Gmail app

  • 1
  • Problem
  • Updated 5 years ago
Is there a reason the Gmail App is no longer monitored? Something to do with the changes in the updated android operating system? We purchased android phones over apple specifically because of the across the board monitoring. The spam folder in an inbox is a huge temptation and for it to not be monitored at all is frustrating. There are so many other apps that used to be monitored and are no longer.  I feel like the longer I use Covenant Eyes the less and less it reports. Isn't the hope for a product to get better and not worse?
Photo of Sarah BCR

Sarah BCR

  • 3 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes

Posted 5 years ago

  • 1
Photo of Patrick Smith

Patrick Smith, Alum

  • 147 Posts
  • 21 Reply Likes
Hi, Sarah.
Thanks for checking in on this. I think I'm missing some key information or misunderstanding your post. Can you help me?

On Android, the CE app has never monitored the Gmail app. We can see that it's opened, but we don't monitor the application. Frankly, that's by design. Your email communication is often highly personal and for most, it is not intrinsic to the fight against Internet temptation.

Theoretically, you should be able to lock the Gmail app from our app lock screen, but I'm not sure that's what you're after.  

A month ago, Covenant Eyes for Android was able to monitor two applications: the stock browser on your phone and Chrome. And even on those, we were blind to incognito mode. Today, CE for Android monitors 25 of the most common Android apps--including their incognito modes. When you refer to reduced coverage, to what specifically are you referring? 

Thanks, Sarah. I'm looking forward to hearing back from you to see if there's a way we can serve you better. 
Photo of TheKneeland


  • 49 Posts
  • 5 Reply Likes
I agree with Sarah, I wish we had the more robust monitoring back that we had with the VPN feature that was previous part of the CE beta app on Androids. That maybe what Sarah is talking about, it was an excellent feature that gave MORE protection across the system than we have now.

Is it possible the VPN feature will be brought back? I've followed the issue people had of having to log back into it all the time. However, the trade off was worth it for those who desired greater accountability and/or didn't have the problem.

I would vote for an optional VPN (or DNS) that the accountability partner would be able to turn on or off much like the app locking is. I believe that would bring back the "better" protection Sarah is missing in apps like gmail.
Photo of TheKneeland


  • 49 Posts
  • 5 Reply Likes
I would even suggest adding an optional and additional paid level to the accountability reports. The extra income to CE from those wanting the better accountability would help offset the costs to CE for the VPN or DNS servers needed. Just a thought.

Free is better than paid, but having the feature and having to pay for it is better than not having it at all.
Photo of John

John, Official Rep

  • 439 Posts
  • 79 Reply Likes
Hey Jesse

Jumping in here real quick to clear some things up. Thanks for sharing your passion with us, we really appreciate your continued feedback.

A few points:

1: The coverage we have now (at this very moment) on Android is vastly greater than at any stable release point in the history of Covenant Eyes. Our current list of monitored apps is near 23, with more on the way all the time. For the average user of Android, we come extremely close to covering all normal traffic. Awesome!

2: Even with the VPN (which isn't really a VPN, but more science talk later) there is not a good way for us to monitor apps like Gmail at this time. Essentially, certain applications like E-mail, Web Banking, Medical Information, will always be morally questionable for us to monitor. Covenant Eyes is not yet capable (and maybe will never be) of distinguishing between your private & personal information, & information your partner needs to see. So secured apps like that will need a different handling all together (for instance, shared e-mail accounts between partners & users)

3: VPN (again, not really VPN) is not off the table. The trouble is, because of how Android works, it is REALLY REALLY tricky to get the VPN type coverage working without a large number of frustrating drawbacks. (Crashing, Rebooting, VPN usage, Data Usage, Odd Protocal Support) We fully intend to revisit VPN in time on Android, and have even thrown out ideas about making the VPN an optional add on. For now however, our VPN team is actually tackling the process of implementing VPN coverage on iOS, leveraging their new extension points. What we learn from this implementation will likely influence the future of VPN on Android.

Let me know if I have not answered any of your questions.
Photo of TheKneeland


  • 49 Posts
  • 5 Reply Likes
Hey John, thanks for the thorough reply. 

1: I agree, the coverage we have now is more stable and more robust. While I think the "VPN" setup is awesome before, we definitely have seen many improvements.

2. I really get the privacy issue. I used to do IT and had a proxy server setup. I found out just how problematic filtering any https traffic can be for privacy vs. accountability. My personal conviction is stronger for accountability than privacy. Yet I know I'm not the only CE user out there, and maybe of the few that feel this way.

3. Glad to know a "VPN" like setup is not off the table. I appreciate knowing that and the transparency of sharing info like that with your customers.