I enjoy the look and feel of Apple’s operating system. That should be obvious – frankly, if I valued customization and hackability over stability and app selection, I would be using an Android phone instead of an iPhone. I don’t want a theme for every day of the week. I don’t want to be able to check my email from my lockscreen. I want my iPhone, only better in a few essential (to me) ways.
With that in mind, jailbreaking has always been a mixed blessing. I absolutely love some of the tweaks and apps that the Cydia store holds, but some of those tweaks and apps come with the potential downside of hurting performance, battery life, and stability.
After a day of testing, I feel as if I have found the three jailbreak tweaks that I will use on a daily basis. All focus more on improving my personal workflow – they eliminate a few crucial points of pain and friction in iOS.
While it does make closing applications and multitasking far easier, my biggest reason for keeping this installed is that it almost eliminates the need to use the home button. Pushing the physical home button acts a point of friction in my use of the iPhone: you have to stop whatever you are doing on screen, and then move your finger to the bottom of the device, tap the button, and then return to whatever you are doing.
Activator, a tweak by Ryan Petrich, can accomplish similar operations, though I find Zephyr to be slightly more polished. Activator is free, however, so that will likely make a large difference for many.
Second is a tweak I’ve previously written about: Auxo. I’ve found it to easily live up to the considerable hype that was pressed upon it. Again, this tweak removes a large point of friction in my use of iOS: gone are the days of holding down an app icon in the task switcher, waiting for the red “X” to pop up, and then trying to tap the red “X” in order to close the app. Simply swipe away.
There’s more good news: I can confirm that Auxo and Zephyr work flawlessly together. With these two tweaks combined, iOS feels far more fluid than it ever has before – frankly, I feel like Apple could simply buy both of these, put them in iOS 7, and not have to make any other changes. In many ways, that would be enough to catch up to Android.
The final tweak is certainly more obscure, but no less essential. F.lux is an ingenious multi-platform program that changes the temperature of a screen as the sun sets. Blue light has been proven to be far more harsh on human eyes than any other color due to its wavelength. Harsh light isn’t really something that you want right before bed – it stimulates your brain and keeps you up longer (literally), as well as putting more strain on your eyes.
F.lux simply changes the temperature of your screen over the course of one hour after sunset to more closely match the optimal lighting at night. Since this change is made over the period of an hour, the human brain is unable to notice it.
All are available on Cydia.
- Zephyr is $4.99
- Auxo is $1.99
- F.lux is free
What are your favorite tweaks that improve the functionality of iOS, as opposed to changing the look or feel?