So like 1.7 million of you I jailbroke my iPhone yesterday. And like most of you I quickly found Cydia unusable because 1.7 million people were trying to use it at once. I’ve written about jailbreaking over the years here. Each iteration fewer and fewer people do it I notice. Honestly I’d waited a while until my last jailbreak. I mainly did it to get NCSettings to turn WiFi and Bluetooth on and off quickly. I suspect that if Apple added that to iOS 7 I’d probably not bother again. But who knows. There really are several cool tools in Cydia.
Over on ADN someone noted that blogs tend to discuss jailbreaking as if it were always OK with no dangers. I felt a little guilty as he could have easily been referring to me. That said I think most readers of this blog are power users and know the risks to jailbreaking. The fact is jailbreaking is a pain for developers – creating new bugs that are very difficult to track down. I can see why Apple came out against it. While I’ve never had an iPhone refused at the genius bar because it was jailbroken I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened one day. I’m typically pretty cautious what I install via jailbreaking. I avoid most theming (although I’m a sucker for writing my own custom lock screen) and only install a few things. Most of the time I don’t have a problem. I even stopped installing SBSettings.
All that said, here are the things I did install and think are worth using.
NCSettings. I’ve discussed this here before. It puts into the Notification Center buttons to turn WiFi, Bluetooth and a lot else off. I’ve long griped about how hard it is to toggle these settings on iOS. While iOS6 at least moved Bluetooth up a level it’s still too convoluted. I’m shocked Apple hasn’t embraced something like this on their own. This is the #1 reason I jailbreak to be honest.
SwipeSelect. I’ve written about this a lot as well. A lot of individual apps have added this feature to their keyboards. It’s nice to have it universal though. Basically you drag your finger left or right across the keyboard to move the cursor. Apple’s cursor movement is tricky because it’s finicky and you also can’t see the text where your text is. Apple tries to work around this by providing a magnified group but it only gets you so much. SwipeSelect is something I really missed when I installed iOS6. Surprisingly even more than NCSettings. Oddly I don’t care for it on the iPad. I think this has something to do with my general displeasure typing on the iPad. I’m always moving the cursor accidentally while typing leading to gibberish. On the iPhone that never seems to happen to me.
Five Icon Dock. I like having both the music player and Downcast on my dock along with Messages, Safari, and the phone app.
Netatalk. Your iPhone and its full directory structure shows up in the Finder as a shared computer. Fantastic. Just make sure you remember to change the root password on your iOS device.
There are a few others I’m trying. For instance I installed, although I haven’t yet used, WireSiri. This lets you use Siri to turn off Bluetooth, Wifi and more.
I’ll probably have a few tweaks and tips that require jailbreaking in the forthcoming weeks. If you access your iPhone via the file system or ssh I’d suggest running the shell script to create application folders.