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BlackBerry’s Privacy Shade app should just come as a standard feature on all phones

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I’m not very good at listening to music when commuting on the subway. I enjoy the sights and sounds of the busy city — it’s nice to just hang and observe the world outside of your own for a small chunk of the day.

This all sounds nice and philosophical in theory, but in practice it’s actually a lot more like me standing over the person sitting on said subway train, and getting a glimpse at what they’re reading on their smartphone. It’s admittedly pretty rude but humans can’t stop their natural curiosity! Which is why this Privacy Shade app for BlackBerry is a clever solution for stopping creeps like me from peering over increasingly large smartphone screens.

Privacy Shade is insanely simple: you pick the shape of a circle or a lateral bar that extends horizontally across the screen. That becomes your viewable area. Everything outside of that area can be shaded, and you can adjust the darkness level from completely blocked out or slightly opaque. To view the rest of your screen, drag the viewable area around. There’s even an option to shade the viewable area until you hold the screen down. When you’re done browsing your phone in peace, you can turn the app off by bringing down the quick settings panel from the top of the screen.

Privacy Shade is currently available to download on BlackBerry devices via this APK, but it’s such a simple and useful tool that I’m surprised most phones don’t offer it as a standard feature. But perhaps that won’t stay true for long. Where there’s demand, there’s a way for developers from larger companies to “borrow” the idea and create their own version for the masses.