We're getting down to the wire now with Android 14 developments, and today's Beta 4 release means we've got just a couple more builds left until we're ready for it to go official. Understandably, that means that Google's not so much interested in introducing bold new features right now, and what we're seeing is more along the lines of polishing up stuff we've been following for a while. That's exactly what's happening on Android 14's lock screen, as Beta 4 finally implements a user-accessible "auto-confirm unlock" toggle.
If that sounds familiar to you, it's because we already checked out this functionality in Beta 2. Back then, the only way to use it was to send the phone a command over an ADB link. With Beta 4, Google gives us a nice, convenient toggle in screen lock settings, as spotted by Android expert Mishaal Rahman.
Normally, your lock screen expects you to hit the enter arrow after inputting your PIN — it's only at that point that your phone checks to see if the PIN is genuine. That's important from a security perspective for a few reasons. For one, it keeps an attacker in the dark as to your PIN's length, making any brute force attack try more guesses, slowing it down. It also helps mitigate attackers trying to get around rate-limiting restrictions — someone could casually try all 4-digit combinations until one was accepted, without ever needing to actually hit enter (since the system also supports longer PINs).
Google's no fool, and doesn't want you trading too much security for speed, even when you elect to use this option. That's exactly why it's restricted to PINs of six digits or more — that long, and any possible speed boosts enjoyed by attackers would be just utterly outweighed by the size of the much larger keyspace.
If that trade-off sounds good to you, and maybe you were already rocking a longer-than-average PIN, you can go ahead and select "auto-confirm unlock" from lock screen settings to give it a go for yourself. If you're not beta testing just yet, have a little patience, and odds are good we'll see this option stick around for the final release of Android 14.