Review: Covenant Eyes for iPhone

This is a Guest Post by Gavin Baker. It’s part 2 of a 3 Part Series. Check out the 1st Review of X3Watch.

Covenant Eyes, makers of the popular desktop accountability program for Windows and Mac have recently unveiled their iPhone version.

Covenant Eyes, like X3Watch, is bound by the limitations set by Apple, (some might say crippled) on what third-party apps can do, including running in the background.  Because of this Covenant Eyes has taken a different track then their desktop software and instead created an app that is essentially a browser alternative to Safari.

Using the app to check out Gmail, TechCrunch and Google searches performed as well as Safari would.  Because Covenant Eyes has two key features listed below, the web browsing experience was very similar to what I was used to.

Without a doubt, to use as a replacement these are must haves:

  • Tabs
  • Bookmarks (I was able to open 11 before it crashed)

But the app is missing in two areas:

  • No ability to add a shortcut to the home screen (webapp)
  • All links have be copy pasted into the browser (except links inside the browser)

Additionally, the inclusion of the tabs and bookmarks brings about two things I’d find helpful as a user.  First, there is no ability to import your bookmarks from Safari – this is a very common feature with desktop browsers and would certainly be nice to have.  Second, opening a new tab opens a duplicate of the current tab not a new blank tab, which requires clearing the URL and typing your new one.

Overall this app acts as a great replacement and provides a good web browsing experience.  This is a must have for current customers of Covenant Eyes and will surely pull additional new customers in.

Which brings up the price point, for all this goodness it rings up at $7.95/month.  Certainly a high price if it was only an iPhone app, but it is actually an extension of the Covenant Eyes subscription service, so the pricing is for the service (with one accountability partner) and all the apps, both mobile and desktop.

If you’re intrigued then I’d recommend you sign up for a Covenant Eyes account today, and get a free month by signing up here.


Eric Dye

I am a blogger, business owner and lover of coffee. I spend most of my time as Programs Director for Open Church, but you'll also find me as a writer and editor for ChurchMag, as well as working on Live Theme and ChurchMag Press. All while enjoying my family and sipping espresso in Italy.

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  1. says

    If I understand your question, you're saying that because Safari can still access porn and Covenant Eyes won't catch it then it's pointless. I'd probably disagree only because the next step would be to set up the restrictions on your phone with your accountability partner and turn off Safari. Then your only browser would be Covenant Eyes or X3 which would track the sites you visited. I'd agree that both solutions aren't really complete but even if they both offered jailbroken apps that ran in the background, we'd then have battery problems.

    Another option mentioned yesterday was to just have your accountability partner check to see if you've cleared your browser history when you meet.

  2. says

    Gavin you're rippin the reviews up! nice work sir.

    I've been a Covenant Eyes customer for years, and their service is right on, for computer at least.
    Computer integrity is a heart issue, but software like this makes integrity way easier. What's the verdict from your end, X3 or CE, particularly since I already drop the $8/mo for CE.

  3. says

    Since this doesn't track all web traffic from the iPhone isn't this essentially only as good as the user is 'good'? It seems like it defeats the accountability aspect of this offering. The desktop version sees all web traffic and when uninstalled notifies the accountability partner(s). I am just not sure this product was worthwhile for CovenantEyes to develop since the iPhone doesn't allow background processes.

  4. Sergiemag says

    I’ve been using this browser for half a year now and quite regularly. I am pretty disappointed with the Covenant Eyes iPhone browser. There’s a lot of functionality that is missing or buggy. So this browser is many steps back from the default Safari browser that comes with the iPhone.

    1. Keyboard glitches on the homepage and other pages
    2. The bookmarks cannot be arranged, a simple functionality
    3. When selecting text it sometimes doesn’t automatically move further off screen to select more text.
    4. The google search on the top right doesn’t work.
    5. When a page is loading, the x in the URL bar doesn’t stop the page from loading. I try to erase the URL, but if the page is loading the URL will reappear on top of new URL you typed.
    6. The top browser bar with URL and google search always stay there on top even when you scroll down on a website. Safari gives you more viewing space by making it disappear when you scroll down.
    7. Some of the UI elements are poorly designed. (ex: scrolling through tabs is glitchy and elements are poor). I assume there’s no designer on board with their team.
    8. Crashes sometimes losing all previous browsing data.
    9. phone calls to your phone will erase all browser activity. So make sure to not use the browser for important typing-related things because you will lose all your hard work. This happens because the app needs to re-log into the servers after you come back from the phone call which means starting from scratch.
    10. The default safari browser lets you “go to top” of the page if you click on the top bar where the time is displayed. The CE browser doesnt have this feature.
    11. Poor rendering engine. Some pages, like gmail mobile, don’t render correctly or take very long time to render. So some pages are useless because of this browser.
    12. Slower and clunkier than default safari browser. I’m not surprised at this because there are background processes running.
    13. Browser history is a very short list. Not useful at all.
    14. Adding bookmarks is a pain. The field where you type the title of the bookmark only displays a limited number of characters instead of using all the width of the iphone screen.

    In the end it was an annoying experience using this browser. I found my way around some things but it’s not ideal and I cannot depend on it. Poor quality control from Covenant Eyes. Have been waiting for an update from them but nothing has happened.

    I hope this helps someone!

  5. says

    I’m not sure where you are getting your info, but good topic. I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more. Thanks for fantastic information I was looking for this information for my mission.

  6. says

    GLARING error however is that is DOES NOT monitor other apps.

    i.e when in twitter…one can click a link and be taken there IN safari…even if safari is blocked.

    CE needs to find a way to either a)cripple hyperlinks not clicked within their browser or b) develop a twitter app

    “b” is obviously much easier…

    it’s frustrating that they only offer “partial” mobile accountability.


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