In Windows, there are many ways to lock a device and display the login screen, locking the computer so others can't use it when away from it rather than shutting it down completely. This is especially important if you're working in a shared environment to ensure someone doesn't tamper files or install malicious software. But one of these methods is the one that uses Bluetooth technology to automatically lock the device if you walk away and forget to lock it — that's what happens when you enable Dynamic Lock, so let me tell you how to enable it.
Initially, the Dynamic Lock feature isn't new to Windows, as Microsoft first introduced it with the Creators Update for Windows 10 in 2017 as a new way to lock your computer and automatically activate the Lock Screen while you're away. The feature is still present in all recent versions of Windows 10 in addition to Windows 11.
The feature uses Bluetooth technology to communicate between your computer and your smartphone and periodically checks the signal strength between the two devices. If the signal drops to a certain level, Windows assumes you've moved away from the computer and immediately activates the lock screen to prevent unauthorized access.
In short, once you pair your smartphone with your PC via Bluetooth and enable Dynamic Lock, all you have to do to lock your PC is walk away with the phone. You can try it yourself by following the following steps, assuming that you are using a laptop and therefore it supports Bluetooth technology implicitly, or you have a Bluetooth Dongle Adapter connected to your desktop computer.
Before you can enable the feature, you will need to pair your smartphone with your PC using Bluetooth, as Dynamic Lock can only connect to your phone and check the strength of the Bluetooth signal if you do. So, start by putting your smartphone, whether iPhone or Android, into pairing mode, and this is usually done by going to Settings, then Bluetooth, and activating the activate button.
On a computer, to pair devices, open the Settings app in Windows 10 or 11 and go to the Devices section and press the "Add Bluetooth or other device" button until the Add a device pop-up opens to choose "Bluetooth". After that, the name of the phone will appear in the list, and if it does not appear, make sure to activate Bluetooth again from the settings.
Once the phone name appears, tap on it and confirm the matching of the PIN code on both your phone and computer when prompted, and eventually a "Connection succeeded" message appears.
To activate the Dynamic Lock feature, open the Settings app again and head to the “Accounts” section, then click on “Sign-in options” from the menu and scroll down until you reach the “Dynamic lock” section, then put a check mark (✔) next to the existing option "Allow Windows to automatically lock your device when you're away". If you can't activate the option, you probably haven't connected your phone to your computer via Bluetooth yet.
However, Dynamic Lock will work when the previous steps are completed correctly, but unfortunately Windows does not provide any other options related to the feature. For example, there is no way to choose which device you want to rely on to run Dynamic Lock, if there is more than one Bluetooth-connected device on the computer.
To test the performance of the feature, take your phone with you and get away from the computer. After about a minute, it will automatically lock once it detects that you are out of Bluetooth range. But note that smartphones have signal strength that varies from phone to phone, so the exact distance you need to travel before the computer is locked will vary. The computer will also lock up one minute after you turn off Bluetooth on your phone, because Windows can no longer see your phone within range of nearby devices.
Now when you're back on your computer, you'll have to sign in manually - either by entering a password, typing in a PIN, or using Windows Hello for fingerprint/face recognition.