Sunday, August 14, 2011

I'm not really back

So I have been feeling a bit guilty for leaving the blog all of a sudden. Here's the thing. Last thing I was doing tweak reviews and that's when I realized I don't want to do reviews, I wanna make tweaks. So I did.
I started with trying to figure out how all this is going to work as I don't have a mac and don't want one. And everyone I asked told me not to bother. But I did figure it out, and started with a project which was probably too complicated for me as a first attempt so I stopped that and went back to my thesis. Then I thought I'd just do a really simple tweak and release it for free, just to see how it goes. I released Delete Word and got over 10,000 downloads before I woke up on the day of release. That was pretty astounding for me, so I released a paid version Delete World and have been fixing bugs and doing support since. Currently working on another tweak, which should be good but getting really busy with my thesis so not much time really to work on the tweak or to write in the blog. But when I do get time I think I will start taking requests for tweaks to release for free. I guess that'll get me some karma (and experience) and I'll release some paid tweaks in the hopes of hitting big sometime. But its fun none-the-less even if it doesn't really pay back much.
Well that was just my quick update, my break is done, and I'm now headed back to data analysis. This sucks :(
Have a good day or night, wherever you are, whoever you are.
Its been a pleasure.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Tweak Week Coverage - Week #2: Filippo Bigarella

The second week of the TweakWeek challenge is by FilippoBiga creator of quite a few popular and useful apps including Springtomize, SlideAway, CleverPin, FreeSync, MyVolume, FBPhotoSave, and others. For a review of the first week by Ryan Petrich check this post out.

I couldn't take a screenshot of this one since the tweak itself affects the screenshot behavior! Instead of the screen flashing in the (boring?) white color when you take a screenshot, ColorShot gives you a random flash color every time. No more monotonous screen shooting!

If you are bored with your traditional "Swipe to Unlock" this tweak might bring some change into your life. If you enjoy swiping, then you're in luck. Instead of just swiping from left to right, you do that and then swipe the slider back to the left to unlock. If you know anything about me, you should know that I really don't care for aesthetics, so I have no opinion on this. Except that swiping the slider back to the left isn't as smooth as swiping to the right.

A good tweak which allows you enter a web address (URL) in the Spotlight search text field, and when you tap the search button you are redirected to your web browser (Safari) and that URL is opened.

This tweak is a sort of security for your iPhone. When the tweak is enabled, if your phone is charging and someone pulls it away (off the charger) the burglar alarm is switched on. The tweak must be enabled to be useful and must be disabled when you want to unplug the device without the alarm sounding. Toggling the tweak can be done by an Activator shortcut such as shaking your phone.

VerticalApp ToApp
This is an animation tweak which changes the animation of switching applications. Switching apps is done through the app switcher (double click home button). The default animation is horizontal, where the new app pushes the old one out of the way from one side of the phone to the other. This tweak makes the animation vertical pushing the old screen to the bottom.

Haven't tested yet.

Private SMS
Haven't tested yet.

Have a good day or night, wherever you are, whoever you are.
Its been a pleasure.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Tweak Week Coverage - Week #1: Ryan Petrich

[Week #2 -> Filippo Bigarella]

Thanks to Ryan Petrich for starting up the TweakWeek Challenge on the 1st of June. A free open source iOS tweak every day of the week, from a popular developer from the community each week. First week is over for Ryan with a pretty good job with the tweaks. My top two from Ryan are Running Indicator and MathAlarm! Find the reviews and description of the seven tweaks below. Click this link for the next week's tweaks from FilippoBiga.

June 1: DietBar
A nice and simple tweak which shaves a bit less than a centimeter off from the navigation bar found in many iOS applications.

It also removes the same amount from the bottom bars (such as the one with Update and Create New in This therefore gives you about 1.5 more centimetres of window space. There aren’t any settings or icons. Looks tidy most of the time, but if the text in the navigation bar is multi-line then it’s going to get shaved!

Would be nice to have a setting on/off and perhaps control size of navigation bar.

June 2: PagePusher
One again, a very simple, no icon or settings tweak. This tweak changes the default “switching-a-page” animation from the default “pushed-in” or animation to a neat looking “Page curl” one.

I think extending it to have different animation choices which can be set in the settings menu would be a good move.

June 3: SplitMail for iPad
iPad only, and since I don’t have one this isn’t really a review.
From description: “Enables using the split dual-view while in portrait orientation” for the Mail app.

An extension to the free “Action Menu” system app (also by Ryan), which saves the current webpage to Instapaper (Appstore: $4.99 or Browser Version free). Tap and hold to select any segment/text of the page you are browsing and the action menu will show up with “Read Later” option, or the Instapaper “I” icon if you are using icons.

Click that and the page’s text is saved with all the links for reading later.

You need an account with Instapaper, and you need to set the plug-in up with your username and password in the Action Menu (you need to download that obviously) settings page. Open up Instapaper using your browser, or device to check your saved links/pages.

I reckon this could be made better if links from other non-browser applications could be saved such as broadcasting apps (Ex: Whatsapp). Still good nevertheless!

Semi-related... On my wishlist: an Action Menu plug-in “Copy to” button, which could be set up from settings to copy selected text/data to different locations (Ex: to New note, Instapaper, Dropbox, etc.) without opening the “destination”. Just throwing this out there! :)

June 5: Running Indicator
My favorite tweak from TweakWeek so far. This tweak highlights the apps that are still running in the background, on your device's springboard.

This highlight is done by a nearly subtle glowing effect of the apps' icons on the springboard, when the apps are still running in the background (Notes and Calculator from my screenshots).

In addition to that there is a single setting to toggle the close button on these icons on or off, allowing you to directly close the applications without entering the app switcher.

I like this tweak because it tells you that there are apps still running if you forgot to Remove Background apps, without having to double-click the home button to get to app switcher, which you would tend to forget to do. Cleans out the memory and probably saves some battery life.

Perhaps a setting to customize the glow effect's color and intensity would be an improvement? Or a different style of indication? (Ex: outlining?) But the tweak is pretty sweet the way it is. Keeper for me!

June 6: SliderBar
This tweak adds a slider bar, or scroll bar if that's the term you prefer to use, on the right of all the pages which have table views, or list items such as the Settings app. The slider bar is represented by dots lined vertically on the right hand side of the screen.

This allows the user to scroll faster to any specific segment of the page, by clicking that area of the scroll bar (so click near the end of the slider bar to go near the end of the page). You can tap and drag to scroll as well, which is faster than the default slide up gesture, but not as pretty. Good for long distance scrolling. The type of scrolling is similar to that of the Contacts app.

Speaking of the Contacts app, this tweak replaces the slider bars when they exist by default (such as the alphabetical Contacts app slider bar) which I believe it shouldn't! That's one negative point, the other one is that there is no indication as to where we are on the page (in terms of the slide bar indicating that). I think making the SliderBar dot which represents our current location in relation to the page darker would solve that problem. Also, I usually don't care for aesthetics, but the dots really don't look that nice. Its a tweak never the less and more tweaks means more choices for people to customize.

June 7: MathAlarm

This tweak in my opinion is the most useful one from Ryan Petrich’s TweakWeek, at least if you’re a heavy sleeper, or alarm evader like I am. MathAlarm extends the functionality of the native Clock app, and makes it more annoying and harder for you to ignore. Traditionally, one would hit the snooze button a few times without realizing and then deactivates the alarm thereby over sleeping and missing a meeting. MathAlarm requires you to get some brain function before allowing you to turn off the alarm! In order to snooze or deactivate an alarm you must answer a simple double digit multiplication question. I am saying simple right now because I am fully awake, but when I’m asleep I’d either need to fully wake up or solve the multiplication question with a pen and paper. The nice/evil thing is you can’t turn the alarm off without the correct answer! So at least you will have to be awake long enough to switch the alarm off, which is better than being completely unaware of the alarm because you deactivated so easily without even waking up.
Here’s the step by step instructions on how to use the tweak. (Note:  the tweak has a few bugs at the time of writing this, so follow the exact steps here or you might  be stuck with an alarm you can’t turn off even after solving the question).

Set the alarm normally from the Clock app.

You will get an input box with the question, two buttons and answer text field.

If your device is locked UNLOCK IT BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING. If you have LockInfo installed you will not see the “Slide to Stop Alarm” text, but you still need to unlock the device before doing anything.

After that you will get a number pad which you can key in the quotient and either click snooze or deactivate.

If your phone wasn’t locked to start with then you just key in the quotient and you’re done.

Simple as that if you follow these steps, however if for some reason you get stuck with a non-stopping alarm (see below) you will have to manually reboot your phone (by holding the power and home buttons until it turns off the switching it back on)

Thanks for the efforts Ryan!

Next on: Week #2 FilippoBiga!

Have a good day or night, wherever you are, whoever you are.
Its been a pleasure.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Find you lost iDevice without looking like an idiot!

Make sure you don't look like this guy if you ever lose your iPhone. 

Long story short, the guy forgot his phone somewhere and thought someone stole it, used his son's iPhone to "track" his iPhone, tracked and beat up the wrong guy (the phone was always where he had left it), and was charged for assault.

Good thing it wasn't more than a beating...

So, how to avoid that? Well here are a few tips and precautions you can take, and a few tools which could help you find your iPhone.. properly. 

I have an iPhone 4, and these apps were tested on it, but they may work on other devices. Your job to check whether or not they do.

I suppose the "default" iPhone tracking tool would be the stock MobileMe - Find My iPhone one. This allows you to locate your iDevice on a map, display a sound and/or text message on the phone (regardless of whether or not it is on silent mode), lock the device using its existing passcode, and wipe the iPhone data remotely. Of course you will need your location services to be turned on on the device otherwise the last known location would be the one you would get, and an internet connection (3G or Wi-Fi) needs to be enabled on your device as well, or you'd get nothing. I think this is an OKish solution but needs a bit more (like changing the lockcode, I thought that we were able to this before!). [Click for instructions on how to set it up + Screenshots]

There are a couple of Cydia apps which I have tried and I believe would be enough to "secure" your iPhone and enable you to locate it "less foolishly" than the baseball guy. You'd need a jailbroken device for them though. If that doesn't suit you, I will talk very briefly about non-jailbroken devices further down.

First: iGotYa, a Cydia application with pretty basic functionality. When your iPhone is locked and an incorrect passcode is entered, the device silently (meaning the user doesn't know that anything is happening) snaps a photo using the iPhone 4's front camera, captures the devices location and sends that to a predefined email address. If the device doesn't have a internet connection the email will be queued, and if there is no accurate GPS location, well that last known one will be sent anyway. Also the application has a feature allowing the iPhone thief to be able to access your device with an incorrect passcode, except all your personal stuff will be hidden. So now you can see the face who stole your iPhone before you beat a random guy talking on an iPhone to death... or something. [Click for instructions and output example]

My favourite must have app for this issue is iLostMyi, has quite a number of different features than the ones mentioned. Firstly the application registers your SIM cards, meaning it will identify any "alien" SIM cards once they are inserted (i.e. thief switches your chip for his). The application the sends you a silent (meaning the user doesn't know that anything is happening) text/SMS message on one or two predefined phone numbers (i.e. your dad's phone number or your partner's). The message you will get will contain the sender's phone number, and his/her SIM card's ICCID and IMSI. You can then send text messages to that number with special commands (which again, will be silent and will bypass the phone's inbox). The special command can enable you to get the GPS location of the device (automatically turning location services on if they are off) and specifying your desired accuracy of location. You can also send other system commands and pretty much take control of your iPhone remotely (given there is a SIM card in it). Here is the list of commands you can send from the official website. In addition to that you can disable the shutting down of the phone. This is a new feature which I haven't tried out yet but should be useful so there would be continuous communication between you and your stolen iPhone. Also you can send a system message to the iPhone like the other applications for example (If found please contact Sam on PHONENUMBER or EMAIL). Useful if the person who found your phone doesn't actually want to steal it!

NOTE: You can still send the command text messages to your own phone even if no one has put an unidentified SIM card in it. Just use your own phone number. [Instructions & screenshots from the Official website]

There is another app (that I know of) on Cydia, similar to iLostMyi, which I haven't tried but seems to do something similar. It's called iTracker. Also I believe there are quite a few apps for non-jailbroken devices on the AppStore, none of which I have tried to be honest. A quick search shows me that "Device Locator: Track and locate your lost or Stolen iPhone..." could be a good one (based on description). Any other one anyone has used? Anything I have missed here or anything missing which you would like to see in iPhone tracker apps? Please share!

TIPS (You don't need to be jailbroken!)

Put a lock code on your device! If you are one to frequently and easily misplace your device make it auto-lock immediately. That could be annoying but better safe than sorry. If you're (like me) glued to your device, and think there is less chance of it being misplaced, put the locking time to 15 minutes or an hour. Or leave it at immediately and download CleverPin from Cydia. Needless to say, don't put obvious lock-codes such as your birth year or 1234 or 1111 or something easily guessable.

Leave location services always on, and if you have a 3G connection leave that always on. There is a trade-off here of-course with battery life. Personally I turn mine off whenever I'm not using them, but I'm willing to take the risk. Are you?

Before beating someone up make sure they HAVE actually stolen your device! Talk to them? Or send a system message or sound using one of the options I have mentioned to make sure your phone isn't just in your backpack, which you didn't check because you never put it there!

Finally, it is an expensive, or at least valuable device with probably quite a bit of your personal information on it. Keep it safe and don't neglect it. Love it and it will try to love you back. Except if it’s a 3GS (or pre-).. Even Apple don't love you anymore!


I do not in any way condone what you have done.
Don't try the lock-code, don't even guess. Just turn the phone off. Go home. Take the chip out and flush it down the toilet. Restore the device on your computer, and you should be sweet.
No guarantees though. Although none of the options I've talked about would work when you do that, I'm willing to bet you can still be somehow tracked by the cops or Apple.
Take the phone back to its owner and apologize.

If you found this useful and are interested in similar stuff, subscribe to this blog or follow me on twitter @7usamNZ.

Have a good day or night, wherever you are, whoever you are.
It’s been a pleasure.

Take a Peek at your iPhone Thief

This is a quick tutorial on how to setup and use the Cydia application iGotYa (You will need to jailbreak). It's an iPhone security application which takes a photo from the front camera when an incorrect passcode is entered, captures the device's GPS location, and sends the details to your email address.

Download the package from Cydia, there is a free trial for 10 days I think for you to play around with it. After that go to your iPhone settings page and choose iGotYa.

The settings are pretty straight forward:
Specify whether you want the picture to be taken and whether you want the GPS location to be take.
Input you email address for the details to be sent to when an incorrect passcode is entered.

Secure mode will enable access to the device in a very limited way, where all your personal data is hidden, similar to the Guest account on your computer. I don't use it but some might find it helpful.

You are all set up. Now leave your device on the table with your friends when you go to the toilet, and when you're back you'll be able to tell who's the nosy one. Open your email and you'll have a message like this: 

The link in the email will take you to Google Maps. If your phone has been stolen you'll be able to see who stole it, unlike this guy who got himself into some trouble because he guessed wrong.

Hope this helps someone. Let me know if you have tried better alternatives!

Have a good day or night, wherever you are, whoever you are.
Its been a pleasure.

Track your iDevice using MobileMe – Find My iPhone

This is just a quick tutorial on how to track your iDevice using MobileMe – Find my iPhone

Go to the “Mail, Contacts, Calendars” page from your iPhone’s settings

Tap the “Add Account...” button

Choose “mobile me”

Enter your details or create a new account.

Switch “Find My iPhone” on, and you are done setting up!

Now, lose your iPhone, and use a web browser to go to Here's the page you'd get, just log on using your details from the previous steps.

Your alternative is getting the free app "Find My iPhone" from the Appstore and this is the login screen you will see:

It will take a few seconds to locate your phone and then display it, depending on your connection I guess (less than a second on mine). You'd get something like this with your device's name, and location on the map.

Click the blue arrow next to your device's name to view the action's menu as shown below:
You can display a message and/or sound, lock the device, or wipe the device data.

Let's send a message:
Type it and check or uncheck the sound option then click send. Note that it doesn't matter whether the phone is on silent mode, the "alarm" is going to sound.

As soon as the message has been received by your phone, you will be notified, and a confirmation email will be sent to you as well. Here's the email:

This is what the message looks like on my phone:

The other two options: lock and wipe, I am not going to demonstrate, because lock does exactly that, normally locks the device with the passcode, so if the thief stole your phone while it was unlocked he/she can't do anything with it anymore. Also I'm not gonna wipe my phone to demonstrate, use that only if you've lost hope of getting your phone back (and its not backed up on your iTunes) or if you've got really sensitive data on it.

Best case scenario of course is you don't have to use this application. So take care off your device, but better safe than sorry. Also avoid getting yourself in trouble by tracking wrongly, check these tips out.

Have a good day or night, wherever you are, whoever you are.
Its been a pleasure.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Upgrade to iOS 4.3.3 - Endless Recovery Loop (FIX)

So I decided to update my iPhone 4 from 4.2.1 to 4.3.3 yesterday. A bit of a nuisance as always. Backed up my Cydia stuff using xBackup, synced using iTunes, downloaded the firmware from iTunes, hit the restore button and crossed my fingers that everything goes well.

It didn't. "The iPhone 'iPhone' could not be restored. An unknown error occured (1013)". And I was stuck in endless recovery loop. The fix for my situation is in red below if you can't be bothered reading.

Tried redoing the thing a couple of times, tried rebooting, then decided to check what Apple had to say:

1. Update to the latest version of iTunes (Already done)

2. Verify that your operating system is up to date (Not relevant)

3. Disconnect other USB devices (Not really relevant but nothing was connected)

4. Check security settings (Check)

5. Restart your computer (OK, Done..)

So I thought OK, this is something for TinyUmbrella (by @notcom) to solve. Checked the blog and it seemed to have the solution. Downloaded the Fix Revovery stuff from there, and tried kicking out of recovery, and tried fixing recovery. Nothing!

Had a bit of a search and some people had suggested resetting the hosts file (tried and failed) and some other people suggested downgrading back to 4.2.1 (OK, last resort I'll try that). One person suggested formatting my OS (Hell no!), but that gave me an idea. Copied the .ipsw firmware file to my USB stick and to my friends computer (which hasn't been played with for Jailbreaking or custom firmware restoring or TinyUmbrealla or anything), and restored. Voila! Restored and updated first time.

Put the phone back on my computer and restored iTunes files. Jailbreak using redsn0w_win_0.9.6rc15 (Note: Make sure this works for you before using. Doesn't support unlock.) Click here for step-by-step 4.3.3 Jailbreaking instructions for all devices + video.

OK, so the Jailbreak went very smoothly, Cydia installed, xBackup downloaded, and Cydia packages restored. Mostly I think, some stuff probably isn't supported anymore. Everything is sweet at the moment.

Was the update worth it? I don't know yet. There's the Personal Hotspot, which we could already do with the Jailbreak apps, not that I ever used it since its cheaper for me to use Wifi which is available pretty much everywhere I take my laptop with me, and the 3G I use for email and social notifications only. I also activated the Multitasking Gestures: which I liked, especially moving left and right between apps. I don't like that I need four fingers though! My fingers are average size I believe and they cover the whole screen. Not too nice to use. Also, I would like to customize those multitasking multi-finger gestures using Activator.  Are we able to do that yet? I think that's about it in terms of improvement that I've noticed. There should be AirPlay enhancements, and Safari performance upgrades according to Apple but I haven't used those. Maybe it wasn't worth upgrading but there's just the one-off cost of upgrading at the start and can't see any downsides so, that's all good.

If you've had the same problems and solved differently let me know! Wanna know more about Jailbreaking check my post. Feel like sharing your 4.3.3 experiences, good or bad, Jailbroken or Stock? Please do. Comment, subscribe, and follow me on twitter @7usamNZ if you are interested!

Have a good day or night, wherever you are, whoever you are.
Its been a pleasure.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

JAIL101: A guide to the Jailbreaking Virgin

In my previous post I talked about why I jailbreak my iPhone and some of the teaks that I have installed and liked. From the feedback I noticed that some people don't know much about jailbreaking, or have some misconceptions. Also noticed jailbreaking isn't for everyone, it just doesn't work with some people. This will give you a short basic introduction to jailbreaking and how to do it, as well as my insights to what is good and bad about it and who jailbreaking might suit. Let me know if anything I say is wrong, or if something is missing. Ask for help if you need it, and subscribe to this blog or follow me on twitter if you would like to get iPhone news, app recommendations and reviews, or informative posts such as this one. I might also write some posts about programming soon, so subscribe or follow if that interests you.

Simply put Jailbreaking is running a process which modifies the operating system of your iDevice enabling giving it full access to the operating system and enabling it to bypass limitations set by Apple. By jailbreaking you are able to change stuff in your iDevice system that for one reason or another Apple hasn't authorized. They way in which you will be able to change stuff after you jailbreak is that you will have a new app called Cydia, which you will use to download packages, or unauthorized-by-Apple apps that do certain things to your system. Saying things like unauthorized-by-Apple, or accessing operating system or doing things to your system might scare you off. But it is not doing bad things. Just because Apple hasn't authorized it doesn't make it bad! For example the sorts of things you can do by using Cydia packages is have different ways of notifications than Apple's default ones, or put shortcuts on your device. Here is a list of the Cydia packages that I have and like, along with a description or review, this should give you an idea of the kind of "things you will be able to do to your system".

Tethered Vs. Untethered
Before I get on to the How-To I will just explain that there are two types of jailbreaks. Tethered and Untethered. To put it really simply a Tethered jailbreak is one which you will have to connect your iDevice to your computer everytime you want to boot it up (or turn it on if it was off). So if you run out of charge you have to go to your computer.. I personally do not recommend doing a Tethered jailbreak!
Untethered jailbreak on the other hand is a process that you do once only with your computer, and then it is always there. The reason there are tethered jailbreaks is that it takes time for the jailbreaking community to get around Apple's limitations when Apple increases its security when they update the firmware/software, and the first attempts at jailbreaking usually end up to be tethered. Its just how it is. At the moment however, I believe that all jailbreaks are untethered and are available to the latest Apple firmware 4.3.3.

To jailbreak you need to plug in your iDevice to your computer and then run a jailbreak software from your computer. After that you follow basic instructions that the software gives you, involving mainly turning your device off or on and pushing or holding buttons. However to get your jailbreaking software you need to know a few things.
  • Firstly which iDevice you have, iPhone 4? iPhone3G? iPod? iPad? Which ever one you have, you will be able to jailbreak, but the software will be slightly different.
  • Which firmware your device has. This is the version of operating system and can be found out by navigating to Settings > General > About > Version on your iDevice. It would say something like "4.2.1 (8C148)". Your firmware version is the number (4.2.1 - whatever it says on your iDevice)
  • Whether you have a Windows, Mac, or Linux operating system on your computer. Some jailbreaks work only on Macs so keep that in mind.
After you have that information go to this wikipedia page, it usually has very up to date information and you will be able to find out what jailbreak software to use, with a link to its webpage. Have a read on the page as well, it will give you some good information. Checkout the history section which has up-to-date information about the latest jailbreaks.

When you have your software you will usually have to go through the following process: connect your device to the computer using the cable, turning iTunes off and turning the phone off. Running the jailbreak software, pushing buttons according to instructions, waiting a bit for the process to run, and that's it you are done. What happens then is you get a new app on your iDevice called "Loader" which you open to install Cydia. When Cydia installs that's it, you can download tweaks and utilities to your liking, and use your iDevice to its full capacity and potential!

There are a few misconceptions that I have heard people talking about, just to clear those up, here's a short list: (ASK ME IF YOU ARE IN DOUBT ABOUT SOMETHING)
  1. ALL JAILBREAKING SOFTWARE IS FREE! Don't get conned into paying money to jailbreak, if someone asks you for money for the software. The software are available to download from the internet for free. Some people/retailers will charge you money to actually do the process (mentioned above) which is fine if you don't want to do it yourself, but the process is so easy as described above that I personally think it will be a waste of your money to pay someone to do it for you!
  2. Jailbreaking does NOT disallow you to use the appstore, and it does NOT change anything to do with your already existing free or paid appstore apps. The appstore is still there and you get another alternative to the appstore which is Cydia.
  3. Jailbreaking is NOT about pirating software. Although it is common for jailbreakers to pirate software, that is not the purpose. They do it because it is possible with jailbreaking to get free/pirated software from the appstore. However I recommend you purchase your appstore apps to support their developers, and wont explain how you get the cracked/pirated apps here!
  4. Jailbreaking is NOT about getting free software. A lot of the Cydia packages and apps are free, and some are paid. You pay through Cydia instead of through the appstore for the Cydia apps, and for the appstore apps you pay through the appstore as you normally would! Like mentioned above you COULD get free/cracked/pirated apps that are paid on the appstore but that is NOT the point of jailbreaking. The point is to get more control over how your device acts and looks (my opinion)!
  5. Jailbreaking itself does NOT slow down your iPhone. Having said that, it is actually installing some specific packages from Cydia that can slow your device a bit. But you can control what you install, and you can uninstall a software anytime if you think it is slowing down your device. Also you can get software which allows you to optimize stuff and actually make your device faster.
  6. Jailbreaking does NOT kill your device's battery. Again, like the previous point some Cydia apps could do that as they might run in the background even when you are not using your device. However this is not much different than the drainage of your battery when you are playing games from the appstore or keeping apps running in the multitask. You are able to save battery drainage with some techniques, and I might make a post on that sometime later. However the battery drain isn't that bad. My jailbroken iPhone lasts a bit less than 2 days 48 hours, with regular use and quite a few applications running in the background continuously. Compare that to your non jailbroken device and you could get the same. All depends on how you use it!
  7. Jailbreaking is NOT illegal. Apple doesn't like you jailbreaking but it isn't illegal.
  8. If you have other doubts which I haven't mentioned and you want cleared up, don't hesitate to ask!

Pros and Cons
Now that we've ruled out some of the misconceptions there are still a few disadvantages to jailbreaking, and advantages of course. I'll list what I can think of, or heard people complain about here:

  • Apple warranty is void while the iDevice is jailbroken. However if you need to take your device to Apple you can just restore using iTunes.
  • Updating to the latest Apple firmware isn't always good for you. Updating firmware will remove your jailbreak, along with any other Cydia apps you have added. So make sure you back up and check that there is a jailbreak available for that software before you update via iTunes!
  • Actually updating becomes a hassle because you need to separately backup your Cydia apps before updating and then re-jailbreak after you update and restore your Cydia backup separately.
  • Because jailbreaking gives you so much control over your iDevice, you can actually screw it up if you download stuff you are not sure about. You can make your phone crash, make it slower, or drain its battery faster if you are reckless with your Cydia apps downloads. Always read descriptions properly and check out reviews before downloading a Cydia app. I have one set of Cydia apps review here.
  • Jailbreaking gives you the temptation to download free stuff and pirated apps, and that isn't good for developers or the community (or Apple). When the developers don't get money for apps you are pirating they aren't motivated to make new ones, and the iDevices are all about the endless availability of apps. So think twice!

  • You have more control of your iDevice. It is yours so you get to control it like you are supposed to. Customizing themes, and icons and fonts and all that makes your iDevice more personal.
  • You have more features and tweaks that make your iDevice easier to use. This includes shortcuts, which if used correctly can save you battery life, and access your information faster.
  • You have at your hands the opportunity to have a larger number of options in terms of apps and tweaks than if you were not jailbroken. The endlessness of apps is multiplied!
  • You can improve upon features that already exist in your iDevice but ones that Apple haven't done correctly. Examples include adding plugins to your default apps, such as messaging or the camera app (timer functionality!). Also features such as notifications and folders and others can be improved.
  • Check my other post out for more of the kind of stuff you could do with jailbreaking!
For me, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, that might not be the case for everyone!

Is jailbreaking suitable for you?
Jailbreaking is not for everyone! I used to think people who didn't jailbreak were idiots for not using their devices to the full capability, but talking to some people and comments from the readers I understand that it just isn't suitable for everyone. Here are a few points to consider to figure out whether you want to jailbreak or not:
  • If you are using ur stock / unjailbroken iDevice, and get annoyed with a feature limitation or popup or anything, you might want to jailbreak.
  • If you are just using your iDevice as it is, and don't want to bother with customizing it, and managing your device by yourself, you probably don't want to jailbreak.
  • If you don't use your iDevice much, or if you use it mainly for communication, you don't need to jailbreak.
  • If you want your iDevice to be used as a powerful device, nearly a computer, JAILBREAK.
  • If you are not that into technology, and don't want to get too deep into figuring out what tweaks work for you and what is safe and what drains batter and so on, don't jailbreak.
  • Adventurous and want to try new things out? Jailbreak!
  • Want to show off to your friends and do things with you device that they can't cuz they're not jailbroken? Jailbreak!
Thats all I can think of. Personally I think everyone should jailbreak and try it out. If it doesn't work for you, just chuck it away.

Thanks for reading!

Hope this post was useful and informative to some people at least. If I did say anything that wasn't correct, please feel free to correct me. Any requests? Don't hesitate to ask!

If you are interested in iPhones or iDevices and their apps or tweaks, jailbreaking, programming, or any of the stuff I talked about today, please subscribe to this blog or follow me on twitter.

Have a good day or night, wherever you are, whoever you are.
Its been a pleasure.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

One Hundred Reasons to Jailbreak

I keep telling people to Jailbreak and that their iPhones are worthless without jailbreaking so I decided to take a look at my Cydia packages collection and list/explain the noteworthy ones, which make my iPhone useable. I'll just scroll through the packages now and list them as I go.

Disclaimer: They probably aren't a hundred listed here, but believe me you can easily find a hundred reasons on Cydia.

Action Menu: Extends the menu which pops up when you tap in text (like cope and cut and paste). To be honest I don't think it is that great at the moment, its got copy all button so you don't have to select all then copy, it has dial, add to favorites, and scroll to top or bottom of page. Having said that there are extensions and potentials for useful extensions for it which are quite good. I think I've got one of those I'll talk about it when I get to it.

Activator: A must have, basically it allows you to have shortcuts for running apps or tasks on your phone, using gestures, shakes, and the iPhone's physical buttons. I think there's also a voice control thing but I've never used it. I've got swipes for the apps that I use commonly but don't want to see: phone, messaging, settings, and hide their icons. I've got button combinations for Spring Flash (later) and ipod controls. Very handy makes life a hell of a lot easier. SBSettings is another of my shortcuts.

Animate: I'm not really a fan of aesthetic enhancements but this one changes the apple boot logo, to an animated one. Heaps to choose from in Cydia and you could make your own.

App Switcher Ringer: This just puts a volume slide bar in your app switcher (when you double click home) on the page to the left of the iPod page. Its close to the iPod and is faster to change ur volume there than clicking the volume buttons. I like it.

AptBackup: Absolutely necessary for when you decide to upgrade ur firmware and re-jailbreak. I am not sure how reliable this is, I used it once when updating from 4.1 to 4.2 and I think I lost some packages. But it did a fair job.

AskToCall: Quite handy I think, this prevents you from accidentally calling people. I usually would call my contacts when I'm scrolling through the recents list, and this just asks you to confirm you want to call. You can set it up so it asks you when you are on specific apps/pages (recents, phone dialing, etc.)

AttachmentSaver: I take this for granted now, as one is supposed to! Basically with this  you can save any type of email attachment onto your iPhones harddisk. Its been so long since I downloaded this that I forgot which formats you can't download by default, but if you don't already have it you're likely to know what I'm talking about. I dunno zip files maybe? You don't necessarily open it but it means you can save it and send it later from ur iphone.

Backgrounder: Another must have! You'r apps just continue to run in the background. Proper actual multitasking. Nothing more I need to say about that!

BiteSMS: Yet another one you must have. Its one of the paid ones but well worth it. I use this as a replacement to the default Messaging app. Allows you to control how you receive and send text messages. Quick Reply and Quick Compose features means you never really have to open the app. No need to interrupt what ur doing. Just reply as soon as u get the message without leaving ur page, or ignore the message and leave it for later. Can be set up to remind you that you have unread messages. Plus a statusbar icon with number of texts on standby. Other than that you can put a lockcode on ur messages, or hide messages from specific people (good when someone is "auditing" ur messages, doesn't look as suspicious as hiding everything!) And a lot more. Love this app. Oh and also there's an app on the appstore called textfreak which  is integrated into BiteSMS, get your friends to download it and you'll all be texting each other, using the BiteSMS app for free over wifi or 3G. And the beauty is that its done automatically. If the person can be texted for free they will be!

BytaFont: Again, although like I always say I'm not an aesthetic person, this app is a must have if you want to customize ur phone's fonts. Fonts can be downloaded through Cydia. Easy to use and its function is quite basic.

Call Infofields: Basically just adds an extra field to the incoming call display, such as the person's address, email, birthday, phone number, lots of options.

CameraWallpaper: A cool aesthetic thing as well. Brings augmented reality to your spring board. The name explains it all, your live camera output becomes ur wallpaper. Both front and back (iPhone4) plus you could take photos. Has battery saving options as well.. Just a cool customization to have. Cool with Graviboard (later)

CleverPin: I only recently got this and it is a bit clever. Basically it allows you to automatically NOT passcode lock your phone when you are home (wifi network detection) or charging. Which is cool. No one is gonna steal ur phone at home so it makes usage faster to not have to put the code when ur home, but automatically uses the original settings when you're out.

Color Keyboard: Another customization tweak.. Just gives u different keyboard themes.

CyDelete: Good for when you try lots of Cydia apps and want to remove them. They can be removed from ur springboard just like appstore apps.

Direct Control: Another one of those things which just make it faster to do stuff. When ur ipod is on, double clicking the home button will take u directly to the ipod app switcher page. Hey, I'm too lazy to swipe right.

External iPod Controls: Better yet, this allows you to change your tracks using the volume buttons

FastSnap: You want to take a photo of you and your friends using the back camera, cuz the front one is crap, but soon as the camera is facing you, you have no idea where to tap to take the bloody photo. Well, easy solution, VOLUME BUTTONS. They are placed strategically so it feels like you are using a digital camera.. Just guess-aim and snap.

File2Mail: Allows you to send attachments, a mediocre task which Apple could not cater for. Any file type of course. Just browse select and send.

FolderEnhancer: Another major reason your unjailbroken piece of shit isn't worth your money, is that you can only put 12 icons in a folder! Medieval ! So folder enhancer allows you to put many icons in a folder (which has many pages just like mini springboards). Also you can put folders inside folders. (Apple "OMG why didn't we think of that!"). I believe you can theme your folders and do icon thumbnail caching and maybe folder images, but I'm just looking for the functional aspect of it. A MUST have paid app.

Graviboard: Just a fun cool aesthetic thing where there is virtual gravity on ur spring board and ur icons just fall (or fly). Plus you can throw them around. Looks good with Camera Wallpaper.

HomePage: Simply "Go to first home page after exiting apps". Usually when I'm done with an app I want to be on my first home page, which is the main one, where I have my frequently used apps.. So rather than scrolling all the way back, or hitting the home button, its just done automatically. Yes, we've established that I'm lazy!

iBlacklist: Must have paid app. Does what it says it does. Blocks calls or texts based on black lists, or allow/white lists, or text content. Blocking calls can be done in many ways so the caller can think ur phone is off, or that ur phone was on silent, or that you accidentally picked it up while it was in ur pocket. Discreet. Plus its password protected and has a "fake password" feature which I believe more apps should have: it shows different, fake, settings when u enter the alternative/fake password. So if you've blocked me and I suspect you and I see your phone and demand you put the password, you put the fake password with full confidence that you would never block me. Ba**a*d!

Icon Renamer: Some apps just come with stupid names, or you just don't like their icons name. Well just double click and rename!

iFile: The best iPhone file manager and viewer. Browse through your directories, copy files, paste them, send them via webserver. Its got it all!

iLostMyi: Good iPhone security. After you set it up, it will send you a text on ur alternative phone (ur partner's maybe?) when the sim card is changed. Silently ofcourse, from the new sim card's phone number. You text back using specific codes, and you are able to do pretty much anything, from wiping the data, to getting gps coordinates and locking the phone. You can even set the accuracy of GPS so it only sends the coordinates when its sure of them. Scenario: I steal your phone, put my chip in, you get a text with my number, you text your codes, and it gives you my home address, you come with the cops to claim your phone. Easy as!

Insomnia: Allows applications to continue running in the background AND using the wifi even while the screen is in sleep mode.

iProtect: With this paid app you can lock any of your apps with a passcode. Your nosy friends can't do anything they are not supposed to do when you are gone to the toilet or something.

iScheduler: Basically automatically schedule tasks! Daily good morning texts to your sweetheart while you're on ur "business trip" for example, or change the profile to silent when you are in meetings (recognised by ur calendar), change the brightness to low in the night time cuz it strains the eyes less. Its all there.

LockInfo: MUST! You get all your info, on your lockscreen! SMS, Missed calls, push notifications, calendar events, and other stuff. Nicely organised and simple. Not cluttery like the intelliscreen one I think it was called. Thumbs up. Double thumbs up in fact.

ManualCorrect Pro: [Example] Yeahhhh, so the autocorrect can sometimes be embarrassingly annoying. You can turn it off, and make it manual so it only corrects when you tell it to. You could also manually add words to the dictionary, and also manually add auto correct words. I use it as a shortcut, for example I type "hus" and that autocorrects to "Hussam Al-Mahoozi" if I want it to.

MissedCallOpening: Simply "Show recents tab first when missed calls" on the phone app.

MultiIconMover: So you want to move 10 icons from page 7 of your springboard to page 3. Traditionally, here's how you'd do it. Get into wiggle mode, hold icon #1, drag to left edge, wait for page to turn, keep holding and wait for next page to turn, keep repeating until you hit page 3. Go back to page 7. Repeat 9 times. With this app: get into wiggle mode, click each of the icons you want to move to select them, swipe away normally to your desired page, press home button to teleport your selected icons.

MyVolume: Customize what your volume management. Control how much volume each press of a volume button changes, or use the buttons to set volume to max or min. Set volume to silent when specific apps are opened (good to avoid the embarrassment of angry bird sounds when you are in class). Good set of settings.

OpenSSH: Secure shell.. Browse your iPhone files from ur computer wirelessly, and transfer/copy data both directions. Must have. Remember to change your default  password. Use with "Automatic SSH" to keep the connection open for longer.

PhoneHint: Start dialing a number and the possible contacts you are trying to dial will be listed for you. Good when someone is asking you "You know who's phone number this is? 0..2..1..2..3..4.." - "Got it"

PkgBackup: Backup and restore Cydia Apps. Haven't tried it yet but looks promising. Anyone tried it let me know!

Popup Blocker: Just block the annoying popups. I know my location service isn't enabled, stop reminding me. Or wifi or whatever.

PowerAlerter: More customizable power alerts. Control when the alerts show, what sound they play, and whether to take an action when you reach a specific percentage (turn iPhone off so you have that emergency 10%). Also tells you when your battery is full so you can take it off the charger.

SBSettings: MUST MUST HAVE. Along with all its plugins. Toggle Wifi, Location, 3G, Airplane, Rotation, Push Notifications, Vibration, Sound, Autolock, Autocorrect, SH, Bluetooth, Springflash, Insomnia, and many many more. Also remove all the background apps with one button. This app basically shows you a button menu with all these toggles or shortcuts, plus ability to hide springboard icons.

SpringFlash: Use your camera's flash as a flash light. Good to use with Activator. Good for nighttime navigation to the toilet or the kitchen or something. I just hold the home button and it lights up. Hold it again to turn off. Cool and handy.

Springtomize: A set of tweaks to customize your springboard and appswitcher. Enter wiggle mode without wiggling? Be able to close app switcher apps without entering wiggle mode (by just having a close button for each icon in default). Hide status bar icons or text (name of your network.. who wants to know that) or change it to your name! Lots of cool stuff.

SwipeToMoveCursor: its when you want to move ur text cursor one or two characters to the left but ur finger is too big and you keep missing ur target. just swipe left and the cursor moves one character to the left.

SwitcherMod: Adds improvements to the app switcher, to be used alongside Springtomize as they complement each other

Synchronicity: You can use your phone while it is syncing. Play a game or something. Better than watching the status bar on iTunes.

ToneFXs: Fully customize your iPhone's sounds. As simple as that.

Veency: VNC (remote desktop) server for the iPhone. So you can see what's going on on the iPhone from ur computer. Good for jealous partners :p

Voice ActionMenu Plugin: Select text then the button shows up so the iPhone reads aloud

Wifi Passwords: Automatically retrieves all wifi passwords ever entered on the device. So you don't forget them, and so you know the password if your friend said "Let me type it for you" instead of giving you the password.

WinterBoard: I don't use it much, but anyone who wants to customize their iPhone should have this. Lots of themes and mini-tweaks (such as hiding shadows) and what not.

WriteHTML: Write and view HTML code and its output. Good for the beginner in HTML to test stuff out. Just handy to have for anyone else.

xBackup: Another Cydia backing up and restoring app. Anyone who tried it please let me know how reliable it is.

YoutubeToMp3: The name says it all. Saves the audio from a youtube video to an mp3 on ur device

5-Row Keyboard: A 5 row querty layout keyboard. I type with numbers a lot so it saves time rather than pressing the number button every time, the numbers are always there. Could be changed to symbols if you use the symbols a lot.

These are by no means ALL the good Cydia apps on my iPhone OR on the market (Cydia repositories). Many more that I have tried and liked but removed cuz I just don't use them, or didn't want to buy them. One I can distinctly remember is iGotYa which is a paid app that monitors your lockcode input. When you (the stealer of your phone) attempts to use it and enters a wrong passcode, the phone takes a snapshot of (hopefully) his/her face, records the GPS location of the phone and silently sends that info to your email. Many others as well.

If you have had good experiences with any free or paid jailbreak apps that I haven't mentioned here, or have a comment about ones I have mentioned, feel free to shout it out. If you are still not convinced that you must jailbreak your phone you probably are illiterate, or maybe English isn't in your first 5 languages. However if you are literate and do speak English, understand what I've said and still think you shouldn't jailbreak, please help me understand why. I mean I can think of a few lame reasons why one shouldn't jailbreak and I might mention them sometime, but nothing enough to outweigh the benefits.

Also jailbreaking isn't as hard as you think it is! Feel free to ask for help if you haven't done it before!

Have a good day or night, wherever you are, whoever you are.
Its been a pleasure.