3 Enhancements worth Jailbreaking your iPhone for

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

    teehanlax

    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?

Discuss - 15 Comments

  1. Brian says:

    I just found the new lock screen project last week. I think i’m more excited for that than for the 3gs. It’s every thing that the lock screen should be.

    @hysbrian

    • Petraeus Prime says:

      Review Roqy Bluetooth GPS + TomTom, well worth jailbreaking the touch for this gold nugget.

  2. […] Original post:  3 Enhancements worth Jailbreaking your iPhone – Derek Punsalan … […]

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  4. KG says:

    I’ve found Orbit (iPhone version of Expose’) useful when navigating multiple pages

    • Derek says:

      I tried Orbit for awhile. The Expose concept great but I didn’t find it as useful as I thought it would be – only because the application icons were so small. SpringSorter was interesting. I liked the idea of moving my most used apps automatically to the front of the line. Surprisingly, after a week of use, I realized that the constant reshuffling of apps between pages only caused confusion.

  5. Brett says:

    After reading your article I jalbroke my 2G iPhone for the first time in almost a year! I am so happy to back with Jailbroken apps that run in the background as well as officially sactioned apps!

  6. Andrew says:

    Can you post possibly what themes if any you use? Maybe a detailed break down of what you personally use on the iPhone (Apps, Themes, Plug-Ins, Cydia Downloads.. Etc)

    • Derek says:

      I used to run the Deep theme by ~ToffeeNut. It’s one of the more complete themes out that doesn’t hurt your eyes. The only reason I stopped running it is because in order for the theme to look good, the app icons on your Springboard need to match. I got tired of looking for icon replacements so I went back to the default theme. Regarding the other apps I run, here’s a list:

      • Action Menu + Action Menu Plus
      • Deep (theme) + Deep (HUD)
      • GV Mobile
      • Maps Enhancer
      • Mobile Terminal
      • Notifier
      • PkgBackup
      • Privacy
      • Push Notifications SBSettings
      • SBSettings
      • SpotSMS
      • Universal Search
      • WeatherIcon
      • Winterboard
      • 3G Unrestrictor
  7. Robert Ocean says:

    Slacker Radio is definitely a must have but I can’t remember if that Application is available from iTunes or not. Some other applications I have enjoyed are:

    1. Aim
    2. Mint
    3. Fandango
    4. The Sims 3
    5. Remote
    6. E-Trade

  8. The headache of having to restore at in opportune times, at this stage in life has completely outweighed the reasons for jail breaking. It is a shame that Apple can’t just fix a few of the issues so that there would be no reason to do so..

    • JJ says:

      I’m not sure what you mean, but the latest jailbreak needs no restore and takes only a minute, so all you settings, apps and messages are kept as they are, only visible change being the Cydia icon appearing.

  9. KG says:

    Themes Classica and Carol have a similar look to the Default theme…just slightly different. Most icons should blend well with either of these themes, saves users the trouble of finding matching icons.

  10. KG says:

    I made the switch to Overboard yesterday and have been using it ever since. It loads pages faster and the thumbnails are bigger. Overboard is set to the Home button by default, users can also make changes in the settings page if they don’t like using their Home button. 2 thumbs up!