Good news: You can get rid of that boring default Android lock screen—and I’m not talking about just adding a couple widgets. With the right apps, you can make your lock screen look all sorts of funky. We’re talking cubed tiles, minimalist circles, cute little monsters that slide over to eat your unlock icon, and, yes, even iOS and Windows 8 lookalikes.
One of the easiest lock screen replacement apps to get started with is GO Locker, which is an add-on to the popular launcher replacement app GO Launcher EX. GO Locker is free and has multiple themes, which are not technically free but can be nabbed for a little extra effort using GetJar gold (more on that later). To get GO Locker, you’ll first need to download and install GO Launcher EX.
Once you’ve installed GO Launcher EX, you can download the GO Locker add-on. When you open GO Locker, you’ll see a variety of featured themes that you can “get” using money (typically around $1.99 each) or GetJar gold. GetJar gold is earned by downloading sponsored apps—not a bad way to score themes for free if you have the time and patience to download (and later uninstall) random apps. If you’d prefer to have access to all of the themes (including new themes in the future), you can also buy GO Locker VIP, which costs a hefty $20.
At the top of the GO Locker screen, you’ll see a tab that says Installed. Tap this to see themes that you’ve downloaded, either through the GO Locker store or through the Google Play store. Tap the Apply button underneath a theme to apply it to your lock screen. Themes often have more functionality than a default Android lock screen, with different sliders you can use to go directly to different apps, such as text messages, email, and camera.
To use GO Locker as a true lock screen replacement app, you’ll need to disable your phone’s lock screen in the Settings menu. Go to Settings > Personal > Lock screen, tap Screen lock, and then None to disable your phone’s security. If you do not do this, you’ll actually end up with two lock screens – your phone’s security screen, and GO Locker’s replacement lock screen. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up security altogether! To secure your GO Locker lock screen, open up the app and go to Settings > More Settings > Security, and choose PIN, Pattern, or Gesture security. GO Locker will ask to send your password to your email address, should you forget it.
If you’re looking for a lock screen replacement app, GO Locker is an excellent choice – especially if you’re already using GO Launcher EX. The GO Store boasts over 400 themes, which range from fun and adorable to sleek and high-tech. At the moment, I’m using Single Bird, a free theme that lets you play a Flappy Bird clone right from your lock screen.