As cellphones get more powerful and one uses them for more purposes, the questions of privacy and security become more important than ever. So it is hardly surprising that the security app business is booming with apps claiming to do everything from cleaning viruses to backing up data to wiping your phone clean if it gets stolen, being available on the App Store. A number of these apps work very well indeed. But they are also a tad intrusive and well, complex. Which is why we must confess we have developed a soft corner for PowerGuard.
Just like Breeze, the pedometer app we reviewed yesterday, PowerGuard makes a virtue out of minimalism, preferring to do a few things well rather than flooding – and often confusing – the reader with a number of options. Priced at 99 cents and tipping the byte scales at 19.1 MB, PowerGuard at heart is a decent mix of a security app and a bit of a hardware monitor. Launching the app will take you to a screen that shows three statistics about your iPhone: RAM used, Disk space, and CPU usage. While there is not too much you can do about the latter two statistics, you can optimize RAM by sliding a brush to the left, which generally frees up a few extra MB. The Battery Advisor section has a graphic representation of the amount of time left in your battery, as well as a few (rather basic) tips on conserving battery further. Again, there is not much you can do here apart from gawk at the statistics, although the app does tell you how long your battery will last while during different functions like taking pictures, playing videos, 2D games, and so on.
Move on, however, to the Private Album and Contacts Backup sections and the app comes into its own. The Private Album allows you to store videos and pictures (you can add notes to them if you want using the Memo option) that can be accessed only by someone who knows your gesture-based password, while Contacts Backup as its name indicates, allows you to back up your contacts to either an iCloud or a Dropbox account by a simple swipe up. A swipe down, incidentally, will restore your contacts to your device. Very neat, we think. Finally, there is a rather handy iPhone tips section which contains a lot of information for those who want to get more out of their device. What it is doing here, we know not, but there is no doubting its utility – our friends have been ecstatic at the “how to take selfies using earbuds” tip that the app passed on! The app also has a gentle notifier system, letting you know when the warranty of your device is about to expire, and also letting you know when your device is charged up.
What, however, makes the app special is its interface. Rare is the page where you overwhelmed by data and the app lets you also play around with the background images, most of which are very easy on the eye. The result is an app that works very smoothly, serves up data about your device and lets you get a bit more out of it. Yes, our geek side would have liked aggressive battery management, more contacts and content back up options and perhaps even a task manager in the bargain, but our more mainstream tech user side loves the fact that he or she gets relevant information about the device and the option to protect key data without too much fuss or trouble. Worth 99 cents? We really think so.
Available from: iTunes App Store
Price: USD 0.99