A new social application, Medallion, has risen to the top of the App Store charts in recent days thanks to its clever premise for putting live photos of friends in a widget on your iOS home screen. In other words, it turns Apple’s widget system – typically used to present information like news, weather, inspirational quotes, or photos from your own iPhone’s gallery – into a platform for private social networking.
The idea for the app was invented by Matt Moss, a former Apple Worldwide Developer Conference scholarship winner and recent UC Santa Barbara graduate, who had built a research platform and user test called Hawkeye Laboratories.
Locket, he admits, was originally a personal side project – not his primary focus.
“I built it as a present for my girlfriend on her birthday last summer,” says Moss. “She was going back to school in the fall, so we were just about to start a long distance relationship,” he says. “The process of getting a little photo of her on my home screen… I found it really appealing. Just a nice way to keep in touch.”
The developer built the app over a week or two and ended up using it with his girlfriend quite extensively over the past six months, sending each other an average of five photos a day. As Locket also stores photos sent and received in its history section, the app has also become a fun way to revisit their photos.
Soon the couple’s friends started taking note of it and asked if they could use it with their own loved ones, family or friends. Moss therefore decided to make Locket available to users on the App Store.
The app launched on New Years Day and has now seen over 2 million users sign up this morning. On Sunday, Lokcet became the # 1 app on the US App Store, by by Apptopia data from the App Store and had become the # 1 social networking app the day before. Apptopia reports that it has only seen around 1 million global installs so far, of which around 31% are from the United States – but its data is only yesterday.
Moss attributes Locket’s rapid adoption to it going viral on TikTok, where he posted videos for an accompanying business account for Locket where he could show the app in action. His video received some 100,000 views in just a few days. Other TikTok users then started creating their own content with the app and the custom sound used on the original Locket video.
This has helped explode the app even more among TikTok’s young user base. In fact, a video made by a TikTok user in the UK surpassed 5 million views in a single day, Moss noted.
While it’s common for app developers to leverage TikTok to generate installs at launch time, Moss denies that any sort of paid influencer marketing has taken place here, and neither has he. running paid ads on TikTok or elsewhere, he says.
Today, Locket remains at # 1 in the ranking of the best free iPhone apps due to its exposure to TikTok – and because its early adopters invited their friends to download the app and check it out, leading to new installations.
To start using the app, download Locket from the App Store and register by verifying your phone number.
Locket then requests access to your iPhone’s contacts and camera to work. Ideally, Locket would allow users to bypass full address book access to allow users to invite friends via stand-alone invites, as that would be a more privacy-focused approach. Moss tells us he’s planning to change this aspect of app behavior, which aims to make the app easier to use. However, he says Locket doesn’t store your contact information or send invitations automatically using its own phone number – it just shows the iMessage window so you can customize the text sent to your friends.
However, if you choose to decline Apple’s pop-up, which asks for permission to extract your contacts, then you can’t use the app at all, we’ve found.
After inviting and adding friends to join you on Locket, you will then add the app widget to your iOS home screen. The widget will showcase your friends’ photos as they add images throughout the day. You can also launch the app at any time to add your own photos to send to your friends’ widgets.
Image credits: Medallion
There’s not much more to the app than that, really. There aren’t any fancy camera filters or effects, and you can’t download images from your camera roll, either. The experience is designed to be a way to share photos in real time with a small group of five friends or family.
Locket’s quick shot to the top of the App Store has now got Moss thinking about his next steps. It plans to introduce a subscription model and support for additional widgets later and, at some point, an Android version. It remains to be seen whether or not he will accept foreign investment.
“We really think about things,” he says. “We will see.”
But the creator believes there is potential in Locket beyond his current photo widget experience – perhaps even developing a feature set inside the app as users share more photos. over time.
“I think there is something quite significant to be built in the space of close friends and family,” Moss said. “I think people – especially the younger ones – are a little more tired of apps that are sort of very ad-centric and metrics-centric.”
“You end up with these huge social circles on the app – where you have 1,000 friends on Instagram, or you have to send Snapchats with your 100 closest friends – which actually takes a lot of effort at the end of the game. day, “he continues. “So the idea of doing something that’s more geared towards those five closest people, or those 10 closest people, and then providing a way to make your phone more personal and people-oriented instead of these applications – I think there is a real appetite for this, ”adds Moss.
Locket is not the first to offer a collaborative photo widget experience. Another app called Magnets, launched in 2020, had a similar idea but also supported sending short text messages to friends through its widget. Other competing apps in this space include Ekko, Widgetgram, Lettie, Tile Widget, Fave, and others. However, none have yet reached some sort of critical mass.
The medallion is currently a free download on iOS but only got a 3.4 star rating because some users didn’t seem to understand how to get the widget to work or struggled with the onboarding process. The latter seemed to occur largely at the height of its viral surge when the app was having problems, but we have since tested Locket and found the issues resolved.