Prior to iOS 5, the lockscreen on an iPhone was essentially useless. It showed the time, date, and a wallpaper of your choosing. That’s it. With the release of iOS 5 though, improvements to the notification system also significantly improved the lockscreen’s utility – you could now interact with any notification from any app that popped up on your device. But what if you want real-time weather updates? Or calendar notifications? Or icons for your favorite contacts you can call/text without even unlocking your phone? Then you’ll need LockInfo

Platform Availability: Any jailbroken version of iOS.

Cost: $7.99 with 14 day free trial. Search LockInfo in Cydia.

What it is: A lockscreen information app that allows you to read and manipulate information from many different apps/sources via a plugin system. For example, with the Calendar plugin you can show however many upcoming events you desire so you know at a glance what’s on your schedule. You can also click on each item to open up a small summary giving you even more detailed information.

How does it work: After installing LockInfo, take some time to figure out what all the settings do – there are a lot of them! Once you get to the meat of the application, its plugins, you just turn them on, and then wait for data to stream to your lockscreen. For example, after activating the Twitter plugin, you should get a steam of tweets beamed straight to your lockscreen. You can then easily reply to a tweet and access and send off short bursts of information all without having to unlock your phone.

Features: Fine-tuned User Control – Open up LockInfo’s preferences screen, and you’ll be greeted by a litany of more options than you could ever imagine. Control whether you want LockInfo to show up in any combination of 1) your lockscreen, 2) your homescreen, and/or 3) InfoShade (replacing iOS 5’s stock pull down notification center). Control which plugins you want active and exactly how you want them ordered to appear. Control how many snippets of information each plugin shows at a time. You really do have complete control over everything!

Multiple Themes – Hate the stock look of LockInfo? Easily change it up by just using a new theme! LockInfo comes equipped with five built-in themes for you to use, all of which are slightly different but all very cool and sleek. However, LockInfo also works with Dreamboard/Winterboard, allowing you to plunge the depths of Cydia and access thousands of different themes you can then apply to give LockInfo a new look.

Favorites Plugin – My favorite and most-used plugin is definitely favorites. Invariably, I end up calling my mom and girlfriend more than anyone else. It’s saved me tons of time and annoyance to be able to call them right from the lockscreen instead of having to unlock, go to Phone, and then call them. Favorites will put icons with the picture of your favorite contacts right on the lockscreen. After tapping on one of their pictures, you’re presented with the option to call, text, or use FaceTime.

The Competition: There’s one big competitor in this category.

IntelliScreen X – $9.99 – Jailbroken iOS 5.0 or later – Search IntelliScreen X in Cydia

Why the Featured App is Best: IntelliScreen X and LockInfo are very, very similar. Both essentially open up a wealth of information accessible straight from your lockscreen via sections dedicated to different apps/information streams (Calendar, Weather, Twitter, Mail, etc.). Where they differ is in presentation and focus. LockInfo is more focused on both giving you access to your information and presenting it in an elegant way. Though not as powerful/customizable as IntelliScreen X, LockInfo should still be more than useful enough for most users. Meanwhile, IntelliScreen X is all about accessing and controlling as many streams of information as possible. Instead of using small sections all on one screen like LockInfo, IntelliScreen X opens up your lockscreen with each plugin dedicated to a separate page you access by scrolling left/right. This gives you more space for previews of tweets, emails, and RSS feeds, but frankly all this is information overload to me. The point of the lockscreen is to have only the most relevant information easily readable and accessible at a glance. LockInfo does that wonderfully well, while I think IntelliScreen X goes too far in trying to cram in all that information.

Summary: Jailbreaking should open up a whole new world of possibilities for how you interact with your iDevice. Why shouldn’t that also be true on your lockscreen? Download LockInfo today and start using your smartphone more quickly and efficiently than ever before. Get all the information you could ever want, straight from your lockscreen.

What are your favorite uses for LockInfo? How about IntelliScreen X? Which app do you think is better? Let us know in the comments!