heredago's blog

February 5, 2012

Why I “The David” Jailbreak

Filed under: Uncategorized — heredago @ 19:51



A lot of people are curious about iOS jailbreaking. Instead of preaching to all of them individually, I decided to make a post about why I’ve always done it.

To give you some background, I used to think that iPhones sucked- because they did. When the original iPhone was released in 2007, there were no 3rd party applications so you were stuck with the limited selection that it came with. I had no desire to live inside of Apple’s walled garden so I didn’t buy one. It wasn’t until 3rd party apps were allowed (more than a year after its release) that I had any interest in the iPhone.

Now there are over 500,000 applications in the App Store, and I use some of them far more than any of Apple’s included apps. But because of Apple’s (and Steve Jobs’) controlling philosophy, there are still many limits on what you can do to the device. That’s where jailbreaking comes in. When you jailbreak your iPhone or iPad, it allows you to do just about anything to it. You can tweak the operating system, change how things look, install apps that Apple doesn’t approve of, and use it on other carriers.

So that’s the philosophical side of it. To explain what I actually do with my jailbroken phone, I’ll list some of my favorite Cydia (the jailbroken alternative to the App Store) apps.

  • IntelliscreenX:  I love this one. Its main feature is to put the Notification Center on your lockscreen, but it does a lot more than that. It allows you to respond to texts from anywhere without having to open the messages app, put your email, Facebook, Twitter, and RSS feeds in pages of the Notification Center/Lock Screen, and adds toggles for things like Wifi and Bluetooth. Here’s a screenshot of my lockscreen:

  • AdBlocker:  Like the name suggests, it blocks ads. Blocking ads is especially useful on the iPhone because it prevents ads from wasting space on the small screen or slowing things down. It works in Safari and any other apps you specify.
  • Dreamboard:  I personally don’t use this one very much, but it makes it really easy to entirely change the iPhone interface.  Here are some of the possibilities.
  • Firebreak:  This enables a panoramic picture mode that Apple left hidden in iOS5, sometimes the pictures come out looking kinda weird if you have shaky hands- but it’s still pretty cool. Here’s a picture I took with it:

  • Flowtation: Just a minor visual tweak that makes it look like the Notification Center is pushing the stuff on your screen away.  You can see a demonstration here.
  • gpSPhone / SNES A.D.X Plus: Allows you to play Gameboy Advance and SNES games on your iPhone. You can even use a Wii Remote as a controller.
  • Grooveshark: The official app for listening to music on Grooveshark. Apple didn’t allow it on the App Store, so they released it on Cydia.
  • iFile:  Lets you browse, edit, or delete all of the files on your iPhone just like you would on a computer. Apple normally keeps all of that stuff hidden.
  • Infinidock:  This lets you put as many apps as you want in the dock that you can scroll through. You can also adjust how many appear at a time, I chose 5.

  • Infinifolder:  This is another one of my favorites. Apple imposes a limit of 12 apps per folder. If you’re someone like me that has an embarrassing number of apps (over 300), this isn’t enough and you end up with multiple folders for the same thing. With Infinifolder you can put as many apps as you want in the same folder, then scroll through them. This has made my springboard infinitely cleaner.
  • IntelliID: Ever wondered why you can’t see who’s calling if they’re not in your contacts? Me too. This app instantly checks incoming calls against a database and displays their name just like caller ID on landlines.


  • Mail Enhancer: This is a lifesaver if you use multiple email addresses and receive a lot of emails. It lets you setup custom alerts for different inboxes (including saying the name of the sender or subject out loud), color code each email when viewing “All Inboxes”, setup quiet hours for when you don’t want alerts even if it’s not muted, and use custom HTML signatures for each email address.
  • MobileTerminal: If you’re going to make more intense modifications to the system, you’ll inevitably need a command line. MobileTerminal gives you just that.


  • MusicBanners:  This displays a banner with song information at the top of the screen whenever a new song starts playing. So you never have to switch out of an app just to find out what you’re listening to.

  • MyWi:  Makes it so that you can use the 3G connection of your iPhone on your computer or iPad. Normally this requires paying AT&T every month for tethering service, but this app allows you to do it for free through Bluetooth, WiFi, or USB. Very useful if you need to use the internet on your laptop but you’re not near any WiFi hotspots.
  • OpenSSH: Allows you to make a remote FTP or SSH connection to your iPhone to make adjustments to system files or run terminal commands.
  • ProTube:  The iPhone comes with a YouTube app, but it’s pretty scarce. ProTube includes all of the features it leaves out, including the ability to copy video URLs or save the video to your phone.
  • SBSettings: Gives you system toggles for disabling/enabling things like Wifi, 3G, Bluetooth, and other things that can be accessed from anywhere so that you don’t have to go to the Settings app.  IntelliscreenX also integrates similar features.

  • SmoothCoverFlow:  This significantly improves the performance of the iPod cover flow. I don’t know how it works, but it works.

  • Spire: Lets you use Siri on older iPhones, iPods, and iPads. It works by connecting to a Proxy server which forwards commands to Apple with authentication information from a 4s.  Some of the free servers are fairly unreliable, but if you pay for a proxy or have access to 4s auth keys: you can use Siri whenever you want. It also proves that there’s no reason for Apple to restrict Siri to the iPhone 4s other than to convince people to upgrade. It runs perfectly fine on older hardware, the processing happens on Apple servers anyways.

    Spire Siri

  • Springtomize 2:  Provides springboard customization options for everything you could imagine. That’s about all there is to say.
  • WiFiFoFum:  Finds more wireless networks and provides advanced networking options. Also includes a crowd sourced wardriving database.

  • Zephyr:  This one is incredibly simple and incredibly convenient. It allows you to setup customized gestures for switching apps. I use it to swipe from the sides of the screen to switch to the next app, and to swipe up from the bottom to close the current app. It’s perfect if you prefer gestures to mashing the home button all the time.

So this post ended up being rather long, but hopefully I gave you an idea of what’s possible through jailbreaking. If you already have a jailbroken iPhone or iPad, I’d recommend checking out a lot of the apps and tweaks in this list. There’s no way I would own an iPhone without them.

If you want to jailbreak your iPhone or iPad but you don’t know how, check out this guide. It has gotten to be really easy. Feel free to ask me any questions if you need help.



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