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Evaluating the effect of multi-touch behaviours on Android unlock patterns

Weizhi Meng (Department of Computer Science, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong and Infocomm Security Department, Institute for Infocomm Research, Singapore)

Information and Computer Security

ISSN: 2056-4961

Article publication date: 11 July 2016




This paper aims to evaluate the effect of multi-touch behaviours on creating Android unlock patterns (AUPs) by realising that users can perform more actions in touch-enabled mobile phones.


The author conducted two user studies with a total of 45 participates and performed two major experiments in the main user study.


The user study indicates that the multi-touch behaviours can have a positive impact on creating patterns; however, there are only nine touchable points for the original AUPs, which may reduce the usability when performing a multi-touch movement.

Research limitations/implications

An even larger user study could be conducted to further analyse the patterns generated by users, that is, to analyse the specific password space by integrating the behaviours of multi-touch and to involve more types of multi-touch behaviours in creating an AUP.

Practical implications

This work explores the effect of multi-touch movement on creating AUPs. The results should be of interest for software developers and security researchers for exploring the effect of multi-touch behaviours on the creation of graphical passwords on mobile phones.


The author conducts two user studies with a total of 45 participants to investigate the impact of multi-touch behaviours on creating AUPs. In addition, to address the issue of usability, the author proposes two ways: increasing the number of touchable points and improve the rules of pattern creation.



I would like to thank all participants for their hard work in the user study and all anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments in improving this article.


Meng, W. (2016), "Evaluating the effect of multi-touch behaviours on Android unlock patterns", Information and Computer Security, Vol. 24 No. 3, pp. 277-287.



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