My failed attempt at giving WidgetLocker a profile system

wl force close - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here

Profile enabled lock screens is something of a holy grail right now: You have SmartShift that does profiles almost right but the lockscreen wrong (in my opinion), and WidgetLocker that does the lock screen right but doesn’t do profiles. I’ve been hoping that one of the two would step up and be the ultimate solution, but after waiting months I’m losing hope. I also posted the suggestion in the WidgetLocker support thread on xda-developers, where it was backed up by several other people, but no response came from the developer as to whether it will be implemented at any point.

Finally I set out to try to do it myself. Most apps use fairly obvious methods to store data, such as a big, bright folder named *Appname*settings or something like that. WidgetLocker is no exception, even if you need root to go find it in data/data/com.teslacoilsw.widgetlocker/.  In there you’ll find a few folders with a few different configuration files that essentially decide how WidgetLocker looks.

This is something that most apps do, and I’ve used that fact in the past to get all sorts of aftermarket features for my apps, like automatic settings backup, Audible playback position syncing, and save game file syncing. Apps tend to accept files written by the same app regardless of when or what device wrote the files, as long as they’re placed in the right spot.

That’s why I was hoping that I could give WidgetLocker a profile system by closing it, replacing the settings folder with one that contains a different configuration (but made by the same app, on the same device), and start it back up again. Alas, that was not the case. I tried for ages, replacing the entire folder or just the files that were changed, with and without the app running in the background, and the end result was always a failure. The app simply force closes or starts from scratch when presented with a new “profile,” which suggests that it’s using some sort of secondary source for settings that clashes with the main settings when you replace files like this. Bottom line, I wasn’t able to make it work, and I doubt I ever will.

Obviously the app wasn’t meant to do this, and so I can’t really blame anyone for it not working. Replacing settings files is a very old trick though, and it’s a pity that it didn’t work. If it had, creating a system for automatically switching between profiles by replacing files would have been easy, and it would have been breath of fresh air for an app which seems to be at a stand still as far as new features are concerned.

wl - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here

The lesson to take away from this is the basic method I tried to use here, is while it failed for WidgetLocker, it may work for other apps. Audible starts fine with settings files added in unconventional ways, and so do many games. It’s a neat trick to be aware of, and can come in handy when developers don’t add features you feel are crucial for the app’s usefulness. obviously you can also use WidgetLocker as it is by hitting the download link below.

Download: Google Play

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.

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