Make Money

The 3 Best Android Lockscreen Apps That Pay

The Best Lockscreen Apps for Making Money
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There are a number of apps that place ads or other widgets on your lockscreen and pay you accordingly. By allowing them to do so, you can earn a little bit of passive income.

That said, it won’t make you a whole lot of money — but it does require essentially zero effort.

How We Ranked The Best Lockscreen Apps

We’ve ranked the list below based on a combination of the following factors:

  • User ratings.
  • Number of votes.
  • Number of active installs.
  • How recently the app was updated.
  • Overall earning potential.

We’ve also cross-referenced public user reviews on the Google Play store with feedback from users on other forums, such as Reddit’s “Beer Money” forum (where users share their experiences with money-making apps).

If you have any experience with the apps on this list that might influence our rankings or be helpful to other readers, please let us know by leaving a comment.

Note: The data below was collected on March 4th, 2024. We update this article periodically to keep the numbers current.

#1. Mode Mobile

Mode Mobile App Screenshot
RatingVotesInstallsApp Last UpdatedMinimum Cash-Out
4.4/52.93 million10 millionFebruary 20248,000 points

Mode Mobile (formerly called Current Rewards) offers what is essentially a music player that works on your lockscreen. You can make money passively by merely streaming your favorite tunes and listening to radio stations. The longer you listen to music, the more you can earn.

With enough points, you can cash out via PayPal, redeem for gift cards, buy products or donate your earnings to charity.

When the app was changed from Current Rewards to Mode Mobile, it also introduced the following ways to earn:

  • Charge your phone: the app will place ads on your lockscreen while it’s charging, and you earn points for choosing to expose yourself to those ads.
  • Play mobile games: the app now offers a selection of games where you can earn points for viewing ads and/or reaching certain in-game milestones.

Editor’s note: As you can see from the figures in the table above, the app is highly rated by users, with over 10 million active installs — a good sign in terms of its legitimacy. However, we reached out to the company behind the app for clarification on two important points: why the app pays you for listening to music, and what the dollar value of 8,000 points is (which is the minimum withdrawal amount). So far, the company has not responded to our inquiry, but we’ll update this article if and when they do.

#2. S’more

Smore Mobile App
RatingVotesInstallsApp Last UpdatedMinimum Cash-Out
4.1/569,2001 millionFebruary 2024$5

The S’more app has a simple premise: it pays you money to place relevant content and ads on your lockscreen. All you have to do is unlock your phone once a day, swipe the ad away or click on it to learn more, and you’ll earn 10 points (equivalent to 10 cents).

You won’t earn any more points for unlocking your phone multiple times — only 10 points per day.

Recently, a smattering of reviewers claimed that when they try to open S’more, they’re greeted with an error message that makes the app unusable.

S’more has responded to users, asking them to make sure they’re in the U.S. with a U.S. SIM card and not using a virtual private network (VPN) to connect. (This issue seems to have been resolved with a recent update).

Users that don’t face technical problems appreciate the app’s ease of earning and getting paid, with a few minor complaints about glitches here and there.

#3. Ad It Up

Add It Up
RatingVotesInstallsApp Last UpdatedMinimum Cash-Out
4.5/526,600100,000March 2024Unknown

Ad It Up is a mobile app created by AdFone, a company that partners with phone companies and allows their customers to pay their bills by playing games, viewing ads and more.

In particular, AdFone partnered with AT&T-owned Cricket Wireless to create Ad It Up, which lets you view ads on your lockscreen and earn credits toward your Cricket Wireless phone bill.

Alternatively, you can cash out via free Amazon gift cards.

Are There Any iOS Lockscreen Rewards Apps?

You’ll probably notice that we haven’t included any iOS lockscreen rewards apps on here. And you might wonder why, considering the popularity of Apple devices.

In general, Google made the Android system more friendly to developers. It’s easier to create apps for the platform, and Google’s approval process for apps is less stringent than Apple’s.

However, it really comes down to privacy restrictions. Apple’s privacy rules don’t allow apps that alter how their phone functions. That includes apps that change your lockscreen and pay you money.

On the other hand, Google does allow these apps. However, the app must exist solely as a lockscreen app. For example, an app that is officially a photo or video editor can’t also stuff ads onto your Android lockscreen.

Discontinued Paid Lockscreen Apps

Recall that as we mentioned earlier, the Google Play Store is a more open but less secure platform than Apple’s App Store. Because of that, it’s quite easy to get an app approved.

That means plenty of bad apps inevitably get through those low barriers. And many end up receiving a large number of poor reviews. 

And in many cases, they straight-up violate Google Play’s Terms of Service and get pulled from the Store.

Here are some the paid lock screen apps that once could be used to earn extra cash, but which are no longer available.

  • Adme
  • BillsBoard
  • Fronto
  • Giftloop
  • Locket App
  • Moo Cash
  • Paid Unlock
  • Perk Screen
  • screenKarma
  • Screenlift
  • Screen Stash
  • Sleep Money
  • Slidejoy
  • SurveyCow
  • Whaff Locker
  • XLOAD Swipe

Better Ways to Make Money With Your Phone

While lockscreen apps let you earn income for essentially doing nothing, the earnings themselves are paltry.

If you’re looking for a better way to make money with your phone, try these options.

  • Take surveys: Many apps pay you to take surveys online. Questions are based on your demographic information and purchasing behavior. Check out our list of the best paid survey sites.
  • Take pictures: Have a smartphone? Many stock photo websites will pay you royalties for your mobile photography. Read our article on getting paid to take pictures with your phone to learn more.
  • Play games: Do you play games in your spare time? Plenty of apps will pay you a few bucks for your habit. Learn more by checking out our guide on getting paid to play games.
  • Sell your data: Today, people give away their data online to plenty of companies. You might as well get paid for it. The Nielsen Computer and Mobile Panel is an excellent place to start monetizing your data.

Get Paid to Unlock Your Phone: Final Thoughts

There are definitely better ways to make money using your android device than by downloading a lockscreen app. But easier? Not so much.

Where lockscreen apps prevail is in the absolute lack of time or effort required of you.

It’s easier to make a few cents a day with your lockscreen than it is to do a five-minute survey, after all.

Just be aware that there’s a limit to how much real money you can make. Based on our research, we think it’ll take you about a year of regular usage to hit the minimum payout for any of the lockscreen cash options listed above.

Bradley Schnitzer
Bradley Schnitzer is a Michigan-based personal finance writer and a former accountant. You can read more of his work on his website.

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