Mike's NBC-TV stories

Add Function and Flash to Your Boring Password Screen with These Apps

It’s always important to look good, right? Having a smartphone or tablet screen where you enter a pass code to use it may successfully keep others from using your mobile tech without permission, but  a growing number of lock screen apps add functionality and flash to the utility function of a device.

Folder Lock takes keeping devices and folders private to the next level. It starts with three different security credentials – password, pin, or complex pattern. It ups the ante with the ability to protect individual documents, videos, and photos with their own passwords. There are even ways to create and protect audio recordings and notes with Folder Lock, which is free for Android and Windows and one of just a few such apps for iOS.

AppLock for Android bills itself tops in more than 50 countries with more than 100 million users. AppLock can lock texts, contacts, Gmail, Facebook, call log and a lot more, including photos and video. You can even lock access to your device settings, which could be useful if you let kids use your device. It’s free.

Next Lock Screen is for Android and one of the best locking apps around. From Microsoft Garage, Next Lock Screen has all of the basics of an app lock but goes further with special features, such as the ability to connect to a conference call in a single tap without unlocking the phone. The coolest thing about Next Lock Screen, however, is that it presents the apps you are most likely to use based on your location. The app is free.

Check out my report from NBC-TV this week to see the apps in action:

Mike is a veteran journalist whose video "PC Mike" reports have been distributed weekly to all 215 NBC-TV stations since 1994, making him one of the most experienced tech reporters in the country. His tech stories and videos have appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, the Today Show, The New York Times, USA Today and in numerous national newspapers and magazines. In addition to the PC Mike tech blog, he also publishes the Roadtreking.com RV Travel Blog in which he travels North America in an RV reporting about interesting people and places.