For some of us it’s justifiably necessary. We carry around sensitive information on our Android phones, and we don’t want unscrupulous types getting their hands on it. And so we add a password or pattern lock to our devices. That is, every time the device goes to sleep you have to wake it with a password, rather than the normal swipe of the screen. While the added security is appreciated, the inconvenience is sometimes not. That’s why I’ve immediately grabbed a new app from Ben74 at xda. It’s called Unlock With WiFi, and it makes life easier when you’re at home or in the office.
The idea behind the app is that you don’t need the security of a password or pattern unlock while you’re at home or in the office. Well, maybe some people do. But most of us have our devices right next to us and don’t have to worry about the regular spots we might leave them — cabs, restaurants, bars, etc. And so this app turns off the lock feature when you’re connected to a familiar network. Combine that with an app that automatically turns on WiFi when you’re in range of a trusted network and you have a pretty damn useful application.
The app also performs a number of other tasks that can help save your battery. For instance, when you leave home it automatically turns off your WiFi. Having WiFi, contrary to misguided opinion, does not eat battery. It does, however, consume battery when it’s searching for a network. Having it turn off automatically when you leave signal range, then, will help conserve battery life. The app also turns off your GPS when you get home, and turns it on when you leave, so you save battery that way, too.
The only drawback to the app is that you have to enter your WiFi password when you connect. That is, every time you connect. I have a long and complicated WiFi password, so it’s quite a pain for me to do this. The idea is that if someone steals your Android they can’t just walk into range of your home WiFi and unlock it. That, of course, would take an inside job, since the criminal would not only need to know where you live, but also know that you have this specific app installed on your Android. If someone that close to you is stealing your phone, you have problems that go beyond your lock screen.
Of course, the app is in beta, so there is room for improvement. I think that minus the manual password entry, this is a great app. Head to the xda forums for the download link.