LockInfo is a plugin-based MobileSubstrate extension that is capable if displaying information wherever and whenever you might want it on your iPhone. There are a few other extensions that come to mind when you think about what LockInfo can do, but LockInfo’s best feature isn’t actually listed as one of its selling points: it blends in with your iPhone very, very well.
There are basically three main sections to play with: the lockscreen, homescreen, and InfoShade. Each of these areas is a separate customizable panel of information, which means that you can have certain plugins display only on the lockscreen, others on both the lockscreen and the InfoShade, or most any other combination you can think of.
The default plugins are for calendar, mail, push notifications, phone and voicemail, and SMS. However, you can download a number of other plugins (I use Things and TypographyTime) by searching for LockInfo on Cydia, and all the plugins I’ve encountered so far are completely free.
The lockscreen is LockInfo’s namesake, and it’s displayed right over your default iPhone lockscreen.
The main thing I want to mention here is that the lockscreen works almost seamlessly. Want to hide LockInfo? Just swipe down status bar. Does your album art look a little awkward with your lockscreen setup? There’s a setting to hide LockInfo while your music plays. Want to hide the “slide to unlock” graphic? There’s a toggle for that, too, and it actually makes it work in both directions (you can slide left or right to unlock).
However, it’s worth nothing that, if you’ve set LockInfo to hide the default slider, you won’t be able to tell by looking at the screen if your iPhone is syncing. It’s a relatively minor problem overall, but it would be useful to have some sort of “syncing” indicator.
A more pressing issue with the lockscreen is how it handles pop-up notifications. I’m not just talking about push notifications, but any kind of alert that generates a pop-up. LockInfo has a toggle to hide all alerts while on the lockscreen (and I can see all of them, anyway, through my various LockInfo plugins), but calendar alerts aren’t handled very well. [Edit: It turns out there's a setting for this within the Calendars plugin to have only calendar pop-ups show, and have all other pop-ups stay blocked. Very nice.]
The homescreen is an interesting twist on the lockscreen. You can set it to be your first Springboard page, or have it meld with the current first page of your Springboard — right alongside the app icons. The latter solution probably sounds a bit messy, but LockInfo actually lets you set the extension’s vertical position, so you can have your homescreen start just after a row of icons, and leave the rest of the page only to LockInfo.
It’s a great implementation, but between the lockscreen and the InfoShade, I simply don’t need the homescreen.
Now this is really, really cool. InfoShade is basically a lockscreen that you can summon at any time through Activator (a gesture-based launcher; most famously used in SBSettings). The InfoShade can also blend in perfectly, regardless of what app you’re using, if you set it to Fullscreen mode with an opacity of 50% or greater. With these settings, it really is like pulling the blinds over your current app, and this feature works perfectly in both portrait and landscape orientations.
I’ve currently set my own InfoShade up to show 10 tasks from the Things task manager, as well as incoming text, e-mail, and push notifications. I especially appreciate the LockInfo Mail plugin, since it lets me tap on individual messages to see live previews (which automatically marks the message as read).
This wasn’t a feature I had even known about before receiving my review copy, but LockInfo does feature statusbar icons for push notifications, e-mails, phone calls, and SMS alerts (in a similar manner to Notified). When you combine these statusbar icons with the anywhere-access of the InfoShade, the relatively crappy notification system on iOS starts to feel a lot more manageable. These statusbar icons are a great feature that are too easily to overlook amongst all the other things that this extension offers.
LockInfo is like that new black leather jacket you got for Christmas that seems to match everything else you own, and damn, do you look good in it. I’ve never seen an MS extension that fit in so beautifully with iOS.
It’s also creepily amazing. There are all sorts of little toggles in the settings panel that simply don’t make sense to me until days later, when I encounter an issue, flip one of the toggles in said settings panel, and realize that the developer (David Ashman) had seen this coming. It’s spooky, but in a good way (less Paranormal Activity, more Casper the Friendly Ghost).
LockInfo has been running smoothly and quickly on my iPhone 3GS running 4.1, and I really couldn’t give it a higher recommendation (I’m already standing on tiptoe here). You can download the extension through Cydia and try it out for 14 days, which should be ample time for you to decide whether it’s worth your $7.99 for a license.
LockInfo was provided by David Ashman for review on iSource. For further information regarding our site’s review policies, please see the “About” page.