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Ever been locked out of your Android because you couldn’t remember the password? And then there’s the other scenario where you gave your PIN to someone else, defeating the purpose of locking your Android — or maybe someone saw you type it in. TimePIN changes the game with a PIN that is always updating, and has a few tricks up its sleeve to make it more secure.

Passwords are more secure than pattern locks Which Is More Secure, A Password Or a Pattern Lock? Which Is More Secure, A Password Or a Pattern Lock? Our smartphones carry a lot of personal information. All of your text messages, emails, notes, apps, app data, music, pictures, and so much more are all on there. While it's a very great convenience to... Read More because the permutations and combinations of the sequences used are higher. TimePIN raises that bar even further with a PIN that changes with each minute, which means even if you gave away your secret code right now, that person won’t be able to unlock your Android phone or tablet later using the same PIN later.

How TimePIN Works

Timepin-unlock-screen

TimePIN changes the PIN according to your device’s clock at that moment. So if it’s 9:20 in the morning right now, your PIN will be 0920 by default. One minute later, the PIN will be 0921. Cool, right?

There are two advantages to this. First, with an always-updating PIN, you never have to worry about giving it out right now because it’s going to change later (and you don’t have to do it yourself). Second, you don’t have to worry about remembering your PIN because all you need to do is look at the clock and key in that number.

Apart from time, you can also choose to use the current date—and choose between US or UK date formats. But obviously, this only updates once a day and isn’t as secure as setting it by time. Plus, it’s only available in the $1.99 Pro upgrade, so it might not be worth it for many people.

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timepin-default-pin-settings

However, do note that TimePIN also has a universal PIN that you need to set the first time you run it. This universal code is independent of your current time or any modifiers you set. At any point, you can just key in the universal PIN and unlock your device.

TimePIN only works to lock your full Android device, it doesn’t have per-app protection. For that, App Protector Pro is a good way to keep prying aways off your personal data Keep Prying Eyes Off Your Personal Data With App Protector Pro [Android] Keep Prying Eyes Off Your Personal Data With App Protector Pro [Android] You’re sitting somewhere fiddling with your phone, when suddenly someone gets all excited. "Hey, is that the new [insert model here]? Can I see it?!" If this is a stranger, they’re obviously crazy. But if... Read More .

Making TimePIN More Secure

timepin-modifiers-internal-settings

Now, you might think that since your PIN is the current time, and that’s displayed in big bold numbers on the display, a smart cookie might be able to figure out the connection and unlock your Android. Don’t worry, TimePIN has enough in it to outsmart anyone.

In the app’s settings, you will find an option for “Modifiers.” There are four modifiers to make your PIN a little more complicated than just the default time: Double, Mirror and Reverse modifiers are all free. The Offset modifier is part of premium upgrade at $1.99.

  • Offset is a number you choose that is added to or subtracted from the current time to give your PIN. Going with the 09:30am example, an offset of +10 would make your PIN 0940.
  • Double is basically a repeater. By default, all time-based PINs are 4 digits because time is recorded in four digits. The Double modifier makes you repeat that 4-digit pin. So 0930 becomes 09300930–the same pin typed twice.
  • Mirror is like Double, but instead of just repeating, it reverses and repeats the time such that it’s in the right order first and the reverse order second. So 9:30 becomes 09300390.
  • Reverse is a simple one, inverting the order of the current time. So 09:30 becomes 0390.

You can use one or all of these modifiers at the same time. When multiple modifiers are used, they are applied in the order listed in the app.

But No Widgets

The one down side to using TimePIN is that you have to say goodbye to your lock screen widgets. It doesn’t support any third-party widgets so you can’t get your information at a glance from excellent lock screen widgets 5 Excellent Lock Screen Widgets for Android 5 Excellent Lock Screen Widgets for Android One of the perks of having an Android device is that you can natively add widgets to your home screen. Some widgets are highly specific and only useful situationally, but then there are those amazing... Read More .

That said, if your Android has sensitive information you don’t want others to see, one of the important security tips Improve Your Android Lock Screen Security With These 5 Tips Improve Your Android Lock Screen Security With These 5 Tips You're perhaps reading this thinking "hah, no thanks MakeUseOf, my Android is secured with a lock screen pattern – my phone is impregnable!" Read More is to not use lock screen widgets.

Who Should Use TimePIN

timepin-pin-lock

If you ask me, everyone can benefit from using TimePIN. It’s a simple system and gives you more protection than a regular PIN-based lock screen, plus it’s completely free. And if you need added security, you can use the modifiers as you see fit to make your PIN harder to crack. What’s not to like?

Download: TimePIN for Android (Free | $1.99 in-app purchase for Pro)

Passwords are one thing, but let’s talk pattern unlocks. Many people prefer that, so if you were to make a gesture or pattern-based unlock with an always-updating idea like TimePIN, how would you make it happen?

Image credit: linusb4

  1. Robi Budiman
    April 19, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    my phone restarted automatically, and when I wanted to input my default pin, it was wrong and I couldn't input any pin to apps timepin. I am stuck with it, what should I do ?

  2. Christopher
    January 20, 2015 at 2:45 am

    la aplicación me parecía buena hasta que mi dispositivo se descargo por completo, cuando inicio el dispositivo nuevamente timepin no dejaba desbloquear, por mas intente encendiendo y apagando el dispositivo, coloque la hora correctamente y nada busco una solucion sin perder mis docs

  3. sameer kaji shrestha
    July 7, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    I forgot my universal password what can I do

  4. David L
    June 13, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    I think Google may have removed the app because of too many problems with it. I don't know but as soon as I posted about the comments in the Google store about the app permanently locking devices, you couldn't get back to the app at the store.

    • Parry
      June 14, 2014 at 11:01 pm

      They must have, David, cause I can't get to it either.

  5. Gary M
    June 13, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    This is what comes up in google play.
    "We're sorry, the requested URL was not found on this server."
    ';~)

    • Parry
      June 14, 2014 at 10:59 pm

      Same thing for me, Gary.

  6. Parry
    June 12, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    I went to Google play store and its not even there. Where do you go to get this app?
    I also clicked on the links in the article and they weren't found. What's up?!

  7. David L
    June 11, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    Is there a reason why TimePIN does not appear in the Play store anymore?

  8. David L
    June 10, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    Thank you Mihir. I think I will keep it in my wishlist for right now. The comments state from after about a month, the problems appear. If you have been working with it for about two weeks now, I will wait another 2-3 weeks. If everything is still fine from that point, do you mind commenting again on this post to let me know things are great? I really do appreciate your feedback.

    David

    • Mihir P
      June 10, 2014 at 12:39 pm

      Sure thing :)

  9. David L
    June 10, 2014 at 12:51 am

    I understand the use of the application but if you read the reviews on Google Play, a lot of people are complaining the application locks up their device to where they cannot unlock it like it is supposed to. They say not even the master pin will unlock the device which leaves them to factory reset the device. I do not want to install the application of all its going to do is prevent me from accessing the device and factory reset it. So the question remains, is the problem fixed or not?

    • Mihir P
      June 10, 2014 at 7:10 am

      Hmmm I dunno about that, tbh. I haven't had any problem with it, I've been using it for two weeks now.

  10. David L
    June 9, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    Can anyone tell me if this app is working. By reading the reviews in Google Play, it seems like this app will lock my device.

    • Mihir Patkar
      June 9, 2014 at 10:25 pm

      Well, it's meant to lock your device, right? I didn't quite understand your question.

      If you're asking if this will lock up your device and never be able to unlock it again, no, that's not the case. In case you are unsure about how the "timepin" part works, just make sure you set a master pin that you easily remember before you get a hang of the timepin parts.

  11. madazz972
    June 9, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    thats a great app.. tried it and can't do without it now...

  12. David M
    June 8, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    I used to repair drug vending machines and they used the date and time with a mathematical equation in order to enter the correct password. Neat idea. The password changed literally every minute.

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