Look Before You Leap; Still Waters Run Deep — Please Share


This is actually a serious cautionary note. 

Many people are availing themselves of various Apps for their smartphones, Kindles, iPads, or iPhones that purport to lock your screen whether by locking it after a period of inactivity or on command. 

On the surface, these seem to be judicious things to do, since one can inadvertently leave your cell phone somewhere that a stranger might take advantage of it.  In fact, I have done just that although my phone fell into honest hands and was left in an obvious place in the rest stop where I dropped and eventually returned to look for it.

With that experience in mind, I am constantly looking for ways to secure my phone, particularly when it might be lost or stolen; not that I am a regular habitué of such places.

As a consequence, I am very interested in Apps that can “lock” my smartphone.  I happen to own an Android phone, and have tried several such locking software and am usually disappointed.

I finally found one, which I will not describe by name or kind, since I suspect the problem that I am about to describe may well be endemic to the industry.

Simply put, the problem is the ability of nefarious ne’er-do-wells who would leap at the chance to use your cellphone for their evile purposes.  You install such Apps, as I did, to give yourself peace of mind that the phone, once locked, is impenetrable; that your private documents, photos, songs, videos, and precious minutes are forever safe.  Just what kind of photos and videos do you keep on your phone?  But I digress.

After installing the App and carefully crafting a creative password, I opened the App and locked my smartphone.  I did not choose the easy App screen lock, I chose the medium level one. That was my first mistake.

So I tried to unlock my phone, carefully following all the procedures to use the analog-based screen feature — to no success.  The “medium” security level algorithm proved to be a wee bit too hard for this graduate engineer; just a tad too difficult.  It would not let me in; at all.

Luckily, I had set the secondary level security access by carefully crafting a creative password known only to me.


Known to no man, woman, child, or baby. 

Maybe my five year-old granddaughter or her three year-old sister would have been able to break in, since they are both incredibly smart and clever with electronics, not like their fast approaching seventy-year-old grandpa.  But they were in Dollywood for the week and I doubt that they would have been able to rush up here to help their impossibly inept and severely dumb grandpa.  Besides their parents probably would not have given them the keys to drive up here by themselves.

Having thought about writing down the password, but getting distracted and not doing it left me in a dilemma.

On the one hand, I had a perfectly locked smartphone.  On the other hand, there was no way that I would ever be able to access the phone or its features, documents, photos, videos, and the such.  No I don’t keep those kinds of photos on my phone, I’m a grandpa fer god’s sake.

After about two hours of trying every conceivable combination of algorithms and analog tricks I could think of, alternating with attempts to spark my feeble memory so that I could remember the creative password, I was distraught.  That dog don’t hunt, as they used to say down south where I went to college.  Deader than an outboard motor on a fishing boat in the middle of the Great Lakes as the thunder storm rolls in.

So what could I do?

I took out the phone’s battery, which of course, does a hard reset of the phone.  It was a last ditch effort; it was that or use the phone as a storm anchor.

Lo and behold, not only did the hard reset work, it unlocked the telephone.  Once there, I went to the settings mode and uninstalled the screen lock App.

There in lies the problem.  If I can do it, anyone can.  If these Apps can be so easily by-passed, what good are they?

Please check to see if a similar act can break the screen lock, before installing that App.  You may thank me for this bit of advice.  If you do, please buy some of my books and help out this poor soon-to-be septuagenarian.

If this has been helpful, please share.






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