(Please kindly note that this review article is originally comes from Suhail: https://softwarepen.wordpress.com/2016/05/12/app-review-applock-domobile-labs/#)
Mobile phones are meant to be personal devices but they rarely stay that way. They get handed around to show off photos, to watch videos, or to play games. Now while handing over, the owner might not be comfortable with people prying into his personal stuff.
That’s where AppLock comes in handy. Lock what you don’t want to be spied upon, and leave the rest of the phone as it is.
Today, we’re gonna check out AppLock developed by DoMobile Labs.
Installation is pretty straight forward and simple, just go to Google Play, type in ‘AppLock’ and the first result you see is the AppLock by DoMobile (below the ad). This shows how popular the app is to come at #1 in search results.
The app lock is small in size as well, just 2.5MB which does not add a burden to your limited data plan.
Functionality and User Interface
On opening the app for the first time, you are requested to save a pattern, confirm it and optionally add a security email.
After the above steps are completed, we are presented to the main screen where list of apps are given with their lock status.
There’s also an option of ‘vault’, where you can store media files which should not be shown in the gallery 😏😆
The app has taken its attempt on the material design, but I have mixed feelings about this. According to me, the app follows material design, but not fully. The current design would suffice, but a 100% material design would really be a sight to the eye.
App locking is pretty simple – you just click on the lock button and voila – it is locked.
However, the first time, you are requested to give it usage access.
Once that is done, you can lock apps without hassle.
And yes, it works pretty much alright 😀
You can try patterns endless times I guess, I tried 10 wrong ones before the correct pattern, and the app didn’t do a lock out (like try again in 30 seconds) or give out any warning.
The photo vault also works pretty self explanatory. However, a major bug I found is, moving to vault only removes the picture from the gallery, it is still visible if you open from a decent file explorer.
As you can see, the hidden photos are visible from the file manager. But there was no trace of it in the gallery.
I guess it is the same for video vault, so not checking that out.
However, the developer reached out to us and clarified it was not a bug of the app, but a limitation of android. Starting Android 4.4, apps are not given permission to write on SD card, this is what causes that issue. The fix is pretty simple, you just need to transfer the media to internal memory and then move to vault. Then no trace of the media is found.
Also, on further messing around with the app, I found that vault is a premium feature and you need ads enabled to use vault or any other premium feature without paying.
There’s also pretty cool features such as time lock and location lock, which can lock/unlock your apps based on the time and location status. But, they require a premium subscription.
3 modes of subscription is possible, they are as follows. The below screen is accessible from account center.
Now since I’m from India, the currency shown is in Indian Rupees. Rs.50 comes a little below $1 and Rs.370 comes to $5.5
So the yearly subscription is kinda giving a ~50% discount from the monthly rate
However, you could always avail the premium feature via ads. I do not know the nature of ads they show, whether banner or popup or whatsoever since I have ad block on my device.
Now here’s why you should go for the premium!
There’s also an option to switch between pattern and pin and its free 🙂
Another handy feature is to hide app lock, and summon it from your dialer or browser. But as with most cool features of this app, it requires a premium.
Even if you are a basic user, this app performs pretty well and does its job. To unlock full potential, you need to go premium. And the best part is – paying is optional, if you do not mind the ads. If you do, then you’ll have to shell out ~$5-6 per year.
During my use I couldn’t find any major hiccups, the app was friendly to use and most things were self explanatory.
However, the vault could be improved so as to show no trace at all of the hidden files (here we could see them on ES Explorer)
Another suggestion is that these days even if app lock unlock prompts, people request the owner to unlock it. Some people get the cue – its hidden because the owner doesn’t want you to see it. But some people fail to notice the owner’s reluctance to open it. So instead of immediately showing unlock pattern, a distraction could be made – like a black stuck screen or Force Close dialog and then when the preset action is performed, the app is opened.
Last but not the least, a 100% material design would also be great!
Overall, I think this is a well crafted app, and it does its job beautifully.