Facebook-owned Onavo sensitively launches Bolt App Lock, a data-tracking app that thatch other apps

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Onavo, a data-security app builder Facebook acquired in 2013 in sequence benefit insights into mobile user activity opposite apps, has sensitively launched a new app directed during Android users called Bolt App Lock. Instead of charity a VPN, Bolt App Lock is a apparatus that lets we close down any app we don’t wish others to be means to open, regulating a PIN code, pattern, or your fingerprint.

Apps that assistance users close other apps is a renouned difficulty on Android, where we can now find dozens of identical solutions – nonetheless mostly from opposite companies save for a few, like Keepsafe or Norton, for example. Like a others in this space, a Bolt app lets we close down other apps that enclose personal information, such as private photos or remuneration details.

With a resources of Facebook behind it, Onavo appears to have built a some-more polished, complicated choice to a existent apps.

But Onavo – and Facebook’s – primary seductiveness isn’t on personal security. It’s about anticipating a approach on users’ phones in sequence to guard mobile activity and learn what new apps could be holding courtesy divided from Facebook’s amicable network.

This is disclosed during a bottom of a app’s inventory on Google Play, that explains that, as a Facebook company, Onavo will “collect info about your mobile device and a apps commissioned on it” and share that with Facebook.

Above: Bolt App Lock’s avowal per information collection

Data on mobile app use has helped Facebook better compete with rivals like Snapchat – like when it saw how Instagram’s launch of a Stories-like underline was operative to delayed down Snapchat’s user growth, for instance. It also expected helped to surprise Facebook’s newer merger of a buzzy teen enrich app tbh, that shortly led to a new Facebook QA feature, desirous by tbh.

To attract users to a Onavo VPN, Facebook recently began promotion a app directly within Facebook’s categorical navigation on iOS, underneath a menu object “Protect.” When clicked, a couple would take we to a download page for Onavo Protect on a App Store. The association has also featured a identical “Protect” couple in a Facebook app for Android in a past. (We’re not now saying a choice on Android, nonetheless your mileage might change as Facebook’s apps are ceaselessly being tweaked and updated.)

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But in sequence to benefit these sorts of insights, Facebook needs a user bottom peaceful to implement Onavo’s app. That might be some-more formidable to grasp these days, though.

After TechCrunch pennyless a news of Onavo’s coming on iOS, a series of outlets directly warned users not to install a app. (See, for example: Gizmodo’s “Do Not, we Repeat, Do Not Download Onavo, Facebook’s Vampiric VPN Service” or Wired’s “Don’t trust a VPN Facebook wants we to use.”)  

Until a recoil over Onavo Protect dies down, a new app like Bolt App Lock could give Facebook a opposite means of expanding Onavo’s user base, and therefore, Facebook’s entrance to mobile user data.

Bolt App Lock launched on Mar 5, 2018, according to information from Sensor Tower. It’s not nonetheless display on a Onavo homepage as one of a company’s products. The app is a giveaway download on Google Play.

The app also hasn’t done an coming in Facebook’s app, the approach Onavo Protect did – during slightest not as of yet. We asked Facebook if that’s a contingent plan, nonetheless haven’t listened back.

Update, 3/9/2018 4 PM ET: A Facebook orator says this was a “small, brief test.”