TimePIN makes your Android lockscreen PIN dynamic

Martin Brinkmann
May 12, 2014
Updated • Jun 6, 2014
Apps, Google Android

Most mobile devices are protected by a PIN that needs to be entered before access to its functionality is granted. Depending on what type of mobile operating system you are using, that PIN may be a simply four digit code, or something more elaborate and secure.

While that is sufficient usually to keep most attackers at bay, it is not a good enough protection if someone catches you typing in your PIN on the device. This can happen in a crowded place, on a train for example, at a concert, or anywhere else where people come together.

Besides implications for the device itself, it may also provide the person spotting the PIN with access to additional devices you own, provided that you use the PIN on other devices or to protect other services as well.

Since the PIN is static, access to the device at any time afterwards will grant full access to it. There may be other means to reveal a phone's PIN, for instance if the device is dusted for fingerprints shortly after the PIN was entered.

TimePIN is an application for the Google Android operating system that makes the lockscreen PIN of the device dynamic.

How that is done? By changing it based on time or date, plus other modifications that you may add to it.

If you pick time, you would have to enter the current time every time you unlock the device. While that is dynamic, using plain date or time information as the lockscreen PIN may not be sufficient in terms of security, especially for an app that is somewhat popular already.

That's why you can add modifiers to the PIN. Available are options to reverse the PIN, mirror or double it, or use a custom offset to modify it. The offset would add or subtract time from the PIN, but is only available as part of the PRO version of the app. The same is true for the date PIN functionality.

A guide is displayed on first start after installation which you should read through. It is a couple of pages long and explains the functionality of the app. What may be of special interest here is that it includes two failsafe mechanism in case you forget how to unlock the phone using the new dynamic system.

Only the first is enabled at all times. A default PIN is used whenever you reboot your phone. So, instead of having to use the dynamic PIN, you can restart the device and enter the default PIN instead.

The second option needs to be enabled in the advanced options. It accepts the default PIN if you fail five times to enter the correct password on the lockscreen.

As far as downsides go, the app is currently not compatible with encrypted devices. It will recognize if your device is encrypted and disable all of its functionality automatically in that case.

According to the author, support for encrypted devices will be added in a later patch.

The second requirement is that your device runs Android 4.0.3 at the very least.


If you hang out a lot in crowded places and enter your PIN to unlock your phone all the time there, then adding extra security may be an option to consider.

It may not be necessary though if you are confident that no one will get access to your device, and that the PIN used is unique to the device.

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  1. bruh said on August 18, 2023 at 1:25 pm

    Uhh, this has already been possible – I am not sure how but remember my brother telling me about it. I’m not a whatsapp user so not sure of the specifics, but something about sending the image as a file and somehow bypassing the default compression settings that are applied to inbound photos.

    He has also used this to share movies to whatsapp groups, and files 1Gb+.

    Like I said, I never used whatsapp, but I know 100% this isn’t a “brand new feature”, my brother literally showed me him doing it, like… 5 months ago?

  2. 💥 said on August 18, 2023 at 3:55 pm

    Martin, what happened to those: 12 Comments (https://www.ghacks.net/chatgpt-gets-schooled-by-princeton-university/#comments). Is there a specific justifiable reason why they were deleted?

    Hmm, it looks like the gHacks website database is faulty, and not populating threads with their relevant cosponsoring posts.

  3. 45 RPM said on August 19, 2023 at 6:29 pm

    The page on ghacks this is on represents the best of why it has become so worthless, fill of click-bait junk that it’s about to be deleted from my ‘daily reads’.

    It’s really like “Press Release as re-written by some d*ck for clicks…poorly.” And the subjects are laughable. Can’t wait for “How to search for files on Windows”.

    1. owl said on August 20, 2023 at 12:51 am

      > The page on ghacks this is on represents the best of why it has become so worthless, fill of click-bait junk…

      Sadly, I have to agree.

      Only Martin and Ashwin are worth subscribing to.
      Especially Emre Çitak and Shaun are the worst ones.

      If ghacks.net intended “Clickbait”, it would mark the end of Ghacks Technology News.
      Ghacks doesn’t need crappy clickbaits. Clearly separate articles from newer authors (perhaps AIs and external sales person or external advertising man) as just “Advertisements”!

      We, the subscribers of Ghacks, urge Martin to make a decision.

  4. chessandonions said on August 20, 2023 at 12:40 am

    because nevermore wants to “monetize” on every aspect of human life…

  5. Frank Rizzo said on August 20, 2023 at 11:52 pm

    “Threads” is like the Walmart of Social Media.

  6. Ashray said on August 21, 2023 at 4:06 pm

    How hard can it be to clone a twitter version of that as well? They’re slow.

  7. Paul(us) said on August 21, 2023 at 5:16 pm

    Yes, why not mention how large the HD files can be?
    Why, not mention what version of WhatsApp is needed?
    These omissions make the article feel so bare. If not complete.

    1. Paul(us) said on August 21, 2023 at 5:18 pm

      Sorry posted on the wrong page.

  8. Marc said on August 21, 2023 at 6:00 pm

    such a long article for such a simple matter. Worthless article ! waste of time

  9. plusminus_ said on August 21, 2023 at 7:54 pm

    I already do this by attaching them via the ‘Document’ option.

  10. John G. said on August 21, 2023 at 11:43 pm

    I don’t know what’s going on here at Ghacks but it’s obvious that something is broken, comments are being mixed whatever the article, I am unable to find some of my later posts neither. :S

  11. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    Quoting the article,
    “As users gain popularity, the value of their tokens may increase, allowing investors to reap rewards.”

    Besides, beyond the thrill and privacy risks or not, the point is to know how you gain popularity, be it on social sites as everywhere in life. Is it by being authentic, by remaining faithful to ourselves or is it to have this particular skill which is to understand what a majority likes, just like politicians, those who’d deny to the maximum extent compatible with their ideological partnership, in order to grab as many of the voters they can?

    I see the very concept of this Friend.tech as unhealthy, propagating what is already an increasing flaw : the quest for fame. I won’t be the only one to count himself out, definitely.

    1. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2023 at 2:34 pm

      @John G. is right : my comment was posted on [https://www.ghacks.net/2023/08/23/what-is-friend-tech/] and it appears there but as well here at [https://www.ghacks.net/2023/07/08/how-to-follow-everyone-on-threads/]

      This has been lasting for several days. Fix it or at least provide some explanations if you don’t mind.

  12. Tom said on August 24, 2023 at 11:53 am

    > Google Chrome is following in Safari’s footsteps by introducing a new feature that allows users to move the Chrome address bar to the bottom of the screen, enhancing user accessibility and interaction.

    Firefox did this long before Safari.

  13. Mavoy said on September 16, 2023 at 2:17 pm

    Basically they’ll do anything except fair royalties.

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