You definitely have heard so many people advise you to not secure your phone with a simple phone unlock pattern. Some of them might include scary story about the danger your data will face if your phone get stolen and end up in the hand of a very bad man.

While we can’t deny the fact that phone unlock pattern security is not the most reliable, it is still one of the most used security setting in different types of phones. The reason is simple—because it is the most convenient. We understand that we must keep our phone secure, but at the same time, we hate the idea of wasting even one or two seconds more to type four or six digit passwords.

Since there are so many dangers posing a threat to the precious data in our phone, it is necessary to ask this one important question. Is unlock pattern is still a reliable way to secure our phone? Well, unfortunately, many experts think that phone unlock pattern is the worst method to keep our data safe.

Security researchers at the US Naval Academy and the University of Baltimore County recently published a study regarding this issue. They conducted a test to compare which one is the safest between phone unlock pattern and alphanumeric codes.

To conduct their test, the researches invited 1,173 online subjects from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk crowdsourcing online. Then the subjects were instructed to watch videos of people unlocking their phone with six-digit PIN and six-point pattern from five different angles. After that, the subjects were asked whether they can recreate the PIN and pattern after observing those videos.

Their answers are pretty interesting. The test found that 64 percent of the test subjects could recreate the six-point pattern they saw in their video just by observing it once and the number rose to 80 percent after two viewing. Meanwhile, only 11 percent of the test subjects could correctly tell the six-digit PIN after one viewing and the number increases by 16 percent after the second viewing.

This test might be simple but it can tell the truth about the security of each method. The reason why it is easier for those subjects to identify the six-point phone unlock pattern is the same with why most people prefer to use pattern compared to other safer methods. Human brain can recognize pattern better compared to numbers. As a result, it is easier to remember and it is just more comfortable to repeat it over and over again every-time you need to unlock your phone screen.

However, it also means that someone can easily take a peek over your shoulder and figure out how to unlock your phone. Furthermore, if your phone is stolen, there are hundreds of applications that can be used to unlock your phone without erasing the data. So, if you keep important data in your phone and you want to protect your privacy even from your closest family member, it is best to go with other security setting other than pattern, unless the grid of the phone unlock pattern Android in your device can be expanded which allow you to make more intricate patterns.

But truthfully, even though we know that pattern is not the safest way to secure your phone, it is hard to figure out which one you should use to substitute the simple unlock pattern. Six-digit PIN is clearly a better alternative. Even though it will not stop people with access to great technology to hack into your phone and figure out your PIN, it is still a better protection.

Speaking of phone security, besides phone unlock pattern and PIN or password, we are also arriving in the era where fingerprint security and facial recognition is currently taking over. At first glance, those two methods are clearly the safest among all. But if we really want to debate whether fingerprint and facial recognition will give absolute security, of course we still can find flaws in both of them.

If your phone is stolen and the thief forces you to put your finger on the button or display your face on the screen, there is little you can do about it. Some phone and operating systems, like iOS 11 for example, provide emergency mode where will completely lock your phone that no one can force you to unlock it. But during such emergency, it might be difficult to think, let alone activate the emergency mode.

The bottom line is, up to this time, there is no method that can guarantee absolute protection for your phone. But still, it is best to use the safest method available like PIN or password over phone unlock pattern.