iPad Jailbreak State of Play – Mostly for Alpha Testers Right Now

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Cydia on iPad

I was going to do an iPad jailbreak first impressions sort of post over the next day or so, but I’ll hold off on or possibly scrap that idea for now.  Reason being, I’m finding the jailbreak environment for the iPad – as should be expected I guess – at a very early alpha stage right now.  An environment ripe for those who have time and desire to help in testing, but not so great for those who don’t.

A few things that have put me off spending much time with the iPad jailbreak for now:

— Cydia works OK enough but carries a statement right at on its main page warning that things are not quite right yet.  It explains that as far as they can tell, iPhone OS 3.2 (which the ipad runs) is being run by a separate team than those working on the main for-iPhone branch of the OS – and this is causing ‘weirdness’ for devs porting over apps that rely on MobileSubstrate.

— Cydia itself doesn’t do rotation yet or have all its pages and elements sized right for the iPad yet.

— Within Cydia, there is no marked section for iPad apps yet, or a way to filter for them, or any indicators on app description pages to show iPad compatibility.  So it’s even more of a crapshoot than normal in terms of finding apps to try.

— The best resource I’ve come across so far is a community-maintained spreadsheet located here:


iPad jailbreak apps compatibility list

— The list makes for depressing reading if you’re a fan of app-switching / multitasking jailbreak apps.  That is by far, far and away my number one reason for jailbreaking the iPhone (and now iPad).  BackGrounder – the app that enables apps to run in the background – appears to work just fine for me, and is listed as a full ‘Pass’ on the spreadsheet.  But … the only well-known front end for it – needed to make fast switching between running apps possible – that is said to work is MultiFlow. 

— I say ‘said to’ because MultiFlow will install for me, but does not work at all. The Multiflow Prefs app won’t launch – always crashes back to home, and Multiflow doesn’t show up in Activator options or in user apps – so I can find no way to invoke it.

— My favorite apps switching apps, ProSwitcher and Kirikae, are listed as complete Fails for now on the compatibility sheet.  So is Circuitous.

— InfiniDock also sounds like a no-go for now.

— OpenSSH – one of the real ‘core’ jailbreak apps apparently destroys Location Services, according to the compatibility list.

— SBSettings is also listed as having various known issues.

I know many users are over-the-moon with the ability to use a jailbreak app to force some iPhone apps to run in full-screen mode, but I honestly couldn’t care less about that.  I have weeded out nearly all iPhone-only apps from my iPad, and the remaining few are perfectly usable as they are now.

There are quite a few notable jailbreak apps that are said to work just fine on the iPad.  Sadly, none of the ones that offer compelling reasons to jailbreak, for me, are in that category as yet.

So, for me the JB arena for the iPad just feels too much like an alpha testing ground.  I admire all the folks who are taking the time and making the effort to test this new environment.  I just don’t feel I have time for that right now.

I may give things a few more days – to see if things like ProSwitcher and InfiniDock get updated and made to work – and if not I’ll likely do a restore to stock. 

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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10 thoughts on “iPad Jailbreak State of Play – Mostly for Alpha Testers Right Now”

  1. As Patrick was stating, the only real reason I've found to keep the jailbreak at the moment is FullForce – which is letting me run Facebook, Reeder and Tweetie 2 full screen without pixel doubling. I know there are replacements out there for all these apps – and I've got a bunch of them installed, but so far I've been frustrated by the majority of them.

    Hrmm… maybe its time to do a "why your app pissed me off" post.

  2. As Patrick also said a lot of things dont work.. But for me I ONLY User a couple of apps and they seem to work fine for me. 1) Backgrounder 2) Open SSH 3) Veency.. That is the only ones I use and everything works fine.. For me it is very important to be able to brouse around the ipad and move or add to.. So for me it is ok. True a lot of things dont work but those that do I like and it works fine. Thanks

  3. i <3 Backgrounder and SBsettings (which allows me to kill apps running in the background without my knowledge, turn WiFi on and off quicky, and adjust brightness quickly). I'm waiting for the day when i can have 8 x 12 apps per page…(BTW, Categories didn't work correctly for me and rearranged all of the app icons on my Spring Board – annoying to say the least…).

  4. Not that I advocate any kind of app theft, but Installous has also been updated to work with the iPad. Before anyone gives me any shite about stealing apps… I've kept an eye on that scene for a long time since I have some stuff in the app store.

    SBSettings is a must have as well. Found that out yesterday when I was using an app, quit out of it, then who knows WTF happened but it was taking 10-15 seconds for the homescreen to change pages. (No backgrounder or anything like it). I opened SBSettings, hit respring and everything was back to normal. Typically that would have required a full reboot.

  5. Backgrounder, SB Settings, Music Controls, and to get my iPad on Saurik's server were all reason enough for me to jailbreak and keep it that way. All of those apps work wonderfully on the iPad. Once 4.0 is released, I may change my mind, but for now I'll stay jailbroken. Categories worked somewhat for me. My only issue is that the folders don't rotate with the screen/dock. So, if you're looking at your iPad in landscape, you're folder of apps will still be showing in portrait view. It was very annoying, so I deleted Categories until they release an update. I'll be a very happy man when Pro Switcher is updated for iPad.

    I've found that spreadsheet you link to be outdated or inaccurate already. The forums are the best place to find answers about a compatibility question.

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