Android App Does Not Work Well

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  • Updated 2 years ago
Guys, I am more than a little frustrated with the lack of development on the android OS.  I have used Covenant Eyes for years on the PC and it works fine.  The android app just does not work well on all devices.  I get almost no history on one of my devices and it is beyond time to fix your app, or quit putting it out there as if it works when it does not, or at least not well.  You are selling a product that is supposed to protect and report. It simply put does not do it well. This is fairly well known as the reviews on the Play store are horrendous.  You need to fix it or quit advertising that your product does something, when it in fact it clearly does not.  This is irresponsible, negligent and frankly I have had about enough. 

Sorry, I do not like these kinds of comments, but you really need to get your house in order.
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David Cribbs

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Posted 2 years ago

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Paul Pham

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I would agree with that. Accountable2you software is better on Android but not as robust as on PC... Covernant Eye is the other way; it is so weak on Android.
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David Cribbs

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Another weakness of Accountable2you is that there is no summary and high risk type reporting other than there are some key dirty words that can trigger stuff right away.  A friend uses it, but it is almost worthless in that I have to scan the entire report when I think he is up to no good.  I like that Covenant Eyes has the different levels of reporting, but you can get granular if you need to.
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Matt Thompson

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I agree. I've been using Covenant Eyes for years for PC, it is terrific. The Android app should either be updated ASAP or abandoned. I know there is an active Beta test, but we are getting to a point where it won't matter and users will need to move on to another solution. I've already moved to Norton for app locking since Covenant Eyes' solution was broken a few years ago. If I need to move to an iPhone for better accountability, I'm willing to do that too even though I hate iPhones.
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Ryan Sherrett, Official Rep

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Hey guys,

I’m sorry you’re having so many issues with the Android app.  I realize this is a rather small consolation, if any at all, but we’re not happy with it either.  

I thought I’d take a few minutes to explain why it has the problems it does.  I’m not generally a fan of passing the buck on problems.  Frankly, I know most of you don’t really want to hear it...I know I wouldn’t either. However, I felt you would appreciate a slightly more technical explanation.  

First, applications like ours use the Accessibility feature that Google makes available in the Android OS to monitor and/or block certain applications and websites on the device. This feature was popular and was used by many other apps, such as LastPass. However, to save on battery, the operating system began to shut down the Accessibility service periodically, randomly interfering with our service. In addition, in late November, Google informed us (along with everyone else in the Android Play Store that uses Accessibility) that we were no longer going to be allowed to use that feature for what we were doing.

So, we’re rebuilding it to monitor in a very different way.  We’ve recently completed this work and this new version is being tested by a very small, controlled beta.  The good news is we’re wrapping up that first beta phase and are getting ready to open it to a public beta in the next two weeks.

Stay tuned for that announcement and more details about that beta.  Thank you for your patience with us through this process and thank you for your engagement.

Ryan Sherrett
Product Development Manager
Covenant Eyes for Android
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Shawn Van Vleet

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Thank you for the explanation Ryan!
Looking forward to the beta
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Ceasar Wirz

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4 weeks later....installed new Beta version, worse than the first. No now activity shows on Andriod. My next bill is in June, either have it fixed or I'm moving to Ever Accountable.
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Paul Pham

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I have been struggling with Covernant Eye Android version. It has been a nightmare. Can't wait to get a working version of it.
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Robert B, Official Rep

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Ceasar,

We'd be glad to take a closer look. Please submit some feedback via the app, or email us at support@covenanteyes.com. As you know, the beta is, essentially, a rebuild of the app. If we made a glaring mistake, we need to know.

Thank you,

Robert
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Steve Risner

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The problem I seem to be having with it on my android phone is it bogs down the OS terribly periodically.  I assume it is doing this, anyway.  I didn't really have any issues with the phone for the year I've had it and now, since putting CE on it, it'll essentially render my phone useless for several minutes at a time, slowing everything to the point that the phone is inaccessible for anything.  

Ryan, does it seem like this is an isolated thing or are others having similar issues?  Will this new beta be able to solve such issues?

Thanks
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Ryan Sherrett, Official Rep

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Hello Steve,

Yes, it has been an issue reported on some devices.  The degree to which it is an issue and how frequently it is an issue varies widely, but on some devices the usage of Accessibility can drive up CPU usage, and thus slow down the device.  Usually a reboot resolves it, least for a while.

The new beta app is much leaner.  That, combined with the fact that it doesn't use accessibility any longer, should mean it will solve those performance issues.  Results from our early small beta testing have been very promising there.

Ryan
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Ryan Sherrett, Official Rep

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Hello Fred,

The advantage of doing our monitoring in a completely different way is that we will no longer be reliant on accessibility.  Thus, specific problems such as this, which stem from that dependency, will also go away. 
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Fred

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Ryan,  Thank you for your diligent support on this issue. Covenant eyes is definitely one of the stronger internet filtering provider because of the support specifically the SW in the ongoing changes needed.   Will the Bata be seamless and when are you going to release it?  Also will it be able to filter snap chap and instagram? 
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Ryan Sherrett, Official Rep

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Fred,

The upgrade to the beta should be seamless...at least it has been in testing thus far.  Manufacturer specific implementations of the Android OS, and the variety of different devices that, can make this surprisingly "finicky".  Certainly that is a goal and one we'll be specifically evaluating in the beta process.

The specifics of what will be in this first new beta are still up in the air a bit, so I don't want to speak to soon.  It should probably be pointed out that in this case, there are likely to be multiple beta versions as we rebuild different pieces and try to get each of them tested (rather than muddying up the water testing a bunch of things at once).  So this first beta may not have all the functionality this redesign is likely to have once it goes to production.  Keep an eye out here and on our blog (Latest News area). The beta release and the details of it's feature set will be announced those places, as soon as we have more specifics.
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Bill Howard

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THIS is the exact problem that I experienced!  Today is Wednesday May 30, 2018.  I downloaded and installed the Android app one week ago, so the beta testing was apparently unsuccessful.  The app literally renders my phone useless 90 percent of the time, so much so that I uninstalled it and will have to find another alternative, or revert to using a basic phone without smart features.
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Ryan Sherrett, Official Rep

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Hello Bill,

The beta has not yet been shipped to the production Play Store.  We're hoping to do that soon, though.  If you downloaded from the main Play Store, you did not get the beta, you are still on the older legacy version which does have some performance issues. 

If you would like to join the beta, however, you certainly can.  You can sign up here and get access to the beta from the link on that page.

If you already have downloaded the beta, can you please contact our Customer Support team so they can log an official bug report and we can get some details to troubleshoot, because that definitely should not be the case with the new beta.

Thanks,

Ryan
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Ryan Sherrett, Official Rep

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Hey folks,

I mentioned previously to keep an eye out on the blog for the upcoming beta, but also mentioned I would post something here when we had more details.  Well, we're really happy to announce we now do have our first beta of the new Android app available to the general public.  You can get more details about this initial beta here as well as signup to participate in the beta testing and download the new app.  

The app has a built-in feedback option, so please feel free to give any and all feedback through there.

Thanks everyone,

Ryan
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Matt Thompson

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Thank you Ryan,

I installed the Beta version last night and have been using it ever since. I'm liking what I'm seeing so far, and applaud the use of a VPN.
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Robert B, Official Rep

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Thanks for the feedback Matt!

The number of people trying out the beta is growing, and we're glad to see that. As a reminder - ALL feedback is helpful. If you come across anything weird, cool, or unusual, we want to hear about it. You can comment here or use the beta's built-in feedback option. Thx!
(Edited)
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Matt Thompson

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Hi Robert, since you mentioned it...
I'm not certain the 'one size fits all' approach on the YouTube restricted mode is a good idea. I understand the thought behind it, and that this is a beta, but I think that needs to be something each user can set. Many things I watch on YouTube end up being labeled restricted, more because of YouTube's political opinions being forced on content creators, rather than on the basis of the content.
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Robert B, Official Rep

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Matt,

Thanks for pitching in, and that makes sense. I don't know much about the political angle of YouTube, but you're right about 'one size fits all'. In real life, one size rarely fits all.

We ended up leaving it this way in CE iOS, and it's been well-received. But, as you alluded to, we have no control over what YouTube considers worthy of being restricted. The use of their Restricted mode is something we have to keep an eye on. And comments like yours help us know it's worth watching.

Thanks again for providing some feedback!

Robert
(Edited)
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Ceasar Wirz

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4 weeks later....installed new Beta version, worse than the first. No now activity shows on Andriod. Have re-installed it numerous times. My next bill is in June, either have it fixed or I'm moving to Ever Accountable.
AND posting your videos to Vimeo (which has porn on it) is completely unacceptable! You should simply post them directly onto your site. MAJOR FOUL!
(Edited)
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Robert B, Official Rep

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Ceasar,

I'm sorry to find out about your frustration, but I'm glad you let us know.

Have you been able to submit feedback via the app? If that doesn't work, then please call us at 989-720-8000. The Customer Service Team is almost done for today, but will be in Monday at 8 am (EST).

As far as the change to Vimeo, I'll share your concern with the Marketing Team. I believe they did that in order to avoid the Up Next and Suggested videos that Youtube was pushing. While both video sites contain objectionable content, at Vimeo less, if any, of that stuff is forced into someone's viewing.

Robert
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Ceasar Wirz

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I work more on calling support and re-installing than I do almost anything else on my computer. I don't have the time or inclination to hand hold your tech department
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Shawn Van Vleet

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Unfortunately, I am in the same boat. No activity reported whatsoever on two devices.
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Robert B, Official Rep

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Shawn,

I'm glad you let us know! Please share some details, so we can take a look at what's going on. We want this rebuilt version of CE for Android to be operational and satisfactory as soon as possible. And all the feedback helps us.

You can a) submit feedback in the app, or b) email support@covenanteyes.com, or c) call us at 989-720-8000. The Customer Service Team is almost done for today, but will be in Monday at 8 am (EST).

Thank you,

Robert
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Shawn Van Vleet

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I've had some correspondence via email with your support.  
Here are my takeaways from those conversations and my experience with the beta so far:

1) The accountability report doesn't work with the Beta version.  It's been completely empty.
2) The beta doesn't track web searches
3) The beta doesn't track many sites I've looked at today.
4) There are hundreds of entries in the detailed browsing log, but almost all of them appear to be system background processes.  They aren't giving me an accurate picture of what has been looked at.


Tracking Android activity is my #1 priority for my family.  
I've held out hope that the beta would work, but it's not.  Since the new beta isn't working, and on certain phones the old version didn't work either, I will have to look for another option.
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Ceasar Wirz

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I agree. Completely worthless. I'm going to use Ever Accountable. Please let me know if you find another service. Thx & good luck
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Ceasar Wirz

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I went to ever accountable. Really like it, very detailed reports. But can be uninstalled w/out password but still notifies partner
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Robert B, Official Rep

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Ceasar,
I'm glad you found something that works for you. May you enjoy the freedom that good accountability can deliver.
Robert
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David Cribbs

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In fairness if it is in beta it is still a test and should not be expected to be 100%.  While that is true, in fairness the other way, this has been on Google Play for a long time reporting to do something it does not do.  I believe the implied warranty of merchantability would require a product to do what it says it does.  It does work great on the PC.  I has been spotty AT BEST on Android.
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Robert B, Official Rep

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David,

I appreciate all of the points you made! Please be sure to send feedback via the app or by email to support@covenanteyes.com.

As you know, the Android OS changed. CE, like many other companies, is working hard to get it's app back on track. I'm hoping that this whole thing turns out to be the kind of forced change that results in better-than-we-all-imagined results.

We can't do it without your honest and detailed feedback. It is important to us! Thank you for bearing with us.

Robert
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David Cribbs

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I understand the OS had changed, but it did not work well on Android long before the OS changed and long before the App was updated in October and December.  While I do not enjoy making these comments, I also do not enjoy (unfortunately I cannot soften this) cleansed marketing lines that do not address the fact that the software has not ever really worked well on Android.  If you simply look at the feedback, you will see the picture painted very clearly.  It is time to get it working or quit offering it as a tool to guard hearts and minds of adults and worse the children that we are raising.
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Ceasar Wirz

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In fairness it never works
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Robert B, Official Rep

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Guys,

I need to apologize for not being as helpful as I could have been in my previous responses.

With the beta (4.0.0.9), the in-app option to 'Show URL logs' is not available. If you are seeing that option in the Covenant Eyes app, then you need to uninstall that older version and get the beta.

A regular Accountability Report will not reveal the wide scope of the beta's monitoring ability.

In order to verify that the beta is capturing URLs, you can go to 'View Reports' and select 'Detailed Browsing Log'. With the use of VPN technology, there should many URLs listed in each 15-minute segment.

If you're going to verify that way, let me give a caveat -- check a day last week. Why? There are times when the Detailed Browsing Log (DBL) takes time to fill in. I have seen both immediate reporting and delayed reporting, when I test that function. As a general rule, the best policy is waiting 24 hours from the time of browsing before checking the DBL.

If the DBL is empty, then something is wrong. If you are willing to talk about it, then please contact us at 989-720-8000.

Again, I apologize for not being as helpful as I could have been with my earlier replies.

Robert
(Edited)
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Justin Priest

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Something I discovered recently, which has caused me to switch to iOS right away, although I'm not a big fan on of iOS. Is the fact that the CE App on Android can be quickly uninstalled via Safe Mode. The new beta has the same issue as well. No uninstall code, no accountability alerted. This is a HUGE loop hole. Is there anyway to prevent this, or am I stuck on iOS?
(Edited)
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Mike Koury

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The fact that one can easily access "certain websites" by simply utilizing Yahoo search is a huge problem with the app. From what I've been reading, this has been an issue for quite a while. No matter how effective the VPN and forced safe search functions are on Chrome and Bing, it's useless if someone can simply bypass it all with a visit to another search engine. I don't exactly know what I've been paying for the past several months, but this is becoming highly frustrating. That being said, I've had no problems with Windows or my IPad. But when it comes to Android, the app falls incredibly short. Thinking of canceling...