The really scary thing about having a smartphone is the fact that it rapidly becomes a crucial part of your life. Having had one for a few years, I’ve now noticed that I rely on it for a huge amount of personal and professional work and services. I’ve not yet added mobile banking (and probably never will), but apart from that, there’s tons of stuff on my phone, including email, messaging and certain apps, which I prefer other people, even family, not to see.
Which is why I recently installed AppLock, which is a free Android app which lets you lock any or all of the applications on your phone with either a password, PIN or pattern. You get to set the exact level of security you want or need, including time-out settings so you don’t continuously hit the security password every few seconds if your screen saver kicks in.
Setup takes around 10 minutes, and crucially you can fine tune the settings to something that suits you completely. I use it to back up the Face Unlock on my handset, so that even if someone can spoof that, they then have to go through another layer of security to get at the important apps. Unhackable? No, not really, but it should be enough to protect against casual or amateur skullduggery.
The only thing it doesn’t yet do is secure your photo gallery from inside the camera app, which means you have to annoyingly lock the whole camera app if you’re concerned about fully privatizing your images. Nevertheless, it’s a great tool to have on your phone for day to day use. Just in case your handset ends up missing one day.
[AppLocker does similar for the iPhone, but you need a jailbroken phone]