How to get more from your Android lock screen with Start

Out of the box, the Android lock screen offers very little in the way of efficiency. With the help of a free third-party app, you can change that. Jack Wallen shows you how.

Image: Jack Wallen

Out of the box, the Android lock screen doesn't offer much, other than to prevent prying eyes from getting to your data and allowing you quick access to your phone or camera. What if you want more? Simple. You turn to a third-party app called Start.

With Start, you can get access to everything you care about... apps, news, settings, and much more. This is truly a fantastic app that has plenty to offer nearly every type of user, including:

  • Secure unlock
  • Easy navigation
  • Learns how you use your device (and helps you get what you want faster)
  • Quick access to social networking
  • Organize your "starters" how you like them
  • Quick settings to things like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and more
  • Notifications manager

On top of all the features, Start also happens to be a very elegant solution to the lock screen.

Let's get this installed and learn how to use it.


Installing Start is quite simple:

  1. Open the Google Play Store from your Android device
  2. Search for start
  3. Locate and tap the entry by Celltick
  4. Tap Install
  5. Read the permissions listing carefully
  6. If the permissions listing is acceptable, tap Accept
  7. Allow the installation to complete

Now, you'll need to take care of a few configuration options.

Initial configuration

The first thing you need to do is actually launch Start. By default, it won't be running. So, find the launcher in the app drawer and give it a tap. Start will launch and reveal the default layout (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A
Image: Jack Wallen
Start running on a Verizon-branded Droid Turbo.

Next, tap and swipe left from the menu button in the top right corner (three horizontal lines). From there, tap Settings and scroll down until you see Default Launcher. Click it, tap the slider to enable Start as the default launcher, and then set Start as Home when prompted (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure B
Image: Jack Wallen
Setting Start as the default.

Now, choose what launcher to use after unlock (Figure C).

Figure C

Figure C
Image: Jack Wallen
Setting the launcher to be used after unlocking the device.

You're now ready to start using the new lock screen.

At this point, you're ready to set up your Starters. To do this, slide the screen to the left and tap Settings. From here, tap Setup Starters. Go through the list of possible Starters (Figure D) and, when you find one you want to include on the Start screen, tap it and then tap the enable slider to add it.

Figure D

Figure D
Image: Jack Wallen
Adding Starters to the Start screen.

To view a Starter, simply tap on it and slide it to the right. This will open a new screen that contains the data requested.

Start is an outstanding way to get more from your lock screen. If you think that Android is lacking in this arena, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better solution.

What would you add to the default Android lock screen? Let us know your opinion in the discussion thread below.

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By Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic, The New Stack, and Linux New Media. He's covered a variety of topics for over twenty years and is an avid promoter of open source. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen....