Raise your hand if the following awkward scenario ever happened to you. 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 this is someone you know (family or friends), it would be strange not to hand over the phone. Then again, they might stumble onto something they’re really not supposed to see. Or perhaps you have a new person in your life that is just a bit too curious – that happens, too. If any of these scenarios sound familiar, you may want to check out App Protector Pro [No Longer Available].
This handy little app lets you protect any application on your Android device with either a pattern or a text password. You can protect multiple applications, and best of all, you can switch protection on and off very quickly. This is brilliant, because your device is not locked: The other person can play with it, run games, test out applications and to whatever they want, as long as they don’t try to launch a “sensitive” application. When they do, they get a password prompt. So, if they won’t try to read your email (for example), they won’t even realize the device is protected.
App Protector Pro isn’t free – it costs around $2 on the Market, but it is so good we decided to include it in our Best of Android page.
When you launch App Protector Pro, it asks for your pattern or password (you get to configure this on the first launch of the app). The pattern looks just like the Android unlock pattern – you draw it on a grid of nine dots. This doesn’t have to be the same pattern you use to unlock your device, though (and you don’t need a device unlock pattern to use App Protector Pro).
Once in App Protector, you can see the list of applications that are currently protected:
As you can see, I opted to protect privacy-sensitive applications (Gmail, Messaging), as well as critical system apps (Settings, Titanium Backup, Market). I included my alarm clock (Gentle Alarm) just because it would be no fun to realize someone messed with my alarm settings “by mistake” (or not). Better safe than sorry, especially when talking about waking up at 4am because someone thought it might be funny (not that this ever happened to me).
Adding applications to the protection list is easy; just hit the Modify Protection List button to pop up this screen:
The checkbox next to each app means you can just go through the list once, check all of the apps you want to protect, and hit Done.
The Protection Options screen is where you set a password or pattern lock, re-locking options, and more.
It also lets you choose between two different locking modes:
If you enter the password or pattern to unlock an application, should that make all other applications accessible, too? There’s no “right” answer for this question, which is why you get to decide. There is just a bit of Engrish in the dialog:
But even if you don’t “Be Caution”, this is still an awesome app. Last but not least, let’s look at my favorite part of the app, its tiny widget.
Look, my Polar Bear has a widget! Right now, all apps on my phone work as usual, and launch normally – protection is disabled. Now let’s say someone comes along and asks to look at the phone; no problem – all it takes is a single tap of the lock:
That’s it! All of my sensitive applications will now require a password or a pattern to launch. Needless to say, disabling the widget also requires a password or pattern.
What do you think of App Protector Pro? I know there are many clones on the Market, but I don’t know of a better app protector. Do you? If so, what makes it better?