Having your phone locked when you’re not using it is an essential security and privacy basic, but even with that, there are those who are able to keep an eye out to try to discover what the PIN or password is. If you suspect that someone is trying to spy on your phone or want to have proof in case it happens, here is a solution: These Android applications use the selfie camera to photograph whoever tries to unlock your mobile.
Some initial considerations
Before opting for some of the applications that we proceed to list below, it is important to take into account their operation and commonalities:
- These applications are limited to monitor unlock attempts with PINs, patterns or passwords, but not with biometric systems such as fingerprints or faces. In any case, and even if you opt for biometric recognition, keep in mind that you always have to have a security code, so they are still useful.
- Android regards as Unsuccessful unlock attempt if you enter four or more digits, characters, or dot patternsso these applications will ignore brief errors such as when we enter a couple of characters and then immediately change our mind and delete them.
- Since Android 12, when a application accesses the camera or microphone, an icon appears as a warning. Although these applications try to go unnoticed in their monitoring task, they do not bypass this function. If they succeed in unlocking, they will be able to see which app is in use and delete the crime photo. In any case, they would fulfill their deterrent effect.
All of these unlock attempt monitoring apps require you to set them up as the device administrator. To carry it out, go to ‘Setting‘ > ‘Security‘ > ‘Device Management Apps‘. Similarly, if you want to uninstall these apps, you’ll need to re-enter admin mode to proceed.
Lockwatch is an interesting application to take photos of whoever tries to unlock your phone that delivers what it promises in a simple way: enable it to receive an email when someone tries to do it.
To start using Lockwatch, download and open the app. Then activate the ‘ toggleSend the alert email‘. When doing so, the app will ask you to configure it as an administrator and you will be able to enter your email.
Once you configure the above, you can choose the number of unlock attempts before email is sent. After all, it’s not a bad idea to choose two or three in case we mess it up ourselves the first time. To prevent email spam, Lockwatch will not send the email if you enter the good password within 10 seconds.
When the app detects that someone is entering a failed PIN, the message it sends includes the photo you take, GPS location and a map of the areavery useful in case, beyond gossiping about your phone, it has been stolen.
The premium version of Lockwatch It allows you to configure alerts if the SIM card changes or if someone turns off your phone without unlocking it, takes three photos instead of one, and even includes a sound clip in the email.
Third eye works similar to Lockwatch but in this case shows the images of who tries to unlock your phone inside the phone itself instead of resorting to email. This is interesting for discovering gossip, but if your phone is stolen, it will be of little use to you. It also takes the photo even if you end up entering the correct PIN after a few seconds.
Once you install the application, you will have to activate it as administration and grant the relevant permissions. Enable intrusion detection for me to take a photo red-handed. Within the application, both the images and the hours at which it was unlocked are shown. By the way, every time you unlock the phone, the last time it was previously unlocked appears, which can be a bit annoying.
Among its options, configure the number of attempts, notifications or the possibility of saving the photos in Google Drive. In the “must”, the free version has quite a few ads. If you opt for the paid versionthe only thing you will gain is precisely to get rid of advertising, since it does not have extra functions.
Another good app to catch snoopers is CrookCatcher, with a striking dark interface with green accents. As usual, once you install it, it will guide you to configure it as an administrator and grant permissions to use them.
When you’re done, your interface is simple and with multiple tabs. The one in ‘Start’ is used to deactivate the service, in ‘Photos’ you will see the images it collects, a map with the location of the device and if you touch the ‘i’, you will be able to see even the exact coordinates. In ‘Settings’ you can adjust options such as the number of unlock attempts (between one and five), how many photos to take and enable email and device notifications. This app takes pictures even if the correct PIN is entered.
Buying the Premium version You access more features like playing an alarm, recording sounds, showing messages, taking more photos or keeping the app hidden and also removes ads. However, with the free version you will have more than enough.
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