Prior to the introduction of 'Device Protection' (which is still not available in android KitKat and lower android versions), anyone having your phone was able to reset it to factory settings by doing a hard reset in android system recovery mode. So, these phones at that time were not hard reset-proof. Google's idea behind implementing the 'Device Protection' feature is to make them hard reset-proof. So no one can use it even after a factory reset in recovery mode.
Google launched android 5.1.1 with 'Factory Reset Protection' which is a security component of 'Device Protection' followed by another security feature i.e. Google's 72-hour lockout. Both of these security features are automatically activated on a locked bootloader right after an unauthorized attempt to reset your android phone.
How Does Factory Reset Protection Works On Android Lollipop And Android Marshmallow
Whenever you reset your android Lollipop/Marshmallow smartphone in android system recovery mode then everything is deleted except the previously synced Google account. This situation is automatically followed by a 72-hour device lockup. Now when FRP is activated then during phone setup Google will ask you for the previously synced Google account credentials to verify account ownership. Without entering the account information, you can not unlock the android phone. And the bad news is that once the FRP is activated then you have to wait for full 3-days. So that you can unlock the phone with your Google account.
But even Google and Android Police says that the 72-hour lockout is only initiated if a password change is encountered. But it is active by default. You can read about the Android Police article here and for Google Support go here.
Why You Have To Wait For 72-Hours Before You Can Unlock Your Phone
The logic is simple. Suppose someone grabs your phone and performs a hard reset. This person can be a thief. Now when he performs a hard reset, then the phone records this unauthorized attempt. It stores this information somewhere in the internal storage. Now when the device boots up it automatically asks for Wi-Fi network and this step can not be skipped.
When the phone is connected to the network it sends this stored info to Google servers. On receiving this info, Google takes action by locking your phone for 72-hours. During this time, a thief can not use your phone. And it does not matter whether he knows your password or not because entering right credentials during this lockout period is of no use.
Actually, Google is giving you 3 days to take control of your account if someone gets your android phone, performs a factory reset and possibly changes your password. So during this 72-hour lockout period, you can recover your account and change the password again to make the situation even harder for the thief. Without entering the right Google account information, the thief can not even use the phone. He can only use the phone as a paperweight.
How Can You Unlock The Phone After Factory Reset Protection Is Activated
Factory Reset Protection also troubles the genuine owners once it is activated. Because you have to wait for complete 3-days, so that you can use the phone again. If you are trapped in Google's 72-hour lockout then follow the tips below to unlock your phone.
- Just sit back and relax for full 3 days.
- Use the same Wi-Fi router to login into your account from your phone.
- For the first 2 days keep logging into the locked android phone with your previously synced account and new password. Use the same Wi-Fi router or network.
- On the final third day login into the phone only after the 72-hours are over.
- Your account and password will be accepted this time and phone will be unlocked.
- Now you have to go through the normal android setup after the phone is unlocked.
Can You Bypass Factory Reset Protection On Android LollipopThere is exactly no way to do this. However, Samsung phone's were shown to bypass this protection feature by using an OTG flash drive. This OTG flash drive contains an app that launches the device's 'Settings'. From 'Settings' it is possible to unlock the bootloader. Then again performing a hard reset bypasses this security.
Can You Disable Factory Reset Protection On Android Lollipop And Android MarshmallowYes, you can disable it. Just go to 'Settings>Developer Options'. Here enable 'Allow OEM Unlocking'. When this option is enabled you can freely perform a hard reset. Factory Reset Protection will not be activated. But, I won't recommend you to do this. Because if a thief gets your phone with an unlocked bootloader then he can use your phone after doing a factory reset in recovery mode. It is up to you whether you want to disable it or keep it always enabled.
How To Play Safe With Android's Factory Reset ProtectionI know that this security feature sometimes becomes an overkill for the real owners of android phones. Because they can't use the phone for 3-days once this protection is activated. Disabling this security feature is not recommended. Below are some tips to prevent this security feature from troubling you.
- Always 'Factory Reset' the phone from the Settings.
- Always remember your Google account details.
- If you have changed the password, then do not factory reset the device.
- Never delete the associated Google account.
I think, I have covered the topic in detail. If you have any questions regarding the Factory Reset Protection then ask via comments.