What is a lock screen?

A brief definition of a lock screen

A lock screen is a user interface element used in various operating systems to control user access to a computing device. This access control prompts the user to perform a certain action, such as entering a password, operating a certain combination of buttons or performing a certain gesture using the device’s touch screen.

Depending on the OS

Depending on the operating system and device type, the visual appearance of the lock screen can range from a simple login screen to a general information screen with current date and time, weather information, recent notifications, audio controls for background sound (usually music) being played, shortcuts to applications (such as the camera) and, optionally, the device owner’s contact information (in case of theft, loss or medical emergency).

Lock screens on Android

Initially, Android did not use a gesture-based lock screen. Instead, the user had to press the “Menu” button on the phone. In Android 2.0, a new gesture-based lock screen was introduced that displayed two icons: one for unlocking the phone and one for adjusting the volume. One or the other was activated by dragging the corresponding icon to the center in a curvilinear motion similar to the dial disk on older phones. In Android 2.1, the dial disk was replaced by two tabs at the ends of the screen. Android 3.0 introduced a new design: a ball with a padlock icon that has to be dragged to the edge of a circular area. Version 4.0 introduces the option to unlock directly to the camera app, and 4.1 adds the ability to swipe up to open a Google search screen. Android 4.2 brings new changes to the lock screen, allowing users to add widgets to pages that can be accessed from the lock screen by swiping to the right. The camera is accessed in the same way, by swiping to the left. Android also allows devices to be locked with a password, passcode, nine-point grid pattern, fingerprint recognition or facial recognition.

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Android distributions from other manufacturers often use different lock screens than stock Android; some versions of HTC Sense employed a metallic ring interface that was dragged from the bottom of the screen to unlock the phone, and also allows you to launch apps by dragging the corresponding icon onto the ring. On Samsung devices, swiping can be done from anywhere on the screen and in any direction (and on TouchWiz Nature devices, such as the Galaxy S III and S4, this action was accompanied by a visual effect of rippling in a pond or a lens flare); as with HTC, apps can be accessed from the lock screen by dragging their icons from the bottom of the screen.

Some apps may contain adware that changes the default lock screen interface to replace it with one that displays advertising. In November 2017, the Google Play Store officially banned non-lock screen apps from monetizing the lock screen.

Where to find good lock-screens?

We have made a selection of the best lock-screens app here. Feel free to share around you!

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