It seems as though Autolock has become an old standby for G1 (or former G1) users. It lost the limelight it had in the early days, so new users don’t have any idea how fundamental this app is to easy, everyday use of your phone. It’s worth $.99, definitely. Whether it’s worth the 2mb of RAM is up to you and your app priorities.
Google released its mobile operating system as a “bare-bones” deal. Most of it’s free and open source, Google added Market, Maps, Gmail, and YouTube. That’s it. The rest is just enough to get the phone going, and lay the foundation for developers (hardware vendors and service providers, too). That was the point, to get developers going, to drive commerce, innovation, and all those happy things that make capitalism worth sticking with. But it left us loading an app for really, really basic stuff, stuff that’s available stock in other phone OSs (but you pay for it in other ways with them. In the end, Android + downloads = less cash out of your pocket, at least for now.)
All AutoLock does is allow you to tell your phone how long it should sleep before firing up the lock screen (timed lock suppression). Without this app, either you have the lock on or off, which is either unsafe, or just a huge pain in the hiney. With AutoLock you can let your phone sit for 5 minutes before it locks, or, heck, it’s customizable (my favorite word), you can have it not lock for a whole week if you want to type in 10080 minutes. Of course, your battery will be lo-o-o-o-ng dead….
It also allows you to turn the delay on or off, while it also manages whether or not it locks by default, or leaves your phone unlocked.
Yes, it runs in the background all the time, but it has to in order to work. It would be if it were part of the OS, too, but it just wouldn’t show. Apparently it grabs parts of the OS to run, so that it does seem to need quite a bit of RAM. If you have a task/memory manager that will shut down running apps, make sure you exclude this.
Being a mom I tend to appreciate lots of things people take for granted, like my own mom, and apps so essential we forget about them. (Admittedly, I have days I’m not sure which of those I appreciate more.)
Reliability: 5 stars
Usability: 5 stars
Customization: 2 stars (I’ll give it 5 when I get a schedule or a Locale plugin)
Feature/simplicity balance: 3 stars (it’s beautifully simple….)
Ongoing memory use: Bad. 2 MB, or so it looks in Advanced Task Manager, but it’s worth it to me
Size on disk: 25.4KB
I got a Droid yesterday and am still learning how to use it, my first Android phone. Does the Droid, with Android 2, have a better default autolock application such that this isn’t necessary? The default autolock with the slider release (a la iPhone) seems to work just fine and I’m happy with it, but perhaps I’m missing something.
Great article! For people that are new to Android, we need to know these kind of things. Please have more basic tips/tricks for us newbies.
@RandyB the default lock program does not allow delayed locking. When the screen times out on your Droid, the phone is locked. When you press the lock/power button to get the screen back on, you will see the lock screen.
This app will delay the locking so the screen can timeout but not lock.. saves you from having to annoyingly unlock the phone after putting it down for only a short period
My moto cliq has this option in security settings.
I don’t know if this article only pertains to the G1
When you bring the Droid back from sleep you normally have the slider. But, if you tell it to lock the phone, when you come back from sleep you will have to enter your unlock pattern (password) which can be a pain if you have a short screen timeout. It’s a pain to turn the lock feature on and off because when you turn it off it forgets your unlock pattern so when you go to turn the lock feature back on you have to enter a new unlock pattern.
It sounds like this app will ease some of the pain caused by this setup.
Cool application. Bought it to try it out, but looks to me like it uses way more than 2MB. Astro File Manager reports it to be using ~16.8MB! Seems like that is WAY too much.
This doesn’t really help if you use FlyScreen. FlyScreen still goes on after like a minute anyway.
Thanks for the review! Locale support has been on my TODO list, but I’ll consider it a top priority to get that 5-star customization rating ;)
What other features would you guys want?
I’ve heard about disabling the keyguard (either press MENU to unlock or slide to unlock depending on your device/version), but that’s a bit more difficult and brittle.
Please feel free to send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy!
Anyone else scan the QR Code and it couldn’t find the app in the market?
Does the screen still lock if you turn it off with the End key? If not I’d like that option.
Colin, if you press the END key, the screen will lock after your set timeout value, not immediately. Are you asking for a setting so the screen will lock immediately after pressing the END key?
FWIW, you can add a shortcut to the Home screen to force locking immediately.
That’s exactly it. Basically I want to be able to lock the screen just by pressing the End key, but if I leave the phone sitting on my desk while doing something, I’d like to give myself a few minutes before it locks itself. Maybe it could be toggle-able option with the End key function? Mostly I see this being useful if I want to drop the phone in my pocket after being done with it and not worrying about accidentally pressing the call key for the first minute or however long i set my timeout to.
I know can put the shortcut on the screen, but I am very picky about the layout and use of the shortcuts I use, so I don’t think that would be a viable option for me.
Love the articles but when will write up’s about apps be placed under the apps tab.
gotta love a dev who uses “brittle” in the context of coding.
@Aaron: I think that’s the total memory used you’re looking at. I ran Autolock, and then ended it to find out the difference.
Great review, keep them coming, as they are a great help to us newbies to Android. There is allot out there and it takes a while to find what we need. This app isn’t for me, but others could be :)
Does this mean ‘lock’ as in shut the screen off and make you draw your unlock pattern?
AutoLock 2.0 has support for Locale. Enjoy!
I second Colin’s suggestion of having the end key force lock the phone. That way, this app can be set to something like 15 or 30 minutes, or more, to keep the phone from locking while talking on it or while at home, but then it can be immediately locked when not at home in case it gets misplaced, preventing access by others.
Also, I can’t find 2.0, just 1.1.1 and 1.3.