One week with Locket, the lockscreen app that pays to show you ads [Updated]

Upate: Locket no longer pays users for ads. Instead, the company is saying that it is just pushing out relevantly curated content to users on their lockscreen to add value. You can read more about the changes on Locket's blog. 

Original story: Swipe in, cash out. That's in Locket's description on Google Play, and it pretty much sums up the idea behind the lockscreen app. In a nutshell, you install it on your phone and see an advertisement every time you wake your phone. In exchange, you get paid a little. Very little.

Sounds horrible, doesn't it? Who wants to see adverts every time you turn on your phone? Thing is, Locket's done a pretty good job here. We've been using it for a week now, and it's time to share a few findings. Maybe we're doing so from the comfort of a newly purchased yacht. Or maybe we've managed to scrounge up a little extra beer money.

Read on to find out.

How it works ...

I get advertisements. Between this job and my previous career, I get that they're a necessary evil. But Locket sounds like a good deal, right? You've got to unlock your phone anyway — might as well make a couple bucks at it. You're essentially renting out some of the most prime real estate on your phone.

And Locket, as an app, works pretty darn well. Ads are shown full screen and with high-resolution images — none of those janky banners that plague far too many ad-supported Android apps. They're attractive — and don't underestimate the importance of a nicely designed ad. Anything less than what Locket's showing now, and we wouldn't even be having this discussion. Locket's got the design down nicely.

That's form. As far as function is concerned, you need to install Locket and disable whatever you're currently using — most likely whatever was on your phone by default — and you should be good to go. (We had a couple days where Locket didn't seem to take over as our default lockscreen, but an app update seems to have worked that out.) You'll then see a full-screen ad whenever you go to unlock your phone.

From here you have two choices — unlock the phone by swiping to the right, or swipe left to "interact" with the ad. That means as little as opening up a web page, or as much as watching a YouTube video.

This is where you can run up against a little bit of Android wonk. If, say, "interacting" with the ad means watching a YouTube video, you might run into that "Complete action using …" dialog box if you don't have a default set. Not exactly a great user experience, but that's not Locket's fault.

Otherwise, it's quick and easy.

Show me the money … or not

So, how much are you going to get paid with Locket? The truth is, not much. This is a long-term play, at best, and even then you're not going to be buying much more than a six-pack with your spoils. You get the impression using Locket that you get 1 cent per unlock. But the truth — and this isn't anywhere in the fine print that we've seen, only in other published reports — is that it's capped at 3 cents per hour. Any unlocks beyond that — and the ads you view — are money in someone else's pocket. Not yours. (At the time of this writing, Locket hasn't responded to an e-mail seeking confirmation and clarification on the 3-cents-per-hour cap.)

Doing the math, that's a max of 72 cents a day. Or $5.04 a week. Or $262.80 a year — if you're unlocking your phone three times and hour, 24 hours a day. Which you won't be doing.

There are opportunities for bonuses. Locket says it'll "identify loyal Locket users and sometimes give out bonuses randomly." And you can earn extra money for referrals — $1 for each friend who signs up. Though there's a cap on this, too. Locket smartly says you can invite as many folks as you want, but it stops paying after $5 per account per month. This time, that's in the fine print.

Want to cash out? Cool. But you'll have to wait until you amass $10, and then you can either "cash out" through Paypal, or get a gift card or donate to charity.

The bottom line ...

My haul, after a week's use? A whopping $1.72. Let's round that up to $2 even, though, for those two days in which the app wasn't working as it should. That still only puts me one-fifth of the way toward actually putting any money in my pocket — basically another month of use. And, no, I'm not about to spam my friends for referrals.

Locket correctly sees that there's money to be made from your lock screen — that prime piece of real estate that you look out dozens of times a day. But just look at the numbers. Now ask yourself if losing the functionality of most every other lockscreen out there is worth 72 cents a day — max. No more quick-launch apps. No more notifications or widgets. You get some attractive advertising, sure. And Locket is nicely done. Make no mistake about that.

But for me, the money's just not there.

Phil Nickinson
  • If they increase they pay off I would download this!
  • Yeah, me too, im not saying that i would be retired to Bora Bora by the time im 35 with this app, but hey, i spent 600$ on the phone i use to watch your adds and im sure that they get more that 3 cents an hour. In fact, (haven´t done the math on that) i think i spend more that 3 cents an hour on data usage if i had to watch every youtube video or web site they offer...
  • You might be right... On a metered plan, it's possible the ad payments won't cover the data cost.
  • Pay people in Data. Every time you view an ad it ads 50 mb to your account up to 300 mb a day. So you can watch the ads via wifi and get free data. That would be nice
  • You don't have to open any of the ads that they show you. You get $.01 regardless. You make a cent every time you unlock your phone. I haven't opened one ad yet but I have still made $2 in the last week haha. I agree they should offer more than $.01 per unlock though, which they state may go up in the future.
  • It doesn't sound like a lot, but if you've got a Nexus 4 and a $30/mo StraightTalk or T-Mobile account, and you're making around $10/month, that's a third of your bill paid off.
  • Wish granted!
  • Fronto app is pretty much the same thing but way better with payout. And no limit!(;
  • Cool idea, probably will be exploited. Posted via Android Central App
  • If and when that is, I'll be very interested in how much is made from Locket. Dark mode, bitch!
  • Thanks Phil!
    Now I can say no to Locket.
  • I didn't need his help to make the same call on this one.
  • I haven't changed my lockscreen wallpaper for close to a year. A great photo of my little girl (she's 5 now) blowing bubbles on our front lawn. Sorry, Locket, my girl is worth more than 72 cents per day.
  • That's great. Tell it to Facebook.
  • 10/10, you heartless bastard.
  • Trollerific Dark mode, bitch!
  • LuLz 2013, Fancy feast.
  • Wasn't Bubbles A Clown = P
  • You make one cent and they make 40 cents.
  • My thoughts exactly! Most of those old cash for click or views type websites paid more than .01 per interaction. They could easily bump the pay scale and make it worth while for users. I didn't see it mentioned but you can't cash out until you reach $10 and then it has to go to Pay-Pal (wonder if you get hit with fees there too?).
  • Uh, so what? Literally free money you're talking about here. And "worthwhile"? It's one three hundred thirty second the effort you put into writing this comment for nothing, if you count one swipe to one keystroke at ratio. Why are you complaining when you could be making money? Seems to me that if the effort it takes to do something like this is so great that the people who make the software need to make it "worth your while" by paying you in adsense wages, that you make a lousy plaintiff by donating a large amount of effort to a zilch like this comment was. Guess my point is this: What's your beef?
  • 72c - increased electricity bill = 0$
  • >> Let's round that up to $2 even Look at it this way, $2 a week for a year = $104, 2 year = $208. It's not much, but to someone who's buying a phone off contract, it's enough to cut 1/3 of the phone's price. If you are on contract, with many flagship phones costing 99 after just 2 months after their releases, 1 year is all it takes to bring the price to zero. I know, it's still not much, but it's better than nothing.
  • You're not doing "nothing" to get it, are you? If you're into this type of "work" there are much better opportunites to be found with a simple search.
  • You are pretty much doing nothing.. other than what you would normally do anyway, that is.. unlocking your phone when you feel like it. And then you get paid for that..
  • You can't enter a passcode to unlock?
  • You can still have that enabled. You'll have two lock screens though (one to swipe and unlock and the 2nd to enter your passcode). Definitely working to add that functionality.
  • It's might not be for everyone, but personally I just had the swipe to unlock on my phone, and I never used shortcuts on the lock screen, so it does work for me. I've used it for about a week and a half, and referred 2 people. I've made about $7.20 so far. Thanks for the free lunch Locket!
  • So you're basically paying for your Netflix or Google Play/Spotify accounts each month? This really doesn't seem that bad.
  • I put this on my phone a few days ago... I don't use widgets or anything else with my lock screens so if someone wants to give me 3 cents an hour to unlock my phone, I am all game :)
  • I agree 100%..
  • I Dont know where they get 3¢ I'm getting 5¢. Posted via Android Central App
  • Actually I think I was doing it as the hour changed. Posted via Android Central App
  • I'm at $2.25 and the ads are actually nice looking. Don't really care about my lockscreen, so its kinda a win-win for me.
  • I don't use a lock screen. But if I did, this would be no less annoying than any of the other swipe to unlock screens. -Suntan
  • Used it for a week. Never had an issue. I even have my current lockscreen still active and it works fine. I uninstalled couple days ago because I thought it was draining my battery. I will give it another shot for about 2 weeks this time. We'll see how it goes. Via Android Central App from a Galaxy Note 2
  • Just installed this last night and I can't really complain. Since 4.0 or 4.1 we've been able to pull the notification bar down over the lock screen and its really all I ever use. Already made $.20. This seems like a proof of concept app and seems to work well. Unlocks smoothly on my gnex and most of the time I unlock without ever looking at the ad. They need more advertisers for variety and if they could do local deals it would be a game changer.
  • Can you please give me locket .apk cause play store says its not supported for my gnex in my country...
  • forgot to mention e-mail.
  • Check it out here:
  • Ha. Nice move. Posted via Android Central App
  • I signed up using your link - I figure you may as well get $1 off of something I was going to do anyway :)
  • Worth a try, thanks!
  • Thanks! Why the hell not. Just made 3 cents for looking at my phone. To the person that said that 72 cents a day was not worth loosing the pic of your five year old blowing bubbles on the front yard, no worries. As soon as you swipe right on the ad it takes you to your normal lock screen. You don't lose any of your pics. Win win...... I'm going to save up for a new house! Posted via Android Central App
  • I just found a way to pay for my college tuition. Posted via Android Central App
  • Battery life is what I'm most concerned about. Now what if locket used 3/4 of the screen for the ad and allowed you to have one widget? More people would probably jump on board and I doubt that would cut into their bottom line.
  • I hate lock screens and didn't use one until this app paid me to do so. The biggest questions I have are on battery life: - How much more battery am I using as a result? Even if it's 1% a day, over the course of the life of the phone it will degrade the non-removable battery.
    - Does the additional battery and electricity consumption negate the 40-50¢ a day one can gain?
    - Why do I feel compelled to rack up 6¢ between 11:59 and 12:00 when the reality is it's the same 3¢ per hour no matter when you rack it up? Posted via Android Central App
  • About the battery life - it suffers A LOT. That was the case on my EVO 3D and my S3, the EVO went from 2 day battery life to everynight charging and the S3 had to be charged over the day versus nightly before locket. That and the fact that it'll take forever to get to $10 are the reasons I uninstalled the app.
  • I'm leaning in this direction. Will probably delete after my first pay out. Posted via Android Central App
  • Looks like they just updated today. Hopefully improves battery life. Posted via Android Central App
  • What about your data plans as well? I know that a lot of you in the US have unlimited plans, but it seems like all this advertising on your lock screen might also be drawing a fair bit more data than not having Locket at all. I'd be VERY interested for someone (Phil? Jerry?) to try and quantify the data usage with Locket. And yes - I realize that this app is great for some. For others, it's not. It's all about preference. :-)
  • Should only be about 5mb per month. Perhaps less than that (as we're currently not downloading ads from the server). But ads themselves are only about 100kb anyway. But we have seen a few odd usages so I'd suggest just keeping an eye on it. Just asked a dev, and looks like the odd usage should be fixed on all phones in the next update.
  • Well on Kindle devices they show ads on your lock screen and YOU have to pay Amazon to take it off. This is better. Posted from the old Google Nexus 7 via Android Central App
  • Good point. Forgot about that..
  • I tried Locket and it actually does have beautiful ads, ads so pretty that i actually stop to see what they are most of the time. The payout is defiantly not worth leaving my phone unlocked. Good idea though, if they paid about 1.00 per day, ore maybe even .50 a day I would reinstall it.
  • Durhamite, simple calculation, $.03 * 15hrs of active phone use/day is $.45, isn't that close enough to $.50? And that's only 15 hours, another 1 or 2 hours a day if you don't sleep much and you're at that 50 cent mark.
  • Not sure why I'm using this app. So far I'm at $2.50. I figure at ten bucks I'll be able to get a dime bag and shmoke three bowls lol. The ads are in high quality tho, and I found two of them useful. Found the Anchorman 2 trailer from the ads which was a new trailer that I hadn't seen. The money clearly isn't there, but I don't mind the ads. I was only using the slide unlock screen before this one. I'll uninstall the app once I reach ten bucks. Posted via Android Central App
  • So when you click on this link, that person gets a $1. pretty cool if you are the first of your friends doing this
  • Any chance someone can answer these questions? 1: What's the battery like with using the app a lot? 2: Do I have to just unlock my phone or actually watch the video or load the webpage?
  • Hey ND there's shouldn't be any noticeable battery drainage. But there has been a report here and there where it's been having some unusual amount of battery usage. But our next update should hopefully fix it anyway. I suggest, if you see a big difference to just hold off for a few days. Just unlock phone, no watching video, no loading webpage. Paid either way. And you don't get extra for actually engaging.
  • Doesn't seem to be compatible with my Note 2 in Canada
  • US only. Sorry.
  • Does it work on tablets? In other words, can I double my profits by using it on 2 devices? And get my wife to use it on her phone and tablet as well? Suddenly that $262/year becomes $1000/year! Posted via Android Central App
  • Doesn't work on tablets. But you can link accounts to the same paypal. You'll need separate accounts for different phones though.
  • It works fine on my nexus 7. I have it running on both my tablet and galaxy s3!
  • Works perfect on my acer iconia a500
  • This will be difficult one I'm using the Moto X's sweet unlock screen. For now I am treating it as my insurance plan for my next phone, though.
  • Hey Phil, just wanted to mention. Although 5 accounts in in the terms of use, we have certainly been paying people for more than 5 referrals. And if anyone has more than 5 and want to make sure it goes through, a quick email will definitely work. I think the main reason it was in our terms of use was in case we got an influx of users where we'd be unable to pay. Just a safety net for us in case something bad happens.
  • So my question is this: I usually just pull down my notification shade to access any emails or texts that I get and don't actually do the swipe to unlock my phone. If I continue to use my phone in this way will I get paid for those "unlocks" or do I have to swipe to receive the payout?
  • So far in two days I've averaged $0.40. That's $72 in a half a year. I see it as I'm constantly finding change without actually dealing with coins. As long as the ads look nice like they do I'll probably keep it.
  • Downloaded this awhile back but never set it up. Now when I open it I get a warning there is a new version available and it asks me to go to the Play store. When I go there, there is no new version. Looks like I can't do anything now. Tried to re install. Same thing.
  • Holy Lord!!! That is crazy money. This will fund all my play store purchases!!!!!
    5 bucks a week is a lot of money in my country,considering that I still dont have a job. Hell, I might even be able to afford a stable internet connection. Sweet apps!
  • EDIT: Not available in my country. Figures. :(
  • Get a free USA VPN...
  • It works very well with my Floating Toucher app. I keep the things I need to access quickly there, and can avoid the Locket if I'm in a rush. Otherwise Locket isn't a bother and why not get paid a little for the unlock you're going to do anyway.
  • If you're paying $10 a gig that's 1 cent a MB when not on wifi. If the adds are 0.25 MB (which is reasonable) You'll be paying to see adds if you unlock your phone more than 12 times an hour (assuming they refresh every time).... Posted via Android Central App
  • I've got a Droid 1 and Droid X at home not being used, now i just need this and an app that wakes up the phone and unlocks it every 20 minutes. I'll turn those 2 devices on and let them sit and collect money while i'm doing nothing.
  • Can Tasker be set to do this?.... Makes me wonder... I know you can set it do do more stuff than I could ever imagine... But I doubt it can "unlock" the app's lockscreen replacer.
  • So, Phil, after all this, did you leave it running and discard it?
  • I'm curious as to how this works with multiple devices. Like a tablet and a phone. Do you get 2X the lock cap? Posted via Android Central App
  • Its not actually as bad as it seems, I made $1.25 in two days and I didn't even force myself to open my phone 3 times an hour because we all open our phones more than 3 times an hour. So why not get paid to open our phone, and this is a beta app so its going to improve over time and eventually have worthy outputs. For now the only downside is that it only pays out with paypal, or that's the only option I've seen so far, I wish they had a straight to google play credit but ehh its $10 I earned just by opening my phone, which is mandatory to use the device.
  • Also,I used this for maybe 10 minutes on my nexus 7 (2013) and I have seen significantly worse battery life(even after uninstalling it) something is up with how its using device resources.. I just don't feel like 1 cent is worth it per unlock if you were willing to bump it up to 4 cents an unlock I would use this. Besides your profit per unlock may go down slightly but your overall profits would increase because more people would be willing to use the service Posted via Android Central App
  • Hmm... I wonder if I could set up an android emulator on my server that I have running 24/7, install Locket, and setup a macro to unlock every 20 minutes. It's not a lot, but it would pay for the server being on all day!
  • I honestly don't understand why anyone would have a problem with this. I don't even look at my lockscreen. I swipe right, then I unlock. With this, I'm at least treated to a different image every time I unlock my phone. I literally do nothing and it isn't changing the way I use my phone. Granted, it isn't much, but if I'm making the maximum amount per hour at 16 hours a day, that's a free twelve pack of brew. Why not? What's so special about your lockscreen that you refuse to get paid for ads rather than have them forced down your throat everywhere else? Posted via Android Central App
  • Agree wholeheartedly. Posted via Android Central App
  • Not even for $1 for every ad. Posted via Android Central App
  • Really? Cause at my rate I would get $273 a week if it was a dollar per ad.
  • I emailed them about the 3 cent cap on the 18th, and I got this response: "Hey Riley, Thanks a lot for your feedback. It's a good thing we're not a big company yet :)  - and hopefully we never become too busy to respond to emails. We're definitely going to try other ways of capping it in the next few months. We're starting off with this method as the initial test, so we'll be running it for a while and collecting feedback. Please keep in touch and watch for our updates. We'll be including bonuses and looking at different ways of paying out in the near future. Hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks! Christopher
    Co-founder, Locket" So hopefully, its not permanent
  • Just wondering, what is stopping people from just making a lot of emails and pretending its a friend then getting a dollar?
  • Time and hassle. You have to create a Locket account too each time too.
  • So, every 2-3 days, I can buy an app? Sounds like a win, actually.
  • Yep. Not a bad idea. HTC ONE ~ Android Central App
  • I personally love it but to each their own. Give it a try: Posted via Android Central App
  • They can keep their money. I like the ads. I have a galaxy S3 and do not care for the widgets on my lock screen, That's what my Notification light is for... I will NEVER make money on this, but I like it.
  • I'm almost up to $5 already. The trick is to just lock and unlock the phone 3 times in a row to ge the full 3 cents an hour. Since I have it and my wife does we are expecting to make $150-175 a year. Nothing to scoff at for no work. It will pay for our phones when we are up for new ones. So basically to have an ad that ill see for a split second when I unlock my phone I get free phones every two years. I think it's awesome.
  • if you think a little how much data (it is not free) is used by the is more like you end up paying for it yourself in the end
  • I got this app. Works good. Haven't had time to do referrals. my $1s though. Posted via Android Central App
  • Having making my plan payment. Wearing out WiFi. Y'all gave me a good idea. Posted via Android Central App
  • I updated the app and now it seems like they dropped it to .02 cents an hour. Anyone else seeing this or am I just missing the extra cent?
  • Still 3¢ here. Just my .02. Posted via Android Central App
  • Hey Mike, it's still 3 cents. Sometimes the bar 1c doesn't update though when the hour changes ): so you only see 1c twice. But if you watch it from the actual account, it should be going up.
  • Thanks. I noticed that the first 1¢ doesn't show up in the circle, but I still get credit for it.
  • Its a great app here my referral link
  • Abuse with bluestacks and unlimited VPNs or something. This is such a terrible idea it deserves to be abused until the people behind it are bankrupt.
  • So conceivably I could simply download this onto an old phone that I don't use anymore, and just unlock it three times an hour when I'm home bullshitting on the couch, and get a few bucks for it? Meh... not bad Posted via Android Central App
  • Why not just use it on a current phone you already use rather than have two devices?
  • What the hell, right? Here is my referral link
  • I referred someone. When will i see the buck? Also it locks up a lot. I'm keeping it though. Ski trip cash. lol Posted via Android Central App
  • Hi! Good app worth it I'm really what else are you using your lock screen for. Use my referral please: Posted via Android Central App
  • I love this app. I only miss about four hours a day because I don't waste much time with sleep. I figure that by mid October I can buy Gta 5 free of charge. That's what I'm talking about.
  • The per hour cap has been lifted! Now you will get $.01 every time :)
  • Only on "new" ads. If you already got the cent for the ad, you don't get it. I unlock my phone probably over 100 times everyday and I only got 5 cent yesterday. I'd take the 3 cent cap an hour over this.
  • I cashed out after $18 and now back up to $3 I also did the earn more. Think of the price of gas ..I have a gallon on my phone for beautiful ads and information.
  • Update gang Locket has stopped paying for swipes, now you have to get one of the offers that are on your screen to get anything from Locket. lame deal gang the broke thier word pass it on
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