The rebirth of Unlock With WiFi

Quick summary: I’ve completely rewritten Unlock With WiFi, and renamed it SkipLock. SkipLock supports unlocking with Bluetooth, lock patterns (root required), and more. If you bought Unlock With WiFi within the last two months, contact me and I will refund your purchase so that you can buy the SkipLock upgrade.

SkipLock ScreenshotIt’s been a long time since I’ve done any major work on my most popular Android app, Unlock With WiFi. I’ve been super busy over the past two years, starting two new software companies. In the mean time, the app’s rating on Google Play has been slowly declining as more and more users are upgrading to newer versions of Android, and finding that Unlock With WiFi has some drawbacks on Android 4+. The most notable being that pattern lock is not supported. Also, a lot of users have been pleading with me to add an unlock-with-bluetooth feature to the app. It has pained me to not be able to keep up development on Unlock With WiFi. It’s my baby, and I hate to see it languishing. I don’t make much money from it, but it is a labor of love that I care very much about.

I’m happy to announce that I’ve finally found some time to devote to Unlock With WiFi. I’ve been working nights and weekends to completely rewrite the app. Some major improvements are coming!

Part of the reason why I haven’t worked on UWW for so long is that the code has become extremely complex. The main reason for this is that it’s basically two apps in one – one for Android 2.3 and below, and one for Android 4 and above. Each requires a different method of unlocking the phone, and therefore different code. All this complex code has become very difficult to maintain and work with. When I looked at what needed to be done in order to support unlock with bluetooth and lock patterns, it just wasn’t practically feasible.

The solution was simple: rewrite the app for Android 4+ only. This approach has a lot of advantages. It simplifies the code base, makes it so that the app doesn’t have to run as a background service anymore, and also doesn’t need to have an icon in the status bar to be reliable. This means the app will use less memory, and your status bar can be nice and clean. I know a lot of people insist on having an empty status bar. The downside of rewriting the app for only Android 4+ is that users of older versions of Android would be left out in the cold. It just wouldn’t be right to do that to my users. So the only remaining course of action was to make a completely new app, and still keep the old app going. Unfortunately, Google Play doesn’t have a way to transfer the purchase of one app to another. That means that paid users of Unlock With WiFi will have to purchase the new version as a separate app.

However, I have figured out a way to at least give existing users a cheap way to upgrade. I will put the new app on sale for 99 cents when it launches (Update: the 99 cents sale is now over. However, if you purchased Unlock With WiFi in the last two months, contact me for a refund). I think all the new features will be worth 99 cents for existing paid users of Unlock With Wifi. However, you don’t have to upgrade. Unlock With WiFi will continue to work and will continue to be available on Google Play. If you’re happy with Unlock With WiFi, then you don’t have to do anything. The new app will be named SkipLock. Without further ado, here are the new features:

  • Unlock with bluetooth
  • Pattern and face unlock supported for root users
  • Completely redesigned Android 4+ user interface
  • No background service = less memory usage and more reliable
  • No status bar icon required (but it’s still an option). Tray-only notifications also an option.
  • If you have notifications enabled, you can now tap the notification to instantly lock the device
  • Even more cool stuff coming later

Many of the existing features from Unlock With WiFi will also be in the new app. Some of them are:

  • Automatically turn off wifi when leaving home
  • Automatically turn on/off bluetooth
  • Automatically turn on/off sync
  • WidgetLocker integration
  • Lock delay has been removed because Android 4+ supports it natively now

Screenshots

Update: A small but loud minority of Unlock With WiFi users are angry that I created SkipLock. I think this anger is misplaced. If you bought UWW, you got what you payed for – a great app. You still have that app. I’m not taking it away from you. Unlock With WiFi will continue providing the value you paid for, and nothing will ever change that. Some people feel that they’re entitled to get SkipLock for free, even if they payed for UWW a long time ago. It took me a solid 5 months of work to create SkipLock. It has many improvements over UWW. Just because you bought one of my apps a long time ago, you think you’re entitled to get all my future apps for free? I don’t think so. SkipLock is worth paying for, even if you bought UWW. If you disagree, then you don’t have to buy SkipLock. Stick with UWW. Nobody is forcing you to switch.

Posted in Announcements, New Apps, SkipLock, Unlock With WiFi
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