Review: PatternLock for BlackBerry

By Ryan Blundell on 12 Jan 2011 03:11 pm
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PatternLock

Ever since I upgraded to the Torch, I embraced the touch screen world. Not only do I look for applications that help enhance the BlackBerry experience, I also look for apps that grasp the attraction and benefits of a touch screen. Those who have secured their BlackBerrys with a password, be it a keyword or number combination, get used to pounding it out on their keyboard before doing anything. The same could be said with touch screen phones. But then again, our minds are wondrous things. They can recall not only words and numbers, but also patterns and shapes. So why not use those patterns and shapes for passwords as well?

Taking a side step from typical password entry is an application called PatternLock. For touch screen devices, it may be one of the quickest ways to lock and unlock your call screen, specific applications or your BlackBerry itself. Rather than entering in a password, why not use a simple gesture, a secret handshake if you will, between you and your BlackBerry?

About PatternLock

The PatternLock application was developed by Tafasa –the mastermind behind many touch screen BlackBerry applications and games. Okay, Okay- Make that all types of BlackBerrys. Some of the more popular apps from Tafasa include the previously reviewed GesturePad, as well as Doodle. PatternLock is available for touch screen BlackBerrys only, running OS 4.7 or higher. The most recent version of PatternLock available is 2.0.0.5, which has a file size of 210KB.

Price: $2.99

Rating in the CrackBerry App Store: 4/5

Rating in BlackBerry App World: 4/5

Patterns are emerging...

As I said before, PatternLock is design to secure your call screen, apps of your choice or your smart phone itself with a simple path, pattern or symbol. The application is loaded with a slew or personalization options that take you beyond simply locking and unlocking. Let’s see how it works first. The lock screen of PatternLock consists of a 3 by 3 grid that you use to let your fingers do the walking…and talking.

PatternLock enter secret pattern

The app will highlight the path you are taking as you slide your fingers across the screen. Once you finish lift your digits away from the screen. A correct pattern will unlock whatever you chose to lock. An incorrect pattern will change the pattern path a different colour (default is red) and you may or may not be asked to try again (depending on your settings). Trace the pattern you chose as your unlocking key and voila! You’ve cracked the safe. It appears as though there isn’t a limit as to how often you use a particular dot in your pattern. During setup the app will use arrows to indicate the path you are recording as the unlocking pattern. This pattern can also be changed from the options menu.

Though it has the power to keep prying eyes at bay on the surface, the true power is found within the options and settings.

PatternLock capture patternPatternLock Appearance

The options are neatly divided by type, making it easier to configure. If it’s purely aesthetics you’re looking to change, there are a few options available that will allow you to make everything pretty. You can change the background images, app themes or even the icons used to represent the 9 “dots”. The colours of the dots and how they visually respond can even be altered. This goes as far as the colours used to represent path direction, correct/incorrect dots, highlighting rings, dock trays and more.

On the functionality (and um, more important in my opinion) side of settings we get into the good stuff. As I said before, PatternLock provides the option to lock a specific app(s) from being opened. Your apps are divided into 3 categories:

Currently Running Apps

Built-in Apps

Third Party Apps

You can also personalize the ‘Lock Message’ displayed as well. Something like “Back off, don’t mess with my Twitter account!” should suffice.

PatternLock can be set up so you can manually initiate the lock and/or autolock at a specified time or during special circumstances. These would include; when charging, holstered, etc. Going back to app management, you can choose to disable autolocking when an app (or apps) of your choice is running.

PatternLock disable during running appPatternLock unlock by location

I can’t believe how many options PatternLock has at hand to tweak the experience for every user. I could go on and on and on, but I would end up wearing my fingers down – then my hands. I‘d hit the conclusion by typing with bloody elbows. One thing I will mention is a fantastic location based feature; I can choose where I want to disable autolock. I can choose to lock my BlackBerry at work and then leave it free for anyone to use at home – without having to change anything. You can set the proximity between 50 metres to 1 kilometre. Oh, I should mention that PatternLock integrates nicely with Bellshare’s BerryWeather application, bringing you weather notification right on the lock screen.

Conclusion

Why RIM didn’t look at including a locking option like this I don’t know. I much prefer using PatternLock over the typical password. If you’re worried about someone trying to crack the pattern, you can choose the maximum number of attempts and the duration for the lockout period before they can try again. I did like how I could lock specific apps and disable PatternLock depending on running apps or location. I didn’t really have to worry about locking the call screen, as I don’t have that problem in the first place. You can pick up PatternLock, for free, from the CrackBerry App Store for $2.99. There is also a free version called PatternLock Lite, which only gives you the option for choose a locking pattern, autolock upon startup and autolock on device activity.


Pros

  • Easily secure your BlackBerry with a lock pattern
  • Fully customizable
  • Unlock based on location


Cons

  • Unable to access the themes section

More information on PatternLock from the CrackBerry App Store

21 comments

XWolf

In September when I upgrade I am definately getting this... Assuming I get a touch screen BB (Torch 2, Storm 3)... Otherwise probably not that much use on a 9780.

jstray

Shows $2.99 for me, not on sale

skynny70

Does this still cause major battery drain? Does it still give Storm2 9550 problems?

gunnz

i've had it on storm 1 and storm 2 for last few years and no batt drain ever....

mdarr

Yeah not seeing the sale price either...

coolcut

I love this app and I personally do not have a problem with battery drain on my torch.

Jean-luc_Picard

It is full price in both app world and superstore. Too bad, as I really wanted this, but will think a lot harder before buying for double the price.

blutricky

jstray is correct the price is still showing $2.99

EgoAleSum

I bought it right after having bought the Torch.
I use to keep the phone in my pocket, and I was disappointed by how easy it was to unlock the Torch! I almost always unlocked it accidentally, by pressing the top button...

So I tried PatternLock.
It's perfect: it's a quick way to unlock your phone, and works great...

Only issue, quite important to me: when the screen is locked in this way, volume buttons do not work (so when I listen to the music, I cannot move volume up and down or change song without unlocking the phone).

jstray

Thats a deal breaker for me. I listen to music on my phone probably for 55% of my life since I'm allowed to have music at work. If I can't change songs or adjust the volume then I do not want this app.

Malachi.2.15

Crackberry app store has it at full price....

Dragondima

Nice review Ryan. How does it compare to BerrySlider? I've been using BerrySlider, and am NOT a happy camper. It always errors out, and never works properly after a phone call. A lot of issues with it. How would it compare though?

Fifi22

I had Pattern Lock Lite and I loved it but then I deleted it after I read the Trusted App article because I felt like a stripped down version of an app doesn't need Trusted App status and that was the only way it would run, the same thing happened with Weather Plus. Oh well

Cula

downloaded that app half an hour ago, without even knowing about that article. I really like it, very customizable and the best paid app i got so far. Worth it!

MrHelyar

Finally they brought out a lock program that was needed. A real negative I had with my Storm2 was locking the device, When I want to unlock I don't want to deal with the full qwerty keyboard, just dealing with number pad is good enough for me. I know this doesn't use a number pad, but I thought of something pretty similar to this app, where you don't need any numbers/letters at all.

Now that its out, I wish I had a Torch. For non-touch devices shouldn't you be able to do something to this effect but with the trackpad? Developers should definitely try, I would be the first to purchase

cayman2010

Excellent program. I used another lock program for my Torch and it was so poor with no support that I uninstalled it, ask for my money back and bought this one!

I have been very pleased with this program and it does what it's supposed to do!

mightyoj

For locking your device and keeping it safe from accidental dials in your pocket, this app is great. As far as security goes, it is easy to bypass by going through safe mode while the phone is booting.. I had to find out the hard way when my digitizer broke

mightyoj

For locking your device and keeping it safe from accidental dials in your pocket, this app is great. As far as security goes, it is easy to bypass by going through safe mode while the phone is booting.. I had to find out the hard way when my digitizer broke

Malachi.2.15

Unfortunate...the original review noted that the app was on sale. When several us commented that it wasn't, the review was changed rather than putting the app on sale. :(

Come on...drop the price! I've been running on the lite version for a while. For the sale price, I'll upgrade! :)

MrHelyar

Wonder if the creators make a version for non-touch devices. Trackpads do have the ability to move in pattern form, hopefully they're working on one. Unfortunate to hear about the ability to bypass the lock screen if in reboot. If they fix that issue, or RIM takes this idea for their new devices, it would be great.

chrispipe

I want the theme CB theme! How do I get that it's purdy!

EDIT: nvm found it :) great theme!