TECH TIPS: 12 best Android lock screen apps and widgets to reinvent your phone

The Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper - - News - (Scott Adam Gordon, AndroidPIT)

THE LOCKSCREEN on your Android device isn't just there to look good. It's also an important navigational screen, which you can use to jump straight to the features you use the most. Standard lock screens are fine, but check out our list of the best Android lock screen apps and widgets if you want to make unlocking your phone more fun and functional.

1. Hi Locker

Hi Locker's offers a CyanogenMod-style quick launcher that works by holding and swiping over to one of your favorite apps to quickly open it from the lock screen. It has 3 styles of lock screen: classic, Lollipop and iOS, and a separate screen dedicated to your calendar, where you can quickly view upcoming events. It's got a decent array of ways to customize it, too, including custom greetings, different fonts, and automatic wallpaper changes.

2. LokLok

LokLok is a fun idea, but your friends need to get involved too if you want to get the most out of it. LokLok lets you draw on your lock screen and then send the drawing as a message to a friend who uses the same app. This message will then appear on their lock screen for them modify and send back to you, if they wish.

LokLok is still in beta, and you can't set up a PIN code with it just yet, meaning it's not a great lock screen app for security. But as a free, fun way to send messages, it's definitely worth a shot.

3. Next Next News News Lock Lock Screen

Next News is a news feed delivered direct to your lock screen, which you can customize to make sure you always see the stories you care about. Select from a list of categories, such as sports or entertainment, and they will be displayed on your lock screen for you to swipe through. Just tap and hold on a story to open it up.

Like LokLok, Next News still in beta stage and isn't without its bugs, but it's certainly a unique lock screen idea.

4. CM Locker

CM Locker has a slide-to-unlock function, à la iOS, as well as powersaving feature that cleans out batter-draining apps directly from the lock screen. You can choose to use a pin or pattern to unlock your device, and there's an intruder alert feature that will take a photo of anyone who unsuccessfully attempts to unlock your phone. It's a no-nonsense screen locker that lets you control your music playback, view recent messages and check the weather forecast and it comes highly recommended.

5. SlideLock Locker

Are you an iPhone escapee who still feels a bit sentimental towards Apple's slide-to-unlock lockscreen? Fret not, because this fantastic lock screen app will fill that slider-shaped hole in your life. Using SlideLock, you can unlock your Android device by sliding from left to right along the bottom of the screen. You also get actionable notifications just like in Lollipop, which you can tap to go to them or swipe to dismiss them. Sliding from right to left takes you straight to the camera.

6. Semper

The app formerly known as UnlockYourBrain turns unlocking your phone into something quite valuable. It uses the 80 or so times you unlock your phone every day to keep your brain ticking using simple maths and vocabulary exercises. Does this mean you can't access your phone if you don't know what 12 x 8 is, or what 'el amigo' translates to? No, thankfully UnlockYourBrain lets you skip questions and access your phone anyway, so no pressure.

7. Next Lock Screen

Microsoft's new philosophy of going cross-platform and cross-OS with its software has been paying dividends, and Next Lock Screen is another fine example of Microsoft's design acumen complementing the Android ecosystem.

Next Lock Screen looks elegant and simple, but beneath the surface it's cleverly calculating which apps you're most likely to use based on your location (home, work and so on), then presenting you said apps. You don't need to use this feature of course, but Next is still worth using for its neat presentation of notifications, calendars and other key phone functions.

8. AcDisplay

Plenty of lock screen apps go for a minimal look, but none do it quite as well ad AcDisplay. Small icons appear for notifications, and you simply hold your finger on one of these icons to see the notification in more detail, after which you swipe down to dismiss it. AcDisplay even uses your device's sensors to detect when it's in your pocket or in use, so the screen switches on and off accordingly.

9. C Locker Pro

C Locker Pro is a sizable lock screen package that offers a ton of features and shortcuts to refine your lock screen. There are more than 30 custom shortcuts you can create to make calls, access apps or read notifications from your preferred social networks. One of our favorite options is being able to double- or tripletap your screen to turn it off – a feature usually reserved for high-end phones.

10. Echo Notification Lockscreen

Echo displays messages is a sleek, minimally-designed lock screen that gives you a fine level of control over what you see and have instant access to. As you can see in the picture, you can create notification categories, such as 'work', 'media' and 'social', and choose which apps go in them. This means you have access to many more apps directly from the Echo lock screen than you would from a default Android one.

11. Dynamic Notifications

DynamicNotifications is a subtle lock screen app that's easy on the eyes as well as on your phone's battery. By default, it has a plain black background, and notifications only switch your screen on when the phone is not in your pocket, bag or face down. This app doesn't actually have to be used as a lock screen, but the option exists if you buy the premium version (US$1.99). You can customize what what happens to notifications when you swipe them, and also set a 'night mode', in which you won't receive notifications when you're asleep.

12. GO Locker

This beast of a lock screen package offers one of the largest selection of themes of any lock screen app. It claims to have more than US$900 worth of themes (some are free, some not), and offers a range of ways to unlock your phone and present the apps you want to access most quickly. The option of shortcuts to toggle Bluetooth or mobile data on and off from the lock screen is a nice touch.

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