Filippo Bigarella on Making Tweaks

Filippo Bigarella

Filippo Bigarella, coming all the way from Italy, got his first iPhone, the iPhone 3GS with the old bootrom, and first jailbroke his device back in November of 2009. His first tweak simply placed an “ask for confirmation before sending email” within the, but the first tweak he released into Cydia Store was FreeSync, which allowed a person to use their phone while it synced to iTunes. Filippo also joined TweakWeek in June of 2011, and did indeed make one tweak a day for seven days. Later in 2011, he created Springtomize, a widely popular app for iOS which intuitively allows you to customize your device. 

What’s a tweak, exactly?

Filippo defines a tweak as a modification that “extends and modifies the iOS environment”, which is different than an app you might tap to open on SpringBoard. MobileSubstrate would be a good example of this.

How do you start developing a tweak?

To develop a tweak, you have to dig around in the iOS frameworks to see which ones you might need to hook your tweak onto. You should also analyze the tweak in question, and ensure that it doesn’t conflict with other tweaks that you have installed, and that it doesn’t break the thing in question that you are modifying. Once you’ve brainstormed your tweak, Filippo recommends you use Theos and Logos, which are development tools that do things such as automatically initialize variables. Lastly, you should of course test the tweak and iron out any bugs or crashing issues it might have.

How he started

If you’ve been wanting to develop a specific tweak for your iOS device and didn’t know how to start, he gives some advice. Learn some Objective-C and familiarize yourself with the language before you carry on. When you don’t know something, don’t give up: keep trying, and be curious. Getting involved with the community and asking for help is also a great way to get yourself started, or even dig yourself out of a hole you might be stuck in. Also, don’t be afraid to fail: just try to create some tweaks even if they don’t fundamentally do anything. Lastly, Filippo says that you should “never be done” with your work, because there’s always new things to be done, and more options to be explored.

Recent tweaks

Filipo has been working on LivelyIcons, which animated SpringBoard icons when they are launched. He makes a point that these tweaks aren’t always about the tweak itself, but it gives a sense of discovery, and it helps others to discover along with you.

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