What is an app locker, or applocker, and what do you need an app locker for?
App lockers are great for allowing your kids to use your smartphone or tablet without allowing them full access to everything on your device. Additionally, they can be used on a child’s tablet to again restrict usage of apps that may not be appropriate. The reasons can vary from disabling the ability to purchase other apps or allow viewing of any movie on the device, to locking the internet or ability to get into settings. I should point out that this is most applicable to Android devices as iOS (Apple) does not have app lockers, but I will discuss that a bit further down.
With some systems, an app locker may be preinstalled as part of the additional software provided by the manufacturer (often known as bloatware); this is what I have used for my daughter’s tablet…the tablet that used to be mine. Other options include using the app lock feature from within in another app such as Clean Master (Speed Booster) by Cheetah Mobile or AntiVirus Security Free by AVG Mobile (for the app lock portion, there is a 30 day free trial and then available for purchase) [Note: While I have both of those apps installed, I have not tried their app lock features]. You can do a quick search on Google Play for app lock or app locker and you will have MANY options to choose from. I recently tested out AppLock from DC Mobile and it was quite simple to use and rated very highly by over 2 million users.
All in all, they tend to work the same. You select a secret code that only you (or other parents in your household) know and then you simply select which apps require that code in order to be run. Without that code, the locked apps will not be able to run.
Now, I would never suggesting relying on an app locker as a security feature for saving passwords or protecting against hackers, but they are a good secondary defense once someone is on your phone (after it has already been unlocked) to deter usage for the methods described above. Someone with a bit of knowhow can get around them as shared on the site Make Tech Easier, but for the protection of children and their access to your credit card, they are well worth having.
While Apple (iOS) does not have app lockers like Android, it does have a nifty feature built in to protect snooping on your device once you have shared it with someone. Within settings, you can restrict accessibility through Guided Access. The app will already be open, but you can block out portions of the app and keep the user on that app without the option to play around on the device. Now this solution will not work for protecting a child’s device, it will work to keep your children from playing around with your device and making any changes to settings or making purchases.
I would love to hear what other uses you have found for locking apps on your smart device.
Thanks for stopping by!
– Paul Burnstein, aka Gadget Guy MN – Tech Handyman and Digital Dad