I can't believe this very annoying feature did not come up in any of the many product reviews I read / watched for the Galaxy Watch 4. As others have remarked, unlike in (say) the Galaxy Active watches where you only the Samsung Pay app required unlocking each time you used it, with the Watch 4 if you enable either Samsung Pay or Google Pay on your watch it will need to have a display lock. If you turn the display lock off, it will wipe the cards on either app and you need to reauthorise them and turn the lock back on. The 'excuse' is oh you only need to unlock it when you put the watch on, which presumably Samsung/Google engineers thought only happens about once a day. But most of us probably take the watch off and put it back on multiple times a day - to charge, to dry if our hands got wet, etc. If you don't use the pay function regularly - and working from home, I really don't - then you're having to unlock the watch multiple times a day just to have the option to very occasionally pay for something with your watch. Just not worth having.
I have read that Google is working on an update for WearOS to keep the smartwatch unlocked when it is connected with the paired phone, forgoing the need of unlocking the watch when you have the phone with you as well. It is not 'complete freedom' but it is at least a (big) step. Google is planning on having this ready on their new Pixel. Let's hope the update rolls out onto Samsung's WearOS too (and soon).
I still think the best way would be to shield the Google Pay (now Wallet) app with a pincode and not the entire device. And disable the linked payment-card instead of removing them when the protection is removed (therefore enabling easy reactivation when protection is restored).
If true that's just a poor solution to a problem they didn't need to create in the first place. Being able to use your watch to pay for things is of significantly less utility if you have your phone on you anyway. And I wouldn't want my screen becoming pin-locked if I am away from my phone (which in a Victorian house, just means I am on a different floor...!). I can't believe it would be that difficult to have the pin-lock apply only to the Wallet and not the entire device, as it did on Tinzen-run watches (like my Active 2, in many ways a superior device to the rubbish Watch 4).
Thank you for the update ccook92. Looks like they have quietly fixed it. I just factory reset my watch 4 and whilst it asks for the PIN to start watch, it does not appear to ask for the PIN for general use of the watch. It even doesn't ask for a PIN to open Samsung Pay, which is great, as it has already recorded the PIN when you initially opened the watch at wearing time. Good work Samsung - would have been nice to place it in the software update notes whenever you fixed it.
This is no update. If this is why you reset your watch, you did it for nothing. No one in this thread claimed you needed to use a pin lock everytime you activated the screen; it is required everytime you put the watch back on, which is at least once a day for anyone using it and an imposition if you only use the pay functionality every now and then. This is a stupid design mistake that remains unaddressed. The pin should only be required for using the app, as with previous versions of the watch.
The issue for many of us is we don't want to have to unlock the watch every time we put it on... after charging for example. The novelty for me wore off pretty quick -- and I'm often in a rush somewhere at about the exact same time I'm putting the watch on. Turning off the device lock fixes this fine, but then we don't get to use Pay. Unlike the Tizen-based predecessors, you can't unlock at the time you want to make a payment.
My solution would be simply this:
You get to set a single Wear-OS PIN/pattern/whatever just like now, you can even keep the default behaviour the same as now where it protects the entire device and is required when putting the watch on (this is more secure after all).
However, add the option to only protect 'sensitive' apps (like payment apps). These apps must already be tagged in their manifests as 'sensitive' one way or another as they don't work if no pattern is set (as they should). The dropdown would look like Protect->Device (default) and Protect->Sensitive. If you wanted to get extra-fancy you could let users choose normal apps to also protect without locking down the entire device.
You're not compromising security if you do it this way. For a watch I'd think of functionality in 3 categories: non-critical (not worthy of protection at all... dispaying the time, setting alarms, that sort of thing), Normal (most apps, games, etc -- may be protected), and critical (payment apps, banking etc -- must be protected).
So, if you're already willing to allow not having a PIN set for the device (which is IMO the right decision for a watch, arguable for a phone, and very likely not a good idea for a desktop 99% of the time) then you might as well not force it on the whole device. Sensitive apps need protection in any case, and normal apps already may be unprotected.
Another option, equally effective, and slightly more secure, is to have a separate PIN for each sensitite app (like Pay). If a device PIN has already been set, you could not bother asking for the app PIN (this is how it is now, so again no reduction in security). If a device PIN isn't set, then you'd ask for the Pay PIN when it's launched in all cases. This is how your desktop works when, say, banking -- you need to login to your computer with a PIN/password/whatever, and then there's another challenge when you open your banking website.... and if you're smart you don't use the same PIN/password everywhere for obvious reasons. Anyway, doing it like this would allow the user the option to not use the same PIN for both. Either way, we wouldn't be forced to enter a PIN every time we put on our watch.
Samsung or Google, if you're listening, you're welcome.
Just received this watch today, got set up, and found this thread due to this "feature" which is actually a gigantic error. Unlocking with a PIN to use ANY FEATURE of my watch? No thanks. Deciding if I want to return, or just pray they fix this...
Yea, it does seem that if you wear the watch it won't ask again... However, I noticed that mine would still randomly lock... And in particular, the Pixel Face I use causing locks more frequently/won't show stats on widgets until I unlock again.
Okay.. figured it out. It only asks for your PIN when it detects it off of your wrist. 🤦Since I've been wearing it, if it detects you wearing it, it will not ask again. I was testing this feature without the watch on🤦