3 Enhancements worth Jailbreaking your iPhone for

  • November 10th, 2009

Every four months or so, I get the urge to do one of two things:

  1. If the iPhone is running an official OS build from Apple, I jailbreak it citing reasons of (a) flexibility, (b) customization, and (c) access to enhancements Apple either blocks from the App Store or blocks developers from offering users.
  2. If the iPhone is running an unofficial build (jailbroken), I restore it citing reasons of (a) poor battery life, (b) application incompatibility, (c) instability, or (d) having to wait for the green light to upgrade safely.

Three weeks ago I restarted the cycle, downloaded a copy of PwnageTool, and 15 minutes later found some real gems inside Cydia (the App Store for jailbroken iPhones). For those who have returned to the non-jailbroken side since the early iPhone OS releases, Cydia has matured considerably now offering free and paid for apps which I believe has lead to quality releases. Great developers should be rewarded right?

It didn’t take long for me to find some really useful iPhone OS add-ons. Enhancements which I know I would miss when I return to an official iPhone OS build.

01. Move over Apple copy ‘n paste for Action Menu Plus

Action Menu Plus PackExpanding on the copy ‘n paste functionality baked into iPhone OS, Action Menu Plus Pack ($2.99 in Cydia) by Ryan Petrich offers a handful of new actions to the popup tooltip menu. Highlighted features include:

  • History: Action Menu maintains a history of items copied to your clipboard.
  • Lookup: Highlight a word or phrase in an email, note, or web page and lookup definitions, similar words, Wikipedia entry, or translations.
  • Tweet: Copies selected text for Tweeting in your native Twitter client – Tweetie, Tweedeck, and more supported.
  • Favorites: Maintain a custom list of frequently pasted clips accessible from any application. Customized inside the Settings.app.

Although having access to clipboard history is incredibly useful, the best feature is the ability to create and maintain a list of clipboard Favorites – great for saving frequently used signatures or other longer chunks of text.

02. SpotSMS, Spotlight extension for SMS / MMS

spotsmsThe iPhone Spotlight search offers quick access to applications, emails, calendar events, contacts, media, and notes. Thanks to SpotSMS (free in Cydia), you can add text messages to the list of indexed items. You can tweak SpotSMS settings to search both sent and / or received messages, specify after which character to begin searching, and the ordering of search results.

This Spotlight extension adds much needed functionality – especially for those who send and receive hundreds, if not thousands of messages in a single month.

03. QuickReply to messages without leaving your current screen

I’ve tried a few applications which promised quick replies to text messages but none performed reliability like QuickReply for SMS ($2.99 in Cydia) by Gaurav Khanna. No matter what application you’re running, QuickReply offers four options inside of the new message notification:

  1. Close: Standard behavior which closes the message notification.
  2. View: Standard behavior which opens the messaging app.
  3. Call: Optional action to replace the View button. Upon receiving a new message, you now have the option to immediately dial the number associated with the message.
  4. Reply: Overlays the screen (or the application you are currently using) with a messaging dialog + keyboard. Compose your reply, press send, and resume without ever leaving your current app or opening the messaging application.
  5. Stable and incredibly useful. QuickReply settings also offers the option to double tap message notifications on the lock screen for replies without unlocking or opening the messaging app.

    Extra: Teehan+Lax Lock Screen coming soon


    Recently announced lock screen project by Teehan+Lax and Jay Freeman (man behind Cydia App Store). More reason to consider jailbreaking your iPhone.

    Running a Jailbroken handset?

    What are some of your favorite apps or utilities? Have you ever had a bad experience with Jailbreaking software? Did you notice decreased performance or instability after jailbreaking your handset?