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Lock screen gestures on HTC EVO 4G AOSP ROMs help you save time

1FMWj If you use an AOSP ROM on your HTC EVO 4G like I do, then you're probably jealous of Sense users. At least a little bit, anyway. The first time I ran a Sense 3.0 ROM, I thought to myself, "Wow, these app shortcuts on the lock screen are quite nifty." But, for the sake of stability and features, I always found myself going back to KushDeck's 2.3.4 Gingerbread ROM.

What can we do to make up for the lack of these app shortcuts on our lock screens? I suppose we could just spend three extra seconds opening the app drawer and tapping the app. But I'm too busy hiding pictures to be wasting my time in the app drawer.

Luckily, if you are running CyanogenMod or KushDeck's 2.3.4 Gingerbread, you have a lock screen feature built-in to your ROM that is arguably better than Sense's new app shortcuts: lock screen gestures.

Normally on the AOSP lock screen, you have two options: unlock the phone or adjust the volume of your EVO. Hidden, though, is a feature that allows you to get to apps faster than ever before.

When you unlock your phone, you have a goal in your head. It may be to check G&E for another great post from yours truly. It may be to see what everybody is tweeting about. Maybe you need to send a text. Lock screen gestures are nice because they reduce your pocket-to-action time drastically.

The first step involves enabling them on your EVO. This varies slightly between the two ROMs, but the procedure is nearly identical. First, get to the Settings app (Menu -> Settings, app drawer, etc.). Next, go to Advanced Settings or CyanogenMod Settings (depending on your ROM). Then go to the Lockscreen option, followed by Lockscreen Gestures. Now, check the first box.

Congratulations! You have turned on lock screen gestures. Now let's build some gestures.


Above is my custom list of lock screen gestures. My most used gestures are for the camera and the flashlight. This takes previously tedious steps and replaces them with a swipe of your finger.

Now you are probably wondering how to use this nifty feature. I'll show you.

Under the Lockscreen Gestures settings, select Build Gestures. At the bottom is a button that says "Add gesture" (see screenshot above). Now, select the action. For this example, I will set up "Shortcut or activity" to open Skype faster. After selecting the action you want the  gesture to complete, you must select a gesture. For this action I chose an "S": 

Snap20110711_194443     Snap20110711_194514

After hitting Done on the bottom, your gesture is saved.

To use the lock screen gestures, simply lock your EVO. After pressing the power button on your EVO the screen will light up again. Now, just above the unlock/volume sliding tabs, you can trace your gesture. In this example, Skype is opened after I trace an "S" on the screen.

Snap20110711_194534     Snap20110711_194550

As you start to use this feature, you may get tired of that yellow line following your finger (especially when you're just unlocking). You can change the color to be more appealing, as I chose to do for my Skype example, or you can disable the "trails" altogether (the Show Gesture Trails option is found in the Lockscreen Gestures settings). This makes your lock screen much cleaner, but I would recommend leaving the trails on as you get used to the gestures.

I hope all of you using an AOSP ROM on your HTC EVO will start taking advantage of this time-saving feature.

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Sam Sarsten

Sam Sarsten is a former contributing editor at Good and EVO, which was merged with Pocketables in 2012.

Avatar of Sam Sarsten

9 thoughts on “Lock screen gestures on HTC EVO 4G AOSP ROMs help you save time

  • This is a useful tip. However, if you want to have access to all your apps at the click of your power button, just disable the useless lock screen altogether, under Advanced/Cyanogen>Tablet Tweaks. In the almost 1 yr I have had my Evo, I can only think of about 3 times the screen came on accidentally & caused an app to open inadvertently. Otherwise, it has given me much quicker access to my phone.

  • True but the lock screen is also a security against other people from quickly accessing your phone.

  • Yeah, on my Evo 4G, I had a “secret” gesture that unlocks the phone.

    My friends would pick it up, and there’s nothing on the screen but a clock and wallpaper. They had no idea what to do, so they put it down. Not that it was the hardest gesture to guess, but security through obscurity I suppose!

  • How do you set that up? I can’t think of a way to disable the lock screen sliders but also use the lockscreen gestures. Are you using CM7?

  • Avatar of tartan1515

    I agree entirely with the OP. In my 13+ months of EVO ownership, I have only once fell victim to someone picking up my EVO, logging in to Facebook, and posting something homoerotic (silly brother-in-law). The other 100,000+ times that I turned on my screen and didn’t have to mess with a stupid lock screen made it totally worth it. Additionally, there have been many times where I wanted a picture taken quickly or by someone else — a lock screen would have been quite annoying.

    I’m not dinging Sam for the write-up, I just don’t understand the point of lock screens.

  • Avatar of bk w/ bloody sauce

    wow, lucky, the last time i had this turned on, when I pulled my evo out of my pocket, it had turned on gone into settings and had somehow setup a lockscreen password and was about to confirm it, i have since turned this feature off,

  • Avatar of davidr521

    FYI, doesn’t work with other lockscreen apps (e.g. WidgetLocker).

  • Widget locker is another way to do this if you’re using stock roms

  • Avatar of Anonymous

    Wow… “I just don’t understand the point of lock screens”

    Are you serious guy? You obviously understand the basic idea, you just stated that you never have to worry about it. Lucky you, hooray. We are all ecstatic for you.

    But to assume that others should not use a lock screen because “you just don’t understand the point” is a completely absurd idea. SOME of us need that security. some of us aren’t living in pleasantville, and have shady characters around. I, for one, think no one should go withOUT a screen lock. Most people have saved passwords, or an auto log-in to shopping sites, or some pictures and texts they don’t want anyone else to see on their phone. And for the most part, the large majority of the populace is untrustworthy.
    If you have ANY sensitive info on your phone, to leave it without security just plain stupid.


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