Android Users Could Soon Remotely Brick Their Smartphones

Android users have a new safeguard that will play spoilsport for thieves in the event one accidentally loses their precious smartphone - they can remotely brick the device.

Previously, if Android-powered handset owners lose their device, they would need to log in to the Android Device Manager and remotely wipe clean any information on the smartphone. Thanks to this feature, the thief is unable to access the user's sensitive information.

Now Google is taking things a notch higher and the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) and has added a new option, which will let the user remotely brick their handset. This would render the Android smartphone unbootable for anyone who chances on the device, making it useless.

On Friday, June 3, Google merged Change 235361 into AOSP, which basically brings support for bricking a device.

"Google developers recently merged a commit to AOSP that allows you to brick your smartphone via recovery mode. This feature will also be accessible via Android Device Manager too, and it is designed to let you securely wipe all partitions of your lost smartphone or tablet. This will need to be supported by OEMs though, as they'll need to designate the partitions in /etc/recovery.brick," notes XDA Developers.

The change will not only enable an OEM to create partitions, which can be wiped remotely by users, but it will also empower users to brick their handset through the recovery option.

Remote bricking will disable thieves from gaining access to account details and personal data. So if you're sure that you have zero chances of getting your lost or misplaced smartphone back, the feature is a viable one.

On another note, if remote bricking can be undone in case the handset is recovered, the feature will go down even better with Android users.

At this juncture, it is not known if Google will make the remote bricking feature available in the Android Device Manager for the consumer Android-powered models in the near term.

Will we see the feature get implemented in Android N? Only time will tell.

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