Samsung's Good Lock walkthrough: suave looks, lock screen widgets, and more


Did you hear about Good Lock? You probably didn't, but we will make sure to brief you as quickly as possible. Good Lock is a new Samsung app that overhauls certain elements of the TouchWiz UI. Described as an "advanced Samsung System UI", Good Lock brings a stock Android-like notification pane and status bar. Meanwhile, the recent apps menu and the lockscreen functionality have also scored some interesting changes; the latter, for example, comes with way more customizable shortcuts and even widgets.

Good Lock seems to be working with all Samsung devices that run Android Marshmallow. Have in mind that it is not compatible with phones running Lollipop, as Good Lock requires API 23, and this one arrived with Marshmallow. You can get Good Lock from Galaxy Apps, but if it doesn't show for you there, you can get it from this mirror here

The notification panel



After you download the app, your phone will prompt you to restart it. This is needed as your SystemUI.apk has been changed and you need to reboot to see the changes. After you restart your device, you will be greeted by a brief walkthrough slideshow showcasing the novelties that Good Lock has brought.

First of all, the overhauled notification pane should look quite familiar. And rightly so, as we've already seen it on the Android N developer preview. Apart from the regular pane, there are also several toggle shortcuts that allow you to enable/disable Wi-Fi, Buetooth, mobile data, and other features without even flicking open the full Quick Toggle panel. 

Sadly, you can't move the toggles around like you can in stock TouchWiz. Actually, apart from changing the color scheme, you can't customize the notification/quick toggle panel at all. Also, notice the status bar icons which are coming straight from stock Android. 

There is also a feature that allows you to keep notifications in the pane for later viewing. You can also long-press a notification and a list of available actions will pop up, allowing you to create a reminder, view additional details, or specify a category for the app that has sent you the notification. The latter will bundle all future notifications together.

Here is how the quick toggles of Good Lock look like. They are almost identical with what one would find on stock Android and are certainly an acquired taste. One of the things we don't like though is the bright background that can't be substituted for something darker. Also, notice the amount of blur in the background. Bokehlicious! 


Recent Apps 


Moving on to the Recents pane, there are some pretty big changes. Your recent apps are no longer displayed as cards, but in a list. You can close each app by tapping the corresponding "X" sign, and open it in multi-window by tapping on the multitasking icon against its name. What's rather interesting here is the so-called App Tray at the bottom of the menu, which allows you to quickly access a few of your favorite apps. This Apps Tray menu also appears at the bottom of your lockscreen. You can customize the apps in it by heading to the Good Lock app. Performance-wise, the overhauled app switcher feels just a smidgen slower than Samsung's regular one, but it certainly has more issues. For example, closing an app at the top of the list will automatically take you to its bottom, which is a bit annoying. 


Oh, and the animation of the Recent Apps panel is oh-so-nice!


Lock screen


In our opinion, the lock screen that arrives with Good Lock is pretty well-executed. It amps up the amount of lock screen shortcuts from 2 to 20, as it uses the same layout of the App Tray that we talked about in the previous section. 

You can have between 3 and 7 icons on different rows and access them by swiping your finger up and down. Lock screen widgets are also making a comeback, sort of - you can add several widgets and access them straight from your lockscreen. 

How to access these? They are hidden in plain sight - you can access your lock screen widgets by swiping down on the lockscreen clock. Just make sure you don't swipe down anywhere else as doing so triggers the unlock animation. 

Speaking of these, you have several to choose from, ranging from light flares to squares, and so on. 

Customization and Routines


Apart from editing the App Tray layout, all of the customization is done through the Good Lock app. The process is pretty straightforward: you can edit a slew of general settings from the Routines menu, as well as different lock screen settings from the corresponding menu. Notice the "Uninstall" option at the bottom. You will need this one if you wish to revert back to stock TouchWiz SystemUI.apk. Simply uninstalling the app won't do so.

And what are Routines? These are different profiles that enable you to set up different apps in the App Tray, widgets on the lock screen, and color scheme. You can easily switch between your different profiles by heading to the Routines menu in the app.


Final thoughts


All in all, Good Lock has too much issues that prevent it from being a stable daily driver. For the most part, it's a curious example of Samsung's in-house attempts at spicing up the user experience and appealing to the user crowd that is infatuated with Android's stock looks. At this point, the overhauled SystemUI is not a viable alternative of TouchWiz, but they might be giving us hints that Samsung is at least experimenting on the UI front. And this makes us hopeful.

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20 Comments

1. vincelongman

Posts: 5724; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Looks better than TouchWiz IMO Like a good mix of TouchWiz, Material Design and iOS Any hands on videos? That recents animation is so nice

13. phonearenarocks

Posts: 607; Member since: Mar 26, 2015

17. vincelongman

Posts: 5724; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Thanks :D

19. Jango

Posts: 376; Member since: Oct 24, 2014

They totally proved to the world that there is a stage worse than worst. Those notifications look hideous. Despite all this, I really like the quick settings panel.

2. lallolu

Posts: 733; Member since: Sep 18, 2012

How is it on the RAM?

4. PeterK.

Posts: 314; Member since: Nov 13, 2013

Pretty similar to what you get out of stock TW. For the most part, it's pleasantly snappy and smooth as butter.

8. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

Is there a way one can keep the notification style from Good Luck and recent apps from the regular TouchWiz style, card layout ? Or is it all or nothing kinda of a deal ?

14. max1c

Posts: 103; Member since: Oct 11, 2014

Not as of this moment. However, according to responses to reviews on the Galaxy app store devs are saying they are looking into this and many other issues that everyone is reporting. They are saying update is coming soon.

9. phonearenarocks

Posts: 607; Member since: Mar 26, 2015

If installing just an App is causing so many changes to UI, expect many more to come from app developers...now that Samsung has shown how it can be done.

3. ChowMein

Posts: 76; Member since: Jan 01, 2015

It doesn't have a dark theme, so I uninstalled it. I don't like the recent apps either

5. iampun33t

Posts: 136; Member since: Apr 17, 2013

This is pretty well executed IMO. One thing that this article does not cover is that now Notifications can now be put into folders. Also the notifications can be sent to the Keep Tab which removes them from sight but keeps them for later action. These feature are just mentioned in passing but are perhaps the most useful features of this UI. The worst part is perhaps the un-editable Quick Toggles. I like the Recent Apps but it might not be for everyone. All in all this is a refreshing change from the Stock Sammy look.

6. yoosufmuneer

Posts: 1518; Member since: Feb 14, 2015

I still prefer Touchiwz

7. Zack_2014

Posts: 677; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

After removing all apps from recent apps. It should close. But it doesn't. Requires extra step of clicking the back button. Little things like this cause real annoyances. But the UI looks great.

10. DonShock

Posts: 19; Member since: Jan 06, 2012

I like the notification screen layout and the inclusion of the app tray. But it's a bit too easy to hit the Delete All when trying to expand the app tray. A bit more separation is needed. I really liked the changes to the settings screen that is accessed when you do the double pull down from the top edge. But I never did get the widgets to work, even after reinstalling it a second time to try the clock area only hint mentioned in this story. I also wish there were a way to have the couple apps directly accessible from the lock screen like the stock UI. The unfulfilled promises were enough to stop me from keeping it installed. But if they keep working it in this direction it looks promising. I'll be on the lookout for further stories about improvements or I may try periodically reinstalling it to see what changes were made. I wish it could stay installed and just be enabled/disabled at will.

11. Shocky unregistered

Looks horrible, gave it a try and quickly uninstalled.

15. ihearlivepplz

Posts: 80; Member since: Jul 06, 2015

S6 with marshmallow here, couldn't install it through the store but googled the APK and installed it. Actually liking it apart from the Recent apps.

16. DnB925Art

Posts: 1168; Member since: May 23, 2013

As long as you have Marshmallow, you can install it. I have a Sprint Note 4 and was able to download and install the apk on it without any problems. Using it now, it is really smooth. I don't know if I'll keep it as my daily driver, but I will give it a try for a week or 2 and see how it goes and make my decision. It does look promising though!

18. Krjal

Posts: 431; Member since: Dec 19, 2013

I hate how inefficient the card-based recent apps list is in Android these days so I gave this a shot. Sadly it's a bit too fresh out of the oven for me. Looking forward to updates though; I'm keeping an eye on this one.

20. AliceMamadou

Posts: 49; Member since: Mar 29, 2016

Here is another way to unlock pattern lock for Samsung Galaxy phones, and no data loss youtube.com/watch?v=lw4ueft-t_I

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