69 thoughts on “Help Us Test Our New Android App

  1. Thank you for making this happen. We’ve been waiting a LONG time. One peice of feedback:
    When I click on the download link for the Alpha, it says: Complete action using and then lists a whole litany of programs. Any thoughts?

  2. So this will work on any android 2.0 or higher, irrespective of when and in what country you bought the smartphone ? Will it be software appl you download from the website here (which I pressume would be password protected if someone wants to remove it from the phone ?), or are there also hardware appl needed for CE to work on the android smartphone ?

    Thank you for the answer and good service.

    • It depends. Are you talking about the current plugin we are testing or the forthcoming app? The alpha version of our plugin will only work on those phones that Firefox works on. The forthcoming app will offer far greater compatibility and should be fine with other country phones. (There are so many variables within the Android ecosystem. The Android world is so horribly fragmented and there are a ton of foreign knock-offs. I hesitate to say our app will work absolutely everywhere.) Our finished app will only require that you install software there will be no hardware modifications required. More details to come as work progresses…

  3. Just downloaded the firefox plug-in on my Droid X and everything seems to be working fine. Covenant Eyes has been one of the solutions I have used and recommended for long-term freedom.

    Thanks to Covenant Eyes for your commitment to providing affordable internet accountability in this area.

  4. Will the final app be able to be used regardless of the browser being used on the device, or only for a particular browser app?

    • @Mitch – The next phase is to have an app that monitors the stock browser (in addition to the plugin for Firefox). Eventually the app will also monitor when other apps are used. Is there any browser you specifically would like to see us monitor?

  5. No not in particular, I just use the stock browser on my desire HD. Was just wondering as other accountability apps can be bypassed, and also if it covered only one browser then it would be simple to download another browser application to use instead.
    Would be great if it worked the way it did on the PC, ie no CE = no internet. I’m not sure if that’s possible on a phone? Though of course it always comes down to the commitment of the user.

    • @Mitch – Right. The commitment of the user is crucial. We are finding some more freedom (compared to the iPhone) when it comes to Android development, but there are still limitations placed on us by the operating system. Talking to the developers, I know their hope is to be able to not only monitor when certain apps are used, but be able to password-lock certain apps altogether. We’ll see how development goes.

  6. WONDERFUL NEWS

    I cant wait for your app to be introduced. I have an Android phone (now relegated to my cupboard) but i have since stopped using it until CE brings out its software.

    Covenant eyes has really saved my life (physical & spiritual) and marriage.

    • Thanks for the heads up, John.

      Just to let you know, we are working on an update to the plugin that will be compatible with the new version of Firefox, and barring any major changes, forward compatible with at least Firefox 6. It should be released in the next day or so.

  7. The final app should be able to track usage of the DOLPHIN BROWSER which is the best Android browser I have found – it runs rings around all the others I’ve tried.

    SKYFIRE is an Android browser that specifically advertises its ability to play online videos. It’s a problem too.

    The app should also track program installs. It would be helpful if it could include a description of the program installed .. or the URL of where it was installed from so accountability partners could check on what the program is/does.

    The app should also be able to “LOCK” applications (like Market & browsers that are not tracked) so they can not be used without a passcode that only the spouse, parent, or accountability partner had.

    Thanks for making this a high priority!!

  8. Great ideas, Hank.

    The final app will not include the ability to monitor any browsers other than the stock browser (and firefox if you use our plugin). If we could monitor them, we would, but keep in mind that this system is way more closed than people think. This is really going to be a major shift in how we deliver accountability since this is the first product we’re pushing out that puts more of the responsibility on the accountability relationship and less on the application. Our goal in this sort of accountability system is to inject enough information into that relationship to fuel a meaningful conversation.

    Of course as the technology evolves, I’m sure we would be open to taking advantage of any new functionality that becomes available to make it operate more like our desktop versions.

    The other items you mentioned are planned – tracking install/uninstalls, monitoring which apps are being run on the device, and potentially offering the ability to control access to selected applications.

    We’ll have more details as we get further into development and we should have an initial release for testing soon.

    • This may have been mentioned elsewhere – but if CE is not able to monitor additional browsers then it might be worth promoting a workaround for users and accoutnability partners. The only one I’m aware of is to:

      1) Download an app locker of some sort – let an accountability partner set the password to it.

      2) Download all of the available browsers and ask your accountability partner to lock them all.

      It is a far less then ideal solution – and new browsers will always be developed – but if CE software is able to identify browsers being downloaded – the accountability partner can at least track new unlocked browsers.

    • We have had many such discussions, Christian.

      We are in the planning stages of the next releases of the app. Our next release will provide the ability to report on app usage. An accountability partner will be able to see on the report what apps are being used, for how long, and when they are installed. We will also include some info from the Android Market like content rating and a brief description of the apps.

      The release after that one will provide the ability to lock certain applications, including things like the market, so a partner could easily control installing new apps once they have gone ahead and allowed those apps they wish the user to be able to launch. this way the option would be available to prevent usage of unmonitored browsers, or to allow it but report on it, based on what fits that particular accountability relationship.

  9. I live in Ireland, I’m delighted that Covenant Eyes are bringing out this software. It is just another barrier to the type of sin which so easily ensnares us. I have avoided getting a smart phone either Android or Iphone because of the easy availability of the internet on such phones. Iim also not a big fan of apple so I’m happy to see that CE have continued their commitment to develop their service with the technology

  10. I so appreciate that CE is working on the Android system. I have Android based tablet which is the latest in the portable internet craze. Unfortunately firefox on the tablet is not half the browser that the standard google/chrome is. I so hope that CE can develop something for the standard google/chrome browser. Thanks.

  11. Do you feel that the Android solution will have more accountability than the iPhone solution? I have been an iPhone user for a few years and have been disappointed with how many apps are now building in browsers. The only safe way to have an iPhone is to lock out all other apps and just use the CE browser. Thanks for all your doing to make a safer mobile experience!

    • Hmmm. Good question, Tom.

      I think our Android solution will provide greater accountability than our iPhone app. While they both are limited to a particular browser for tracking actual URL’s, the Android app will provide additional layers of accountability for apps which are being run or installed/uninstalled by the user. This way, we may not be able to say that something objectionable was viewed, but we can say, while the user has a browser capable of being monitored on the URL level, he was using the unmonitored Dolphin browser for 3 hours on Sat, 2 hours, on Sun, etc.

      There are a bunch of other apps that will open URLs within them, and we can also report the amount of usage for those as well. Eventually, we plan to offer the ability to passcode protect running individual apps, including the Android market, which could be a way to prevent installing or running apps which cannot be monitored.

      Of course, as both mobile systems (iPhone and Android) evolve, we intend to evolve with them. If they provide us additional hooks to monitor devices more thoroughly, we plan to do so.

    • @Heith – Did you get this message when you were trying to install Firefox or the Covenant Eyes’ plugin? If you got that message when you were trying to install our plugin, it means you weren’t downloading it from within Firefox. The trick is to launch Firefox and pull up our download page on that browser specifically. Let me know if this works.

  12. Here is some feedback after using the CE Android for the regular android browser (not firefox)… Since the CE icon is up at the top of the phone indicating that it is running, I don’t see a need for the CE screen to keep popping up when I open up the browser. It gets rather annoying and I have to keep on exiting out of it. When I used the X3 watch for Android it had the logo up in the top left but it never had any screens pop up while browsing.

    Also, as I am sure others have mentioned, you will need to develop some sort of app-lock to prevent someone from easily getting around the CE monitoring. I use “App Protector Pro” to lock things up and then give my wife the password. I lock the “settings”, “youtube”, “market”, the accountability software (CE or X3) app, and anything else that would lead to temptation or lead to a way to get to the internet without monitoring.

    • @Bob Wiley – Thanks for the feedback.

      We are definitely working on that screen that keeps popping up. We are planning on rolling our some fixes for it in the next release.

      Also, we are definitely working on providing application level locking for the device as we agree it is a key feature to make this a complete accountability solution.

  13. Even if the phone is”locked down” via phone settings or apps, a user can always login to the android market site on any computer and have an app (like dolphin) sent to their phone which allows anonymous surfing. As long as that remains the case other efforts are moot. There beds to be a fix for that.

    • The app locking feature we are planning should cover that. It could do something along the lines of requiring a passcode for any new apps added to the phone.

  14. I read through all the responses and looks as though you have solid future plans for the android program. I am currently contemplating on whether to switch from android to iphone platform, because currently the iphone platform with covenanteyes is more secure than android is now. From what I have read above, the future android platform will be very secure, praise God. My question is, do you all have any idea of time when these different stages will be released? Are you 6 months out, a year out? What is a realistic time frame?

    God bless you for what you do.

    • Realistically, we will finish development efforts on our next release sometime between now and the end of September. That will offer the ability to monitor the stock browser and report on which apps are being used. Once that is released, we will begin working on the ability to passcode protect certain apps. At this point any estimate I throw out for a guess with regard to that feature is simply a guess, but I’d say that’s around a 4-6 week feature, give or take. Of course, there are factors that can shift these estimates a bit as we are doing things like fixing bugs reported by our testers as we go along.

  15. Another note on the Dolphin HD Browser. I read a recent article that said it was the #2 top rated Android app. Since it also uses an add-on technology similar to Firefox, I’m guessing that it should be relatively easy to expand CE into a Dolphin Add-On just like it is for Firefox.

    At least I sure hope it will be easy to build a CE add-on for it. I do love it much more than all the other browsers! Much more functional & faster!

    Thanks for the good work!

    • It’s something worth looking into, Hank.

      However, it’s not nearly as easy to get into plug-in development for Dolphin as it is for Firefox. The Firefox system is open to everyone while Dolphin has to accept a developer as a partner, and be on board with their product in order to even allow you to look at the tools available or the overall system to assess what possible solution could be provided.

  16. The app will be great when it has the kinks worked out, but for now it could use improvement. Firstly, it does not require any authorization or code or anything to uninstall. It doesn’t appear to send an alert to the accountability partner when the program is removed. The program isn’t any good if I can remove it and reinstall it without anyone knowing. Secondly, 2/3 of the time I open my browser the CE sign-in screen pops up. This is annoying and by no means discreet. I’d like the accountability without anyone who uses my phone knowing I have to pay for it. NO problems with the eye icon at the top, but the sign in screen popping up when I am already permanently signed in with my password saved is very irritating.

    • Thanks for the feedback, A.M.

      Right now, there is no email sent when the app is uninstalled. In the next version there most likely still won’t be. Basically the system, as it stands, will not allow us to detect when our app is being uninstalled. We are exploring some outside the box solutions to implement this functionality, so there may be some potential down the road. In the next version, we will report when the app is installed. That way, if someone were in the pattern of uninstalling and then reinstalling CE to gain unmonitored access to Internet content, a partner would pretty easily be able to see that the app was being installed multiple times.

      Also, the bug you mentioned where the logout screen frequently appears is a noted issue that will be fixed with the next release.

  17. I have also noticed that if you go into manage applications and force close the app, you can browse without the monitoring. This should be fixed so if its force closed your browser won’t open.

    • Thanks, Jarrett.

      The implementation we are working on is actually enforcing that the app re-opens upon a force close. I think you will see some major improvements in the next release.

  18. Dave,

    In regards to not being able to prevent an uninstall or alert an accountability partner, I wonder if this could be made possible if CE became a device administrator? I have an app called phone locator pro. It is listed as a device administrator on my phone because it can remotely lock, locate and control my phone. It will not allow me to place a screen lock on my device when “Phone locator pro” is listed as a device administrator. Also, there could be a way to monitor android market activity just like the browser is monitored. If a CE user’s accountability partner were sent an alert in their report because the user re- installed CE from market, it would alert partners that the user could possibly be repeatedly uninstalling the app to browse unmonitored. By monitoring the android market and also by giving the CE app “device administrator” status you could perhaps find a way to prevent the installation of additional browsers and prevent the force-stopping or uninstallation of CE. I’m sure you’ve explored those options already but it’s worth consideration.

  19. What the heck is wrong with you guys. You made a freaking virus if you don’t have an account. It reinstalls by itself, if you even get it removed. Other times it asks for a stupid uninstall code to get rid of it. I will NEVER use this service because of this horrible programming. And NOT informing the user prior to install that they have to have a paid account. I like accountability apps but this is just wrong and stupid. Undo this and never do this again.

    • Hi Garrett,

      I understand your frustration. Thanks for your comment. You can get an uninstall code from our customer service folks: 877.479.1119.

      We do, in fact, notify everyone who installs this service that they need an account to use it. We know people get used to seeing notifications and some probably blow right through it without reading it. This is why we are working on an extra measure to notify people when they install for the next version of this beta app.

      I’m glad you are in favor of accountability apps, and it is for the very reason of accountability that we have made it difficult to uninstall the software. We have massive numbers of people telling us that they want us to make this difficult to remove and the uninstall code is one of the best ways to notify people’s accountability partners if they have tried to uninstall the app. When accountability apps are easy to uninstall, they aren’t worth much.

  20. This is the most awful thing ever. If you don’t have a mainstream Android phone, DO NOT INSTALL THIS APP! Because developers can’t test it on every phone model, if they didn’t test it on yours, it’s probably going to do like what it’s doing to mine right now: It eats all your resources, goes INCREDIBLY slow, then when you try to uninstall it, you can’t call; you can’t text; you can’t open apps or menus or anything. Even if you receive a text, you can’t open Messaging to read and reply. All it does is flash this wretched flash screen for Covenant Eyes. It pretty much renders your phone a glorified paperweight. Even for those of you with mainstream phones – beware. I guess it works well enough for ‘integrity': if you can’t do anything at all, I guess you’re not doing anything bad.

    • I had that issue too, and went to the “manage applications” under the settings, where you can uninstall the apps, and was finally able to uninstall the “CE-Helper” app, which causes the uninstall code screen to pop up and render all internet useless. It took a little finagling of the settings to get the uninstall screen to go away long enough to get the app uninstalled though.

  21. @Brian – Sorry to hear you had such a frustrating experience with our app.

    It is true that we certainly can’t test on every phone model, that’s one of the main reasons we released this as an open beta to our membership. We currently have almost 2000 testers running our application on 377 different devices worldwide – giving us quite an extensive test pool.

    I was able to refer back to our testing signup form to see which device you had trouble running our app on and saw that we currently have 6 testers using the same device with our app without incident. I’d be happy to help get you up and running if you would like to contact me at androidbeta@covenanteyes.com.

    We have also made some pretty big strides in our forthcoming update to the beta with regard to resource usage. When it comes to making the uninstall process difficult, by far the most common piece of feedback from our testers has been – make this difficult or impossible to uninstall. By requiring the uninstall code to proceed once a portion of the app is removed, we gain the ability to notify accountability partners about the generation of the code.

    We have based the overwhelming majority of our design decisions on feedback we gained by getting our members using this product at a very early stage. We’d love to get the beta working for you so that we could benefit from your feedback.

  22. Really looking forward to the next release of CE for Android. It has worked great for me since I installed it several months ago, and I know my wife is very happy to have my phone covered by CE.

    Any projections for when the next version will come out?

    Thank you!!

    • You didn’t indicate which version you are already running, but we just released beta 0.6.3 last week. I would highly recommend trying it out.

      Please remember to completely remove any previous version of Covenant Eyes for Android before upgrading.

  23. I had to delete this app. It does not track or work as well as the desktop version. It only tracks apps used (kind of) and only track online web surfing on the sub-par stock browser.

    I am a Virgin Mobile customer, and the biggest problem for me was when I needed to access my V-mobile account (to Top Up, after my month had expired) and covenent eyes completely blocked my internet access, and when uninstalling, requested an unintstall code repeatedly. I had to force uninstall the program, as well as the covenant eyes “Helper” app, which got around the uninstall code. It took a few minutes though, because the uninstall code screen would not go away.

    My phone needed to be topped up or I could not use it, and CE was making it very difficult! So if those bugs ever get worked out, I may reconsider, but really, it is not good for me to have this on my phone, since it does not track everything anyway!

    • @Cat – Sorry to hear about the difficulties you had. We have really made a lot of changes to smooth out the experience of using Covenant Eyes for Android in our latest beta version 0.6.3 that we made available last week.

      I would highly recommend trying it out.

      Please remember to completely remove any previous version of Covenant Eyes for Android before upgrading.

  24. I am a new user of CE. I installed the ap about 2 days ago and am not having any problems or noticing any slowdown on my Sprint Evo running gingerbread. I hope that you guys will be able to have the CE app monitor and report with special alert status the presence or install of a non-supported browser. I suggest that if a non-supported browser is installed, a warning appear on EVERY report until it is removed. You don’t have to support all browsers, but I think you do have to warn about those you don’t support. In addition, I would be happy if it would be able to block me from installing non-app-store apps (thats in settings), and then block me from installing apps rated for adults only (also in settings). That would not significantly limit the phone, but would really make it more bulletproof. Thanks, keep up the good work :)

  25. I have had the android ap installed on my evo 4g for a few weeks now but as far as I can tell, the android web browsing has never shown up on my accountability report. App usage does show up, but browsing is ignored. What should I do? Should I wait for a new version, should I try to uninstall and re-install (which I understand is a difficult process)?

    • @MrR – I would try uninstalling and reinstalling. We have the app as a beta in the market right now. Go through your Market app and find Covenant Eyes.

  26. Looks like my phone is fried and I will have to reinstall everything. Shame because Ive found that setting up an android phone from scratch to where everything is working takes me about 3 weeks.

    The problem is that, in order to make the system more than just a fig leaf I did as people have recommended and installed protector on my evo. I put protector on the youtube ap and also on covenant-eyes. When I finally have the bugs out of this system I intend to also put protector on the ap store, but I havent done that yet. I use a very long (non-memorable) password to protector and keep it in the office, with no copy outside the office.

    No problem, since I am in the office now. So I began the uninstall as you suggested..BUT… Unfortunately, I opened the covenant eyes uninstall program before removing covenant-eyes from protector. The result is that even if I restart the phone, even if I take the battery out and put it back in, no matter what I do, covenant eyes uninstall screen and protector flash one and then the other. The non-memorable password is too long to get into protector before it flashes off, and Ive tried pressing uninstall, I did get it to turn green but nothing happened after that. I dont have an uninstall code, and even if I did Im doubtful that would work either.

    Eventually a force-close message comes up, but whether I press force-close or wait, it just goes back to flashing.

  27. Update:
    I let the phone sit for a while and now covenant eyes appears to have uninstalled. I went into protector and it isnt there anymore.

    Being a sucker for punishment, I shall now reboot the machine and then attempt to re-install covenant-eyes. I will let you know if it now sees my web browsing.

    Frankly, as difficult as that all was, on the good side, it serves as proof-of-concept for the entire covenant-eyes protector combination !

  28. I am now seeing browsing from the Android. In fact I am seeing browsing from the android from this morning, before I re-installed, which I dont get.

    It is possible it was always on the report, but I really spent a long time trying to find something that looked to be from the android before and didnt see it.

    Anyway, I suppose I am going to have to explain to my accountability partner what I did as soon as it was installed 5 minutes ago, which is that out of frustration and wanting to know for sure if it was working I pointed my android web browser to victorias secret website for 20 seconds. So am expecting that to show up. But then it will be clear its working!

    In any case, there does seem to be a delay of some hours before things show up, but it seems to be working now.

    • @MrR – Often there can be delays on the reports in general. Things don’t often show up immediately. Sounds like you went through a lot of fiddling around to get everything working on your phone properly. Hope the accountability will work for you now. Keep us posted!

  29. The browse to Victorias Secret on my evo showed up perfectly. All seems to be working now, and youtube app and the app market are being blocked by protector. Thanks for all the great work you guys do.

    • Hopefully this reply will get to your email:

      Covenant Eyes beta has already been released for android. Just search for it in the android ap store on your phone. (Click the ap that is now called the “Play Store” and search for “Covenant Eyes”). The beta doesn’t stop you from circumventing it, so you may also wish to install something like “protector” which works for me. The paid version only costs a dollar.

      You sound like you need more than a fig-leaf, so if you are like me, you may need to use something like the ap called “protector” to block the youtube ap that cannot be removed from most android phones. As Im sure you know, YouTube might as well be called soft-core porn tube. With everything else blocked, late at night, that app on my phone (which cannot be removed) becomes my biggest temptation.

      Protector can also block you from installing any other app that gets around covenant eyes. Unfortunately, when I set it to block ap installs it did not work, and allowed them anyway, so I have had to set it to block all access to the ap store. This is an issue, because even downloading updates and bug-fixes to the aps you already have requires using the ap store. Nevertheless, it is bearable for me, since I keep the key to protector in my office. I will simply do any updates to the phone there. But, hopefully when CE is out of beta they will add this type of functionality to their own android ap and increase the options.

  30. PLEASE CONSIDER TREATING PLAY.GOOGLE.COM AS A DANGEROUS SITE. It doesn’t take a lot of effort, I would suppose, to find a way to end up at a pinup app without using a suspicious word.

    play.google.com installs apps and circumvents protector. Its so easy to use that it will soon become the standard way to install apps, not the phone.

    For me personally its a bit less of a big problem, but thats because Im setting up a rather involved dual layer layer protection. In addition to CE on each computer I bought a netgear router and have it in a lock-box along with my cable modem. Netgear parental controls have opendns built in. So I have added play.google.com to the blocked subdomains which enforces my rule that updates to my phone cannot be done from my home.

    except that I can still browse my phone to play.google.com!

    • Hey MrR – You can make a rating change request. This is how you do that. Any time you come across a site like this, please use our the rating change request feature and our Rating Team will hear about it directly and interact with you.

  31. A couple of things I’ve noticed:

    – I’ve ran the beta for about a year now. Just recently it has started force closing itself whenever I go online. I don’t know the reason for this.

    – A suggestion: McAfee offers an android filter that blocks browsers. Would it be possible to set CE up to do the same? If a white list was included so that user can select the browser they want to allow and just block others?

  32. Hello everyone. I’m proud to announce the Covenant Eyes app for Android is no longer in beta and can be found on Google Play. Thanks to all our beta-testers for helping us make this app!

    • Edmund, we are working on how to monitor others browsers, but there are many times the operating system won’t allow us to do certain things. We are making some progress, however. We’ll let you know!

    • We have an update in testing that uses far less battery and CPU (around 1/3 of the usage of the current version)

  33. Is it possible to suppress the covenant eyes screen? It makes one not want to let anyone borrow my devices (particularly my tablet that runs ICS, because it pops up all the time. How about allowing us to suppress it or to change it to something of our choosing? I dont need to sign out of CE. And if I ever did want to sign out, I could go and find that option rather than have it forced on me all the time.

    • Hi Ray. The problem you are noticing is a bug. We just released a new test version of Covenant Eyes for Android yesterday that is supposed to fix the problem. You can get it here, or just wait for us to finish testing it and get it when it hits the market. Sorry for the inconvenience!

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