This is a Guest Post by Gavin Baker.
XXX Church is well known for their offering of X3Watch, a free accountability software that runs in the background on your computer and scans your web browsing history.
With the launch of the iPhone App Store there were many voices clamoring for an iPhone app (myself included).
Unfortunately because Apple doesn’t allow third-party apps to run in the background, the mobile X3 team had to rethink how they would approach accountability on the iPhone, which they turned to developer Sam Soffes, creator of the Holy Bible app for LifeChurch.tv.
Their approach was to build a browser to replace the native Safari app. The replacement browser will capture all your browsing and send a report to the defined (up to 3) accountability partners every 1, 2, 3 weeks based on the users choice.
Just like the desktop version of X3 on install you input email addresses for your accountability partners and any time that the application is un-installed your partners are notified.
The app itself is very similar to Safari and running it through a few Google searches, Gmail and Google Docs produced very similar experiences and speeds, as far as that I’d give it a 5/5.
Using the app as a replacement is fairly straightforward except for a few differences:
- No tabbed browsing
- No bookmarks
- No ability to add a shortcut to the home screen (webapp)
- Any links have to be copy & pasted into it – they won’t open by clicking them
Now let’s be clear, these differences may not matter to some, but for heavy users, I’d consider them major distinctions and a deal breaker.
Additionally, during my testing, hitting the back button in the browser caused the app to close on multiple occasions. This became a frustrating exercise as without tabbed browsing going back required retyping the link. (I’m sure this is just a bug and will be fixed soon).
For some this app could be exactly what they were looking for but I’d suspect not even though the cost is hard to argue with $0 (FREE). I found it an anemic solution from an organization and developer we expected a better product from.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m fully behind an app that would bring better accountability for mobile, because the viewing of mobile porn will continue to grow and this would be a great defense for many Christians.
So download the app and give it a try and let me know your thoughts!