Monday, June 16, 2014

Alternative Lock Screen Security Options

With identity theft becoming more prevalent, people are beginning to realize the need to guard their personal data whether it’s on their computers, tablets, or phones. To prevent snoopers and protect the information in your smartphone, having a lock screen is definitely a good idea. For some however, the standard lock screen options (Face/Voice Unlock, Pattern, PIN, and Password) are just not enough.

Whether you enjoy customizing every aspect of your phone, want different security choices, or simply desire to add some functionality, consider these lock screen options.

Picture Password

Many smartphone users like the idea of swiping a pattern to unlock their device. However, two frequently mentioned drawbacks of the standard Pattern lock screen is the limited number of swiping options and how tell-tale smudges on the screen can give away your pattern.

With the Picture Password app, users set a chosen background image and unique gestures as their unlock pattern. By allowing you to draw a combination of points, circles, or lines on a specific part of the image, there is a substantially greater (and thus more secure) amount of unlock patterns. Since the swiping pattern is unique, shoulder-surfers also have a harder time picking out your pattern from ordinary smudges made by other smartphone actions.

Hidden Lock

This app features a lock screen that doesn’t look like a lock screen. Hidden Lock displays a snapshot of what your phone looked like before being turned off. Your smartphone will appear unlocked but can’t be used without pressing the invisible unlock button (the location of which you set somewhere secret on the screen). If someone picks up your smartphone and attempts to use it, Hidden Lock’s setup can fool them into thinking the phone isn’t working and deter them from prying further.

NiLS Notifications

While this is technically a widget and not a lock screen app, it’s great for those who want to see all their notifications without having to unlock their phone. NiLS Notifications supports all apps that create standard notifications, including emails, text messages, missed calls, and Facebook alerts. It is also quite customizable in terms of background, text color, opacity, and notification size.

Samsung devices are unable to use Pin or Pattern lock security with lock screen widgets; however, the app explains workarounds like the NiLS floating panel in its FAQ.


For those who love customization, WidgetLocker is a lock screen replacement app that really lets you individualize your lock screen. There are several built in styles as well as user themes to choose from. WidgetLocker also lets you customize the type of unlock feature you want to use, as well as block or allow certain widgets.

One of WidgetLocker’s most characteristic smartphone features includes allowing you to personalize the actions of sliders on the lock screen. This allows users to have useful slider functionality like Slide-to-Camera or Slide-to-Call a Contact. While currently $2.99 in the Google play store, WidgetLocker might be worth the price to those who want a wide range of lock screen customization.

What is your favorite Lock Screen that you use? Let me know in the comments!

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