Hexlock is an Android app that aims to protect your information as well as prevent kids or younger family members or friends accessing the apps or services you don't want them to. It does this by allowing users to create different profiles with different apps and locking said apps behind either a PIN or a pattern. It's a simple, yet effective approach to keeping certain apps out of little ones' hands as well as preventing friends messing around with your apps. Hexlock is free to download and use, and it's not interested in how you use the lock feature, it just gives you the tool to do as you wish with it.
Users just need to download Hexlock from the Play Store to get started with things, and once they launch the app they'll be asked to choose either a PIN or a Pattern. These are similar to those that many might use to unlock your phone, but choosing a different one would be a safer bet, naturally.
Hexlock uses a profile system, allowing you to lock certain selections of apps at certain times or turn the lock on or off whenever you want. One of the default profiles is a Work profile:
There are a handful of different profiles available to choose from though:
Users can create their own profiles however, with a custom name, allowing a little more flexibility and freedom.
This is a nice feature, but there are only so many icons to choose from, sadly, and it would be nice if there were more variety here.
Still, this is a neat little feature, and has allowed me to create a profile that I can activate when I hand it over to the little ones:
For this sort of profile, I might choose apps like the web browser, games with adult themes and my email apps, as well as the Google Play Store to prevent kids downloading or paying for anything else.
Activating a profile is nice and simple, and there's some visual feedback to let you know whether or not a profile is activated. Users can also create certain times of day when a profile will automatically become active.
As a little test, I went to the Google Play Store, which we can see I have chosen to lock behind a PIN, and sure enough I was prompted with a little PIN pattern display. There's just one banner ad at the bottom, which I don't mind seeing, because there are no pushy app suggestions or anything here, just simple ads like these.
Hexlock has some other features up its sleeve as well, including the use of Fingerprint Readers on some Samsung smartphones, although I wish this were available on my OnePlus 2.
What I like about Hexlock is that it's very matter of fact in its approach to locking apps. There's no overwrought privacy protection or anything like that, instead it presents itself as a tool for you to use, however the hell you want. Need to create a profile called "Idiot Friends" to keep your friends out of your messaging and social media apps when you're with them? You can do that. Need a more appropriate setting for the little ones to access just the apps and games they need? You can do that, too. With a lot of different features available, Hexlock still manages to be fairly simple and down to Earth in its approach of things, which is absolutely the best way to go.
- Speed (4/5) – Easy to setup and quick when in practice, Hexlock is a speedy little app.
- Features (4/5) – Hexlock does exactly what it says it does, it provides users a way to lock apps behind a PIN or pattern and the profiles that people can choose to use make it nice and easy to create security and privacy that matters to you.
- Theme (4/5) – The app uses a nice Material Design theme and it looks good throughout, so there's no complaints here.
- Overall (4/5) – Hexlock is an app that can help you put away certain apps and such behind closed doors, and how you use it is up to you.
- Users can create and name their own custom profiles whenever and however they like.
- Doesn't Push any app suggestions or pushy ads on to users.
- Works with some fingerprint readers on some Samsung smartphones.
- Super-easy to set up and get to grips with, making this an app for anyone and everyone.
- Didn't take advantage of the fingerprint sensor on my OnePlus 2.
- Not a lot of different icons to differentiate custom profiles with.
Overall, Hexlock is a refreshing take on locking away apps and games behind a simple PIN or Pattern and there's no pushy app suggestion or pushy ads. With a very practical approach to things, everything here works well and is super-easy to use and just gets the job done with minimal fuss and hassle.