Smart lock makers August and Yale have updated their iOS and Android smartphone apps to support biometrics verification for remote locking and unlocking operations, bringing an additional layer of security to homeowners. The new features work when the August and Yale Access apps are connected via Wi-Fi to August and Yale Assure Locks/Levers through the August Connect or Yale Connect Wi-Fi bridges, or used with the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock which has an integrated bridge. August and Yale, by the way, are sister companies under the global ASSA ABLOY brand and share some technology between their respective platforms.
We recently tested the new features on the August Smart Lock Pro and Apple iOS devices in our Digitized House integration labs.
Adding a Second Layer of Authentication
Previously, the supported August and Yale locks could be remotely actuated over Wi-Fi or mobile data after unlocking the respective mobile device at the OS level through biometric authentication (facial recognition or fingerprint) or through its passcode. With the new Secure Remote Access feature turned on, a locking or unlocking operation will force a second biometric verification—such as via Apple Face ID or Android Trusted Face—or alternatively through a prompt for the device passcode or PIN. This makes it ideal for homeowners wanting to remotely and securely open the smart door lock for a housekeeper or family member without app or keypad access.
Activating the new features is quite straightforward. From the August or Yale Access app, tap the Settings icon at the bottom of the respective lock’s home screen, then under the Security section slide the Secure Remote Access switch to on. The device should then present a biometric prompt for authentication.
In the case of Apple iOS devices, you will also need to go to iOS Settings, then scroll down to the August or Yale Access app section and switch on Face ID for the app. Of course, this assumes you have already enabled Face ID at the device level.
One caveat for this new feature: Users on the Guest List will need to be upgraded to Owner status in order to enable remote biometrics authentication. Users with Guest access can still operate the smart lock locally by using gestures in the app, or through tapping their assigned entry code on the accessory August Smart Keypad or the integrated touchpad display on Yale locks.
After testing, we found this new feature to work as expected, enabling us to securely open and close the August Smart Lock Pro when away from the labs. These remote locking or unlocking operations are also logged in the app along with all other events.
Also included in this latest August and Yale Connect app update is a Hide Entry Codes option for locks fitted with the accessory August Smart Keypad or the integrated Yale touchscreen. When activated from the same Security section in the app as the Secure Remote Access feature, Hide Entry Codes will by default prevent viewing or editing lock entry codes. Tapping the Show Entry Code check box when in the app will then elicit a biometric authentication in order to view or edit the codes.
Tom Kolnowski is the Chief Content Officer & Founder of Digitized House Media, LLC, the publisher of Digitized House | Guide to the Connected Home. When he isn’t writing about smart home technology, sustainability, and high-performance architecture, you’ll find him exploring faraway destinations with his family.