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How to use your smart lock safely



Smart lock is one of the foundations of smart home movement. Masters like August Yale and Schlage have given us smart locks that work with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit. Smart locks add convenience and the ability to know what's happening to your front door anywhere, but there are some risks. Here are some great tips to keep your smart lock safe.

Use a Voice Unlock PIN

If your smart lock is connected to a voice assistant, make sure you use a PIN to unlock it with voice commands. It is a stretch, but it is possible to create solutions with IFTTT to avoid using the PIN. It is also possible for someone outside your home to ask your voice assistant to unlock the door if they only have a few pieces of information about your device.

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Chris Monroe / CNET

You can read more about this here but with a PIN code for voice unlocking is an absolute must for smart lock protection. By default, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa require a spoken voicemail PIN, and you can use one with multiple smart locks, including August Smart Lock Pro Kwikset Obsidian and Yale's Assure SL Touchscreen Deadbolt .

Creating Codes for Individuals

Individual codes are a great way to not only ensure your safety but also to keep track of who comes and goes from your home. It's a good idea not to send out just one code for friends, family, guests, and commercial services. Most locks include the option for at least 10 codes. Some, like Nest X Yale lock allow an unlimited number of individual codes.

Consider having a code for each household member, one for guests and one for professional services. With the Smart Lock program you get to know which code or user unlocked the door in an activity history log in the company app.

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The Nest X Yale lock contains an unlimited number of user codes.


Chris Monroe / CNET

Benefit From Scheduling

Many Smart Locks, like Array by Hampton include the ability to schedule these codes. This means that you can set the dog whale code only to be valid from 10:00 to 2:00 pm. Monday to Friday.

If you rent the home or have guests staying this weekend, you can create an outgoing code that will work all the time on the day between the set calendar dates. This allows you to give you access to your home for those who need it, but only during the period when they need it and no more.

Enable Extra Features

There are a handful of additional smart lock features to keep you even safer. Decoy number, like those on Kwikset Obsidian is a number that can be lit on a keypad before entering your code. Writing the decoder numbers, which vary, before your code means you use more of the keyboard over time and make it harder to be intruders from guessing your code based on fingerprints or carrying the keys.

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The Kwikset Obsidian includes lock figures prompted before entering your personal code.


Tyler Lizenby / CNET

Auto Relock is a simple feature that many locks offer that lock the door after a certain time, which means that if you leave the house without remembering to lock the door, your smart lock will do it for you.

Keep firmware updated

Last but definitely not least, keep your smart lock and its companion up to date. Manufacturers can use software and firmware updates to correct any security issues and improve lock performance. Check your apps regularly and update at any time where new firmware or software is available.

Having a smart lock can be a lifesaver when you need a friend or family member to drop something off or look at your home while you are away. As good as smart locks can be and as stylish because some smart locks look it is still important to adjust the settings from the box to create the safest home for you.

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