.

The conclusions of this study, after analyze the different types of unlock patterns used by users who participated in it, show as:

  • The 44% start pattern from top left, as if they think that you can only start creating an unlock pattern from that point.
  • 77% of users started create the unlock pattern from one of the 4 corners.
  • The vast majority, no percentage is specified, used 5 nodes to create the unlock pattern.
  • More than 10% created the pattern drawing the first letter of his name.

How to create a more secure unlock pattern

Secure unlock patterns

Taking into account the results of this study, if we stop to think how to create a more secure unlock pattern, we can create one that's hard to figure out, even if someone isn't staring.

If you are not clear, then I show you 4 tips you should follow to create a secure unlock pattern.

Don't start at the corners

We have 9 different options to create a pattern. If we remove the 4 corners, we are left with 5 nodes from which to start creating the pattern.

Although the number of options available is not that high, with a little imagination and crossing the nodes we have infinite possibilities.

cross the nodes

As I have commented in the previous point, when creating an unlock pattern that is as secure as possible, we can cross nodes.

In this way, it will be much more complicated for our environment, knowing exactly where we slide our finger to unlock access to the device.

Do not use a pattern with the initial of your name

Use the initial of our name as an unlock pattern It will allow us to remember it easily.

But It is a double-edged sword, since it will be the first pattern that anyone in our environment who wants to access the device will try to use.

Use the maximum number of nodes

As I mentioned above, most users use a maximum of 5 nodes to create the unlock pattern.

Although, obviously, it is better than using the minimum required (4) we can extend its length and difficulty using as much as possible (9).

The longer the pattern more difficult The friends of the alien will have it when it comes to tracking the slide we make with our finger on the screen.

Other methods to protect the device


As technology has evolved, the number of options we have at our disposal to block access to our device has been increased, although some classics such as the PIN code are still maintained.

El PIN code to block access to a terminal can contain 4 or 6 numbers. But, in addition, some manufacturers also allow us to enter numbers and letters as if it were a password.

Another method, much more comfortable than the unlock pattern, is to use the fingerprint sensor have the device. This unlocking method is also supported by a code or pattern, a code that we must enter when we restart our device and when it does not recognize our fingerprint.

The easiest and most convenient method to unlock access to a device is to use the facial recognition. If this fails or does not correctly detect our face, the device will request the unlock code or pattern that we have entered.

Regardless of the method to unlock our device, in the end, it is always necessary to use a PIN code or unlock pattern when the facial or fingerprint recognition system does not recognize us correctly.

What happens if I forget the unlock pattern

The only method to regain access to a device if we have forgotten the unlock pattern or PIN code is through restore it from scratch, thus losing all the information that is stored inside.

the only manufacturer that allows us to recover access to a terminal from which we have forgot unlock pattern or PIN code is Samsung.

The content of the article adheres to our principles of editorial ethics. To report an error click here.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *



  1. Responsible for the data: Miguel Ángel Gatón
  2. Purpose of the data: Control SPAM, comment management.
  3. Legitimation: Your consent
  4. Communication of the data: The data will not be communicated to third parties except by legal obligation.
  5. Data storage: Database hosted by Occentus Networks (EU)
  6. Rights: At any time you can limit, recover and delete your information.