Apps & Games

Apps & Games

10 best applocks for Android


The applock is perhaps the most rudimentary of security apps. The way it works is that it will lock up your other apps from prying eyes. That way you don’t have to worry about someone accessing your Facebook, gallery app, or banking app. They work best when paired with a lock screen lock to give you two layers of security. Which ones are worth getting? We’ll help you out with the best applocks for Android!


AppLock

Price: Free / Optional donation
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Applock by DoMobile Lab is definitely one of the best applocks out there. The app can do the basics like locking up specific apps. It can also lock up specific images and videos. It also includes uninstall protection, fingerprint support, and you can even lock stuff like incoming calls, uninstalling apps, and your various system functions like Bluetooth. The app is free to download and use. You can unlock the premium features either by enabling ads or paying for the premium version via a donation. It's a strong app and one of our favorites.
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10 best applocks for Android

AppLock (by IvyMobile)

Price: Free
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
AppLock is another one of the better applocks on Android. Like you'll see, it can lock pretty much any app on your phone. It also boasts the ability to lock photos and videos. The app features an invisible pattern lock as well as a random keyboard just in case someone is trying to peep over your shoulder. You'll also get theming, the ability to replace the icon so you can hide the app, lock frequency, and more. It'll even take a picture of people who don't put the password in right. It's completely free to download and use. That's another good perk for this one.
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10 best applocks for Android

AppLock - Fingerprint Unlock

Price: Free
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AppLock - Fingerprint Unlock is actually an app by Cheetah Mobile (makers of Clean Master). Unlike most of their apps, this one doesn't include ads, an antivirus, booster features, or any nonsense like this. It's just a simple applock that allows you to use your fingerprint scanner to lock apps. It also includes a feature that snaps a photo of the person trying to unlock your phone. The app can lock WiFi, Bluetooth, incoming calls, uninstallations, your settings, and more. It's completely free to download and check out. However, given enough time, an attacker can bypass this one. It's good for kids or friends, but might not work if your phone gets stolen.
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App Locker

Price: Free
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App Locker is a simply named app that works pretty well. It supports at pattern unlocking as well as fingerprint unlocking if your phone has that. It covers the basics like keeping your apps and settings safe and also works on images and video. This one also follows the Material Design guidelines fairly well. It looks beautiful and there are themes to change things up to suit your tastes. The developers do warn that it might not work on some Huawei and Xiaomi devices so do beware of that. Additionally, thieves can bypass this given enough time. Just something to keep in mind!
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10 best applocks for Android

App Lock: Fingerprint Password

Price: Free / $0.99
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
App Lock: Fingerprint Password is a simple and clean looking applock. It can lock up almost any app and you can use a PIN, pattern, or fingerprint to unlock them. The app also supports more than ten languages, has a variety of settings, and it can even be set to proactively protect new apps that you download. Aside from that, it's one of the more simple applocks on Android. You can download the app for free, but you'll have to pick up the pro version to get all of the features.
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10 best applocks for Android


Norton App Lock

Price: Free
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Norton is a big name when it comes to antivirus apps. As it turns out, they also provide a free app lock app. It uses a four digit PIN, password, or pattern as its lock system. It also supports photos alongside apps. The app also comes with a recommendations list that lets you know which apps should be locked. That's a great tool for those who want a more hands-off approach. Like most, it also takes a photo of anyone trying to get into your phone. It can be bypassed if the peeker is clever, but it's still one of the more solid applocks.
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10 best applocks for Android

Perfect App Lock

Price: Free / $2.84
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Perfect App Lock is another one of the better applocks out there. It features the basics, including support for locking up WiFi, Bluetooth, and other toggles. It also tries to be more clever and than most applocks because it'll do things like show fake error messages to try to trick people into thinking the problem is with the app they're trying to open instead of being protected by an app lock. The free and paid versions provide the exact same features. The only difference is that the paid version doesn't have advertising. It's a solid all around option.
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Smart AppLock

Price: Free
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Smart AppLock is another decent free applock option. It'll lock up your apps and photos, including your settings, toggles, and phone app (for phone logs) to keep all of those safe. It disguises itself as a lock screen to make people think they've been bounced back from the home screens. Along with that, it provides auto-start upon reboot, break-in alerts, delayed app locking, and it has fingerprint scanner capabilities for Samsung devices. It's a free option that is supported by advertising. The only downside is that it's pretty easy to uninstall once someone figures out that it's there.
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10 best applocks for Android

SpSoft AppLock

Price: Free / $4.99
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
SpSoft AppLock is a decent option for applocks. It features password, pattern, and fingerprint unlocking. That's good news for those with fingerprint scanners. Like many, it'll take a selfie of people who try to get into your apps and fail. It also has a bunch of fun little extras. You can make your pattern unlock show up on a grid of up to 18x18 instead of the traditional 3x3. It'll also show a fake error message instead of a lock if you want it to. The app will even keep your screen on when using certain apps if you want. It's a good option that also supports over 30 languages.
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10 best applocks for Android

Vault

Price: Free with in-app purchases
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Vault is an applock that offers a bit more functionality. On top of the basic applock feature, it also locks your SMS, photos, videos, contacts, call logs, and other info. Additionally, it offers a privacy browser (which isn't that great, just use Chrome's Incognito mode), cloud backup for your SMS, and data transfer services. It can also create fake vaults to try to confuse those that are trying to snoop, a hidden mode to make it harder to find, and break-in alerts. It's a good option for those looking for applocks that also do other things.
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10 best applocks for Android

If we missed any of the best applocks for Android, tell us about them in the comments! To see our complete list of best app lists, click here.

Hit the court with the official NBA VR app for Google’s Daydream View

The number of VR apps that can be used by phones which support Google’s Daydream View headset is still pretty small, but that list is growing. Today, Google announced that the official NBA VR app is now available to download in the Google Play Store, offering a different way to check out the pro basketball league.

See also:

Google Daydream View review

November 10, 2016

The app itself puts you in the center of your own fancy virtual sports lounge, which can be viewed in 360 degrees. The app allows users to watch highlight videos from recent NBA games on a virtual big TV screen. The app also features player and team statistics from games.

Perhaps the more interesting news is that the NBA VR app is the home to an original weekly interview series,  House of Legends. Each week, you can see famous basketball players talk about their career, and other topics, as if they were sitting in front of you in your virtual lounge. The series begins with a chat with Robert Horry, and future episodes will feature interviews with players like Chauncey Billups, Baron Davis and others.

The NBA VR app does not yet offer access to view live games, but Daydream View owners can also check out the NextVR app. It does offer, among other things, at least one live NBA game every week through the VR app, although you do have to pay $199 to get access to those games via the NBA League Pass. For those of you who want to just try it out, you can pay to watch one single live game through the app for $6.99 starting on Feb. 23.

Get NBA VR from Google Play

ChronoSpin for Android Wear is a watch face and an arcade game

With the launch of the first two Android Wear 2.0 smartwatches from LG and Google earlier this month, there’s been a renewed interest in the mobile OS. That even includes games made for Android Wear. An indie game developer named Matthew Burton recently released a new game for the OS called ChronoSpin, and it actually looks pretty fun.

See also:

Best Android Wear games

January 1, 2017

At first glance, the game looks like a watch face, and in fact it can serve that function. However, swiping up on that watch face transforms it into its true gaming form.  ChronoSpin is based on the popular indie arcade game PipSpin. As you might expect, this is the type of game that’s easy to play, but ends up becoming hard to master.

You can see the game in action in the quick gameplay video above. Basically, you have a center level that rotates around, and random balls that are flying around the screen. Your goal is to move and rotate that level so that the balls don’t hit it. If you fail, the screen goes back to the watch face, but if you get through a screen successfully, you level up and start again.

This looks like a perfect game for such a small screen, and should be great for passing the time while on break, or if you are in line somewhere to get your comic book signed or buying tickets for your next concert. The game is free to download and play, and doesn’t include any ads or in-app purchases.

One thing to note is that while ChronoSpin can be used as a watch face, it should be installed on your Android Wear’s app section, rather than the watch face section. If you do own an Android Wear smartwatch, let us know your hands-on impressions of this game in the comments!

Get it at Google Play

Flamingo for Twitter gets major update and new icon

No sooner had I tenderly returned to the default Twitter app than Flamingo goes and gets updated with a bunch of cool new stuff, instantly drawing me back into its Material Design clutches. The popular Twitter client has just received a significant update that includes a better tablet UI, new graphs, fresh animations and even a new geometric icon.

See also:

10 best Twitter apps for Android

January 22, 2016

The new animations are nice, if not exactly essential, but the new tablet layout is great and you now get article previews in direct messages (which also works for social media links). There are new stats for your activity and better hashtag suggestions too. The blue chark mark for verified Twitter accounts is also present and you can like Tweets from the notification shade.

Flamingo for Twitter gets major update and new icon

GIFs and videos can be played directly in your feed and Giphy lets you add them to your own tweets. Hover is a nifty preview feature that allows you to quickly preview photos, GIFs and user profile pictures, simply by long pressing on an image. You just tap and hold, then slide your finger to zoom in and out. All that and a ton of customization options in the settings.

But I have to admit there is some odd behavior going on, even after clearing app data. On my Nexus 9 running Android 7.1.1, the app force closes every time I open direct messages and there’s animation inconsistency between Flamingo on my Pixel and on my Mate 9, both of which are also running Android Nougat. Flamingo’s developer Sam Ruston is usually pretty responsive though so don’t let those niggles deter you.

There are a heap more changes in version 1.9 besides those mentioned above. The full changelog is below but if you’re looking to try out a fully-featured Twitter client with very stylish design you can do much worse than Flamingo.

  • New app icon
  • New animations
  • Tweet prev in DM
  • Article prev in tweets
  • Rounded gifs
  • Tweet replies now contain threads
  • Hex chooser for colours
  • New tablet layout
  • User likes page
  • Like from notification
  • Financial hashtags
  • New search filtering
  • Graph for activity stats
  • Better hashtag suggestions
  • Custom time/date formats
  • Verified icon on avatars
  • YouTube author in preview
  • Opt to change icons on tabs
  • Faster notifications
  • Loads of new options and fixes

INSTALL FLAMINGO

Free-to-play card game “Duelyst” Android beta coming soon, says developer

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Free-to-play card game Duelyst has been steadily growing since it was released on Steam last year. The title has already received plenty of praise and a move to mobile is now eagerly anticipated.

Thankfully, developer Counterplay Games has just revealed that it is now accepting applications for a private beta on iOS, with the Android beta expected to follow soon.

Like Hearthstone, Duelyst features two spellcasters who do battle using cards to summon monsters. Somewhat uncharacteristically for a collectable card game, however, the action here takes place on a grid.

Free-to-play card game “Duelyst” Android beta coming soon, says developer

The tactical depth and variation this grid offers is one aspect of Duelyst’s appeal, but it also has some incredible, incredible, pixel art character design and animations (and the GIF above is one of the least impressive examples of this).

If the Counterplay Games team manages to transfer all of the core features of the desktop version to Android, and make sure it all runs smoothly, there’s no reason this shouldn’t turn out to be one of the best Android releases of 2017.

You can check it out on Steam right now if you can’t wait for it to hit Android. It’s free.

YouTube axing 30-second unskippable ads (hurray) in favor of more 6-second ads (boo)

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Google has stuck a lovely spoonful of cookie dough ice cream into the mouths of YouTube fans with one hand while punching them in the privates with another, figuratively speaking.

According to a report from Campaign, Google will drop the dreaded 30-second unskippable YouTube ads — the ones that always appears just as you hush everyone at the party to listen to the sick intro of your favorite jam — and will instead introduce more frequent 6-second unskippable ads, starting 2018. The 20-second unskippable ads, meanwhile, are also here to stay.

The move is said to have arrived as a response to Facebook’s increasing focus on video. Callum McCahon, strategy director for Born Social, said it was: “A signal that YouTube is very worried about Facebook,” in a statement to Campaign, adding: “Their video offering is becoming ever more attractive to brands by the day, and YouTube is panicking.”

See also:

YouTube Go beta is here: save videos to watch offline

1 week ago

This is said to please consumers while being bad news for advertisers, but I’m not sure how much I subscribe to that. The 30-second ad was easy to avoid: Mute > open new tab > navigate to Android Authority > eat a potato chip > drink some soda > return and boom you’re right at the start of your video without having watched the ad — and a great website is open for later.

It’s just not really going to be worth avoiding a 6-second commercial.

What’s your take on the announcement? Let me know in the comments.

Material Design-themed Email by EasilyDo now available on Android

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The popular email client creatively called Email, which was initially only available on iOS, has made its way over to the Android platform. It offers a bunch of interesting and useful features as well as a great user interface heavily inspired by Material Design.

See also:

10 best email apps for Android

October 4, 2016

One of the key features of the app is speed. Well, at least according to the developer — EasilyDo — which claims that Email is the “fastest mail app available for Android.” Email also allows you to unsubscribe from the junk mail we all receive with just one tap and access all your attachments in one place, thanks to the built-in intelligent assistant.

Additionally, it can provide you with real-time travel notifications. The app will let you know if your flight is delayed or if your gate has changed, which really is a great feature to have. You can also easily track the location of packages you’re expecting, as you’re able to check the status of all your packages in one folder.

Material Design-themed Email by EasilyDo now available on Android

Other features worth mentioning are interactive push notifications, swipe to view the next email, and the option of canceling an email that you have already sent. Email currently supports Gmail, Hotmail, iCloud, Yahoo, Outlook, Office/Outlook 365, and AOL, IMAP mail accounts. Support for Microsoft Exchange will be coming soon.

If you’re looking for a new email client, you might want to consider trying out the newly released Email. It’s free of charge, so you really don’t have anything to lose. To download it to your device, visit the Google Play Store by clicking the button below.

Download Email

IBM helped create an Android weather app that sends alerts without a cell network

Many people in developing countries own smartphones, but don’t always have access to reliable wireless connections. That’s a problem when they may just need them to get alerts for emergencies. This week, IBM announced it has developed a new version of the Weather Channel Android app for those markets, what makes it so special? It can send emergency alerts to smartphones without the need for a cellular connection.

See also:

Best weather apps and weather widgets for Android

January 15, 2017

You may not be aware, but IBM actually acquired The Weather Company, the home of The Weather Channel cable TV network and the creators of the Weather Channel app, in 2016. Since then, the company claims it has made extra efforts to extend its weather forecasts and alerts to more mobile users worldwide. One of of those efforts is the use of Mesh Network Alerts technology to sent notifications to smartphones in certain markets.

IBM said that by using these mesh networks, emergency alerts can be sent to smartphones on its Weather Channel app via peer-to-peer connections, instead of a cellular network:

Usually, a government-issued message is broadcast via cell tower to all devices within its range. When that network goes down, however, so does the ability to send alerts. Peer-to-peer technology converts mobile devices into links within the mesh network, allowing devices to “talk” directly to each other without using cell tower infrastructure. Each smartphone becomes a node that stores the message and passes it to the next nearest device, creating a daisy chain to reach more devices and remove the need for a cellular network.

This technology does not turn smartphones into mobile hotspots, according to IBM, because that causes too much battery drain. It still uses phones that connect with Bluetooth or WiFi to send those alerts out.

The new version of the Android Weather Channel app that supports these mesh network alerts is already available to download in 42 countries from the Google Play Store. In addition, IBM has worked to cut down the download file size of this app to just 3.2 MB, while still providing full weather data, forecasts, and notifications, along with the ability to store weather data offline for up to 24 hours. The app is also been designed to launch and load quickly even on slower 3G and 2G cellular connections.

The ability for smartphones to still work even when solid cellular connections are not available seems to be a growing trend. Just today, the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, said he would like to see more smartphone companies activate the often hidden FM radio hardware inside. While he doesn’t want the US government to mandate that kind of feature in phones, Pai said it would let consumers get emergency alerts if their local cell tower was not working.

Would you like more apps and features on your phone that worked even without a cellular connection for emergencies? Let us know where you stand in the comments!

How to set up payments and shop with Google Assistant on Google Home

If you’re familiar with Google Home, you’re probably aware that it’s powered by the Google Assistant. Google’s new voice assistant is quite powerful; it can play nice with a ton of different services, control your smart home devices, give you a daily news briefing and more. And today, it’s getting even smarter.

See also:

What voice commands can I use with Google Home?

November 10, 2016

Google has just announced that you can now buy things using Google Assistant on your Google Home. If you own one of these connected speakers, you’ll be able to order things from participating Google Express retailers, provided they’re available in your area.

At the time of writing this, there are over 50 national and locally available stores that have partnered with Google Express. You can check out the full list of participating Google Express retailers right here, but the most notable ones include the Google Store (obviously), Target, Toys”R”Us, PetSmart, Walgreens, Staples, Guitar Center and Kohl’s.

If you own a Google Home and would like to start buying stuff with your voice, follow the instructions below:

  • Open the Google Home app.
  • Tap the menu button (three horizontal lines) on the top left of your screen.
  • Tap More settings.
  • At the bottom of your screen, tap Payments.
  • Tap the Get started button.
  • Read the Terms of Service (if you want), then tap Accept.
  • Now you’ll need to choose your default payment method.
    • If you already have a default payment method saved, select it, then tap Next.
    • If you need to add a new payment method, tap Add credit or debit card. Enter your card number, billing information and phone number, then tap Save.
      • After your new card is added, tap Next.
  • Now it’s time to choose your delivery address.
    • If you already have a default delivery address saved, select it, then tap Next.
    • If you need to add a new delivery address, tap Add new address. Enter your name, delivery address and phone number, then tap Save.
  • Select which of your Google Home devices can make payments.
    • Next to each Google Home in your household, you’ll see a toggle that controls the Personal results for that device.
    • Tap the toggle to the On position for each Google Home you’d like to enable payments.

That’s it! You can now make payments through Google Assistant on your Google Home.

Remember, you’ll only be able to order things through Google Express retailers, and depending on your delivery area, you might see a variety of different delivery days depending on which retailer you’re ordering from. To check if Google Express is available in your area, head here.

Next: Google Home review

The Pokémon Company teases an upcoming game for Japan

The Pokémon Company is releasing a new game called Splash! Magikarp for Android and iOS in Japan this spring, but the teaser website is as cryptic as the name.

See also:

Pokémon Go update finally adds over 80 new monsters

22 hours ago

If you are a fan of Pokémon – I mean, who isn’t – this new game might sound intriguing: in Japanese, it’s called Hanero! Koiking which would translate to Splash! Magikarp in English. It’s a brand-new game by the Pokémon Company coming this spring in Japan, and according to the teaser site, it’ll be about two mysterious Magikarp-shaped holes that a local fisherman discovers in a small village.

Unfortunately, apart from that, everything else is a complete mystery, but given its title and teaser images, Magikarp will play a big role it seems (though why this particular Pokémon is a bit puzzling to me). If you can read Japanese, you can head on over to the official website to see the teaser newspaper article for yourself. For now, we don’t know when it’ll be released or whether it’ll also come to markets outside Japan, but we will make sure to keep you updated.

For now, we don’t know when it’ll be released or whether it’ll also come to markets outside Japan.

What do you reckon this game will be about? Let us know by leaving a comment down below!