Mention the word Jailbreak, and you’ll typically receive a very polarizing response from readers. Those in favor of Jailbreaking their iOS devices are generally very supportive. Those who are unfamiliar with the process, or think that the need for Jailbreaking no longer exists, generally could care less or are worried it will void their iPad or iPhone warranty. Of course, there are those in the middle, like myself, who used to Jailbreak their iPhones and iPads, but are no longer interested. Apple has added enough features to iOS to dilute some of the excitement for me. In addition, I’m typically an early adopter and/or beta tester, and as a result, I’m compelled to update to the newest available version of iOS. Regardless of how I feel about Jailbreaking my iOS device, if you’re reading this post, you’re obviously interested in learning when we might see an updated tool.
What is the current state of the iOS Jailbreak community, and does anyone care anymore?
This is one of those questions that I find myself asking with more and more regularity than ever before. I have always been an early adopter of sorts. I enjoy beta versions of software, even if just for the thrill of trying something new. I fully accept that whatever I am “testing” might be a little buggy or unpredictable at times–that’s all part of the process. Along with my love for the early adopter mentality, is my propensity to tinker. However, this desire has tapered off in recent years with the maturity of iOS as a platform.
The first software version of the iPhone has come along way since it was introduced way back in 2007. With the release of the iPad in 2009, iPhone OS officially became iOS, and the iPad was pre-loaded with version 3.2 at launch. It wasn’t until iOS 4.2.1 was released in November of 2010, that all iOS devices were finally running the same software version. The Jailbreak community was originally born from the lack of any App Store to run native apps on the iPhone (iOS 2.0 introduced the App Store). Hackers, programers and users alike wanted to be able to add functionality to their iPhones that Web apps just couldn’t come close to providing.
Over the years, Apple has poached ideas and talent from the Jailbreak community in an attempt to keep iOS current and relevant in the quickly changing and evolving world of mobile computing. This approach has had a mostly positive affect on iOS as a platform. More importantly, though, it has also in many ways legitimized the continued need for a Jailbreak community. Separate arms of the same team, Jailbreak programmers are free to continue their work to bring new, fresh ideas to the sand-boxed platform that is iOS. Furthermore, Apple can watch from afar, while patching security holes (exploits) the Jailbreak community discovers and implement ideas and tweaks that these same hackers create.
I’ve posted here before about my experience with jailbreaking my iPad mini – how stable it has been, but also how unexciting it was.
I haven’t given up on the jailbreak yet though and I’m constantly looking for more useful tweaks to improve the experience. This morning I read a great post from Jeff Benjamin at iDownloadblog, where he recommends 15 jailbreak tweaks for the iPad. I haven’t tried all of them and not all of them are interesting to me – but I did install two of these today that I really like. They are:
BeeKeyboard: This tweak’s purpose is to enhance your Bluetooth keyboard when working with the iPad – and oh boy does it do a great job. It lets you use keyboard combinations very much like you can on a Mac – to switch between apps, to switch between app icons on home screens, to move back and forth between home screens, to pull down and hide Notification Center, and plenty more.
I’ve always found working with Bluetooth keyboards a little awkward because of the need to switch between using the keyboard and tapping the screen for a lot of the actions mentioned above. BeeKeyboard gets rid of that problem and makes using a BT keyboard far more effective.
A few people have recommended NCSettings to me, following my recent post about being impressed but also a bit bored with the latest jailbreak for iPad.
One of my favorite all-time jailbreak apps is SBSettings, which makes it far easier to toggle some key services (Bluetooth, 3G etc) off and on and improve battery life, during many years of iPhone and iPad jailbreaking.
Well, NCSettings offers similar capabilities in a much more elegant way – as it places itself in Notification Center. Here’s its elevator pitch in the Cydia store:
NCSettings is a sleek Notification Center toggle widget, designed with simplicity and efficiency in mind. It allows quick access to the most frequently used settings.
I just installed it this morning and I’m already a big fan.
Last week I posted about jailbreaking my iPad mini for the first time, with the new Evasi0n jailbreak. The jailbreak itself went smoothly and quickly and my iPad mini has been jailbroken for 9 days now.
This jailbreak has proved to be as stable and solid as just about any I can recall over recent years. I’ve had no major issues over these 9 days, and I’m even finding it hard to think of any minor ones. Perhaps an app or two that has some sporadic issues which might be due to the jailbreak or might be completely unrelated. No crashes, no need for any reboots, nothing like that at all.
So here’s the only real ‘problem’ I have with the jailbreak so far: I’m bored.
I’m sure this is very much one of those ‘It’s not you (jailbreak), it’s me’ situations. As I’ve said – the jailbreak process is easy, my device is stable and working great. And there are plenty of jailbreak apps and tweaks available in the Cydia store. I’m just finding that very, very few of them are interesting to me.
There are quite a few jailbreak app switching apps and tweaks by now – and a few of them are arguably as efficient (or even more so) than the options we currently have in ‘stock’ iOS. Today I spotted a very interesting and promising looking new concept in this area, via a post at the jailbreak.now site. In this concept, the equivalent of the Multitasking Bar is a slim column that splits the current app’s page down the middle. Tap on any of the icons for running apps in it to switch, just as we do in the Multitasking Bar. Swipes left and right in the switching bar brings up services toggles and some of the standard controls from the MT bar.
As someone who has been wishing for years that Apple would bring us an easy, elegant method of service toggling in iOS I give this concept major points right away for the solution it offers in that area. I also think it has a bit of elegance to it if it could be implemented successfully in a way that doesn’t cause issues with the currently open app and so forth.
Right now this is just a concept and it’s just shown on an iPhone. It’s the creation of jailbreak developer s3ntry93, who is the creator of the popular Auxo jailbreak app switching app.
What do you all think of this concept? Would you find this an interesting option for app switching (and more) on your iPad or iPhone?
Accelerate is a jailbreak tweak that promises to make your iPad (or iPhone) faster – and boy does it deliver. When I think of its effect on my iPad mini the first two words that come to mind are Vrooom Vroom. It has speeded up app launch times, page refreshes, returning to the home screen, and other common actions. It has also just provided a notable speed boost to just about everything I’m doing on the iPad – and I don’t even have it set at any of its maxed out speed levels as yet.
Check out the demo and see what you think.
Well, it’s been not far off a year since I last had any of my iPads jailbroken. Until today that is. I succumbed once again to temptation this morning and decided to jailkbreak my iPad mini – largely due to hearing my friend Thomas talk about how much he was enjoying the latest jailbreak on his iPad mini.
I used the new Evasi0n jailbreak and it was a quick and easy process just as it usually is – just a little over 5 minutes for me today, from time of having the Evasi0n app downloaded to the iPad mini ready to go with the Cydia jailbreak app store installed.
Just in case any of you are thinking about jailbreaking your iPad with Evasi0n, here’s a few notes on the process and how it went for me today:
— My starting point was the Evasi0n jailbreak home page – where I downloaded the latest version for Mac (1.3) and found a link for instructions on doing the jailbreak on iOS 6.1 on the iPad and other iDevices.
— This jailbreak is compatible with the following iPads:
* iPad with A6X chip (4th gen)
* iPad 3
* iPad 2
* iPad mini
Here’s a screencast demo of the best iPad jailbreak app I’ve seen yet. It’s called Quasar and it allows proper multitasking, with apps running in separate windows and continuing to run when focus is shifted to another app.
It’s easy to move apps around the iPad screen, rotate their orientation, resize them so they take up less or more space, and switch them in and out of full-screen mode. I’ve run a half dozen apps at a time, including Hulu Plus running movie trailers, a football manager game, Flipboard, Twitter, Mail, Reeder and more – and seen no noticeable slowdown in their performance and also no big effect on battery life.
As the demo shows, this app really lets us see what the new iPad 3 is truly capable of. Check out the video when you have a chance.
Here’s another issue I hit upon after doing the new Absinthe 2.0 jailbreak on my iPad 3 this morning: I could not longer save images to the Camera Roll. Screenshots didn’t show up there, and saved images from Safari didn’t either.
A web search on the issue showed a number of users had this issue after using the original version of Absinthe earlier this year. Many sites (this one for instance) suggested rerunning the Absinthe jailbreak twice over to fix the issue. This might well work to resolve this issue with Absinthe 2.0 as well, but I prefer a quicker method I’ve used in the past when I find I can’t save to the Camera Roll.
** Before using either method it’s a good idea to do a backup of your iPad via iTunes. If you use my method outlined below, it’s also a good idea to do a separate backup of your Camera Roll contents via Image Capture or iPhoto or a similar Windows app – as I’ve found that the method leaves pre-existing images in the Camera Roll all blurry (though new ones will be fine).
I’ve done the new Absinthe 2.0 jailbreak on an iPad 3 this morning. I hit upon a few issues during the jailbreak itself and once it had completed.
My earlier post on the iPad 3 jailbreak with Absinthe 2.0 gives details on how I got past the jailbreak itself failing the first couple times I tried it. One of the first issues I saw once the jailbreak was done was that three of my apps had blank, white icons – the Music, iTunes and Contacts apps. Happily, the fix for this turned out to be a very easy one.
Just opening up Cydia and letting it do the first update / refresh of its own data that it prompted for was enough to get the icons for all three apps back to normal. I know many users had this white icons issue with the original version of Absinthe and I don’t know whether just opening Cydia and letting it update will work for everyone – but it worked for me. Hope it does for any of you who see this issue as well.