Alternative to a lockscreen widget for my shopping list (Android 5/Lollipop/6/Marshmallow)

Background:

I’m not massively diligent about security, but I use a PIN to unlock my phone and I lock my phone when it’s in my pocket or bag. I’m also a lists person, and while I’m in the supermarket it’s a pain in the arse to keep unlocking my phone every time I want to look at my list or tick off an item I’ve put into my basket.

I used to get around this by putting a to-do list in a lockscreen widget, but since Android 5 (Lollipop) that’s not so easy to do. But I realised the Screen Pinning feature (more obviously useful for when you hand someone your phone to let them look at your photos and you don’t want them digging into your email) works even better than my old lockscreen widget for this purpose.

Screenshots here are from Android 6 (Marshmallow) but you should be able to follow along with 5.x/Lollipop without too much trouble.

1. Set up Screen Pinning

You’ll find this in your settings under Security.

In the event that I lose my phone in the supermarket I don’t want some random person snooping around on my phone, so I set it to ask for my PIN to unlock.

image  image

2. Launch your shopping list

I installed a dedicated shopping list app for this. Google Keep is actually pretty good for the task, but I keep other information in there and the Screen Pinning only restricts your phone to displaying one app, not one list. So, to keep things nice and sandboxed, I installed Buy Me a Pie! which so far works just fine for me, but use whatever you like.

image

3. Pin your shopping list

To activate Screen Pinning, tap the overview button to show the list of your open apps (the square one, and no, I didn’t know it was called that either) then drag up from the bottom of the screen. Next tap the pin icon that appears near the bottom-right corner.

image

Now you get a slightly annoying message about the screen being pinned. Every. Single. Time. But hey. Tap GOT IT to make that go away.

image

4. Do some shopping!

With the shopping list pinned, you can switch the screen on and off as many times as you want as you make your way around the supermarket, without having to enter your PIN to unlock. If you do manage to lose your phone someone else would have access to your shopping list app, but that’s about it.

5. Un-pin when done

Like it says in the screenshot above, to un-pin your shopping list, long press the Overview button (the square one that usually makes your apps list appear). Assuming you set PIN protection at Step 1, your lock screen will appear as usual.

Enjoy!

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