A new app, Locket, has risen to the top of Apple’s App Store charts over the past few days and I hate it.
Here’s how it works: You download the app, and follow the directions to add it as a widget to your iPhone’s home screen. Then you give the app all of your contacts, invite friends to join you, and take photos that are directly displayed on your friends’ home screen. Basically, Locket turns your home screen into a private little messaging platform between you and whichever one of your friends you can convince to join you. There’s currently no version of the app for Android.
Matt Moss, a UCSB grad who is building Hawkeye, a tool that will allow you to control your phone using just your eyes, created the app and told TechCrunch that it was a fun little side project of his.
“I built it as a present for my girlfriend for her birthday last summer,” Moss told TechCrunch. “She was going back to school in the fall, so we were about to start a long-distance relationship. The process of getting a little photo from her on my home screen … seemed really appealing. Just a nice way to stay in touch.”
I downloaded it and realized that out of the more than two million people who downloaded the app, not one of them was a contact of mine, so I had my long-distance best friend try it out with me. I could easily add the widget to my home screen but Dani couldn’t — it was just in app form, which sort of ruins the whole reason to have the app. She turned her phone off and on again and it still wasn’t working, so she updated her phone and, still, it didn’t work. Finally, she deleted the app and redownloaded it, which seemed to work for her. Not great!
She’s not the only user who ran into some technical issues while using the app. The free app has just a 3.4-star our of 5-star rating on the app store exactly because some users had trouble making the widget work.
Dani said she wouldn’t use it because it wasn’t worth the trouble.
“Cool idea to share an album with friends of like memes and stuff you can upload, but since you have to take a picture [and can’t just upload from your photo collection] it’s like a glorified Snapchat,” she texted me, later adding: “With today’s men I would be too scared to have a random widget of a [photo he sent] on my Home Screen.”
It is kind of reminiscent of Snapchat, except that this app is on your home screen and all of your pics open immediately and everyone else around you can see it and you cannot change the photo until someone sends another one. As someone who frequently finds my own eyes snooping on strangers’ phones in practically any public place, this makes me very nervous.
Moss seems aware of the similarities between his app and others but said the difference lies in the number of people you communicate with on the app.
“You end up with these huge social circles on the app — where you have 1,000 friends on Instagram, or you have to send Snapchats back and forth with your 100 closest friends — which actually takes a lot of effort at the end of the day,” he told TechCrunch. “So the idea of making something that’s more geared towards those five closest people, or those 10 closest people, and then providing a way to make your phone feel more personal and geared towards people instead of these apps — I think there’s a real appetite for that.”
And maybe there is! This could be the perfect app for you. But for Dani and me, it’s simply not filling a void.