[Android 7 & 8] Lock Screen Issues - Statement and Q&A

We have received multiple notifications in the past weeks about an error that is occurring in the Android version of Prey’s application. In the past two weeks, we have been working on multiple efforts and updates to resolve this issue. The issue at hand causes an impromptu lock screen on the device, which prevents the user from effectively using the phone until a password/PIN is entered.

As this is a crucial active issue that is currently being resolved and worked on by our developers, we are going to provide a thorough breakdown of the situation, the measures we will take in the upcoming days to fix the issue, and what you can do today to circumvent this problem with a temporary fix. We apologize deeply for the inconvenience this issue is causing for some of our users, and understand the urgency and importance of resolving it as soon as possible. It is now being treated as an active development emergency and all efforts are directed to this event.

If you have been affected by this error, please read further below and follow the instructions necessary to contact us and troubleshoot your device:

What happened?
An error appeared in version 2.2.6, and continued to be present in the version 2.2.7 and 2.2.8 of the application after two revised versions of the app were released. The error triggers a feature “Prevent Power OFF” for Android, which activates a screen lock that originally would request a PIN created by the user. This error only triggers on devices in which the user effectively activated the PIN, which unlocks this feature.

However, even if it is triggered when the user has activated the PIN before, this lockscreen’s error doesn’t detect the PIN defined by the user, and thus the user is unable to disable the lock and unlock the device manually.

What are the devices affected?
This issue affects all smartphones running the Android operating system under the version 7 or 8. If Prey was installed, and the security PIN setting that blocks turning-off attempts was activated, then your device could be subject to the unexpected lockscreen.

My device is blocked. How can I fix it?
We may be able to fix it with a forced update from our own servers by adding you to the Beta testing list for the Play Store. To perform this update, send us an email to [email protected] with the following data:
* Model of the device
* Android version
* Email of the Google Play account associated with the device
* Prey account (email)

Why can’t you solve this problem right now with a new version of Prey for Android?
Google takes a couple of days to publish the version with the Prey solution. Therefore, as soon as our developer team uploads the new version there will be an approval period in which we will have to wait until it is visible to all users.

My Android device is capable of triggering the issue but it hasn’t happened to me yet. What can I do to prevent it?
You should turn off the “Prevent Power OFF” feature immediately. To do that, enter your Prey setting directly on your device, use your credentials and disable the “prevent power off” option. If it wasn’t active, leave it at that. you shouldn’t have problems.

I have an Android 7 or 8 device with Prey installed but I never activated a security PIN for the “Prevent Power OFF” feature. Is it going to happen to me too?
We haven’t received reports of blocked Android devices that haven’t configured their security PIN for the “Prevent Power OFF” lock in Prey’s Android app. As a preemptive measure, you shouldn’t turn on the Power button lock until a new version of the app is released.

What if I have another version of Android? Should I be worried?
We haven’t received reports of this issue with other versions of Android devices, and the affected feature is not available on Android devices with Prey 9 and above due to new Android policies. If you have experienced this lock in an Android phone or tablet with a different version than 7 or 8, please notify us at [email protected] and we will provide assistance. You can check the current version of Android on the “Settings” app of your phone or tablet, then tapping on the “About Phone” option, and checking “Android Version” on the menu. On certain devices, you may have to select the “Software Information” option too, under “About Phone”.

1 Like