Jailbreaking is the process where you bypass the limitation within iOS that Apple has set and it allows you to fully customize your iPhone (or iTouch/iPad). There are a lot of apps available in Cydia, the Appstore equivalent of jailbroken iPhones, that are not found in the Appstore because of the limitations within iOS. However, a lot of them are really useful and with this post we want to share a list of apps and extensions that are must-have for anyone who has jailbroken their iPhone.
In case you don’t know what jailbreaking is and you want jailbreak your iPhone, check out the Lifehacker guide to jailbreaking. Jailbreaking in the US is legal but you will void your warranty if an Apple employee deals with jailbroken iPhone.
With all that said, there is one more thing I want you to know before we cover the apps. All the apps mentioned in this article can be found in Cydia. There are some you have to pay for, but a lot of them are free. To find an app or extension, launch Cydia and then in the Search tab (bottom right) look for your app or extension. It’s that simple.
Now let’s get to the essential Cydia apps!
Almost anyone who has jailbroken their iPhone has this app, but in case you haven’t – now you will. Sbsettings is a great nifty app that you trigger by swiping from left to right in the area where your clock is (in middle of the top of your screen). From there you can adjust many settings like toggling 3G (save battery life), WiFi, Bluetooth, Location services, and more. It’s a lot faster than going to Settings and then turning off a feature. Sbsettings has a lot more features as you can see in the screenshot below. Definitely one of the top apps for jailbroken iPhones.
Springtomize 2 allows you to customize Springboard. In case you don’t know, Springboard is iOS’s name for the (invisible) application that manages the look and feel of your iPhone. It also serves a lot of other functions such as launching settings of apps, positioning of apps on your screen and much more. There are no settings that you can change within iOS for Springboard but if you do want to change some things under the hood you want to install Springtomize 2. This app allows you to customize almost anything within iOS and any hardcore iPhone lover will like this app.
Bitesms is like iOS’s Messages app but on steroids. It has much more features such as scheduled texts (one of our favorite features), text templates, signatures, iMessage support and much more. It will also integrate within a lot of places within iOS, like the notication center, where it allows you to quickly compose text messages. This app is a must-have for anyone who does a lot of texting.
There are restrictions on the tether features of your iPhone (mainly depending on which telecom provider you use) but you can circumvent that with MyWi. While not cheap, it’s the best app out there that allows you to tether your data connection. We especially like it for when travelling (zero-hassle tethering worldwide).
The native YouTube app is lacking a lot of features – especially if you are a YouTube power user. Fortunately, Protube is a great alternative that is packed with features such as being able to watch videos offline, converting (parts of) videos into mp3 and it gets rid of the advertisements. This app makes watching YouTube on your iPhone a lot more fun and efficient. Just be cautious that you might end up wasting a lot of time!
One big feature iOS is currently missing is having the option to have app data show on your lock screen. Right now you mostly just have a wallpaper there and that’s it. With Lockscreen, you can have all sorts of information on your lock screen like missed calls, text messages, new emails, the current weather status and much more.
Whenever you hold your finger on the screen, you get an action menu with a few options such as select all, cut, copy and paste. With the Action Menu extension in Cydia you can have more options in your action menu. My favorite is the clipboard history but you can also dial a number, add text to your favorites lists, Google Map an address and much more.
Since iOS 5 you now have the Camera app on the bottom right corner of your lock screen. This is great for situations where you quickly need to take a picture. Unfortunately, you can’t swap the Camera app for another app that you would like to have at the bottom right of your lock screen. That’s where Anylockapp can help you. Install this extension and then you will be able to pick any app. Here are some ideas for apps to place there:
- Camera+ (better app than the native Camera app)
- Tweetbot (or your other favorite Twitter app)
- Messages (or Bitesms)
- Facebook (you must be a real FB addict if you pick this option!)
How many times a day do you have to type in your email address on your iPhone? Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a shortcut for your email address? Fortunately there is. Install Double At and the next time you need to type in your email address all you have to type is @@ and it will automatically replace it with your email address. This extension will save you a lot of time!
Set as many apps in your dock as you want and make the dock scroll-able. A simple but effective extension.
After you’ve installed Infinidock, if you want to have a cool cover flow effect (like when you are browing in iTunes or in the Music app) you definitely want to install Cascade. It gives your dock a nice style to it.
Omnistat is a great widget for your Notification center that shows you some technical data like your IP address, memory usage, free hard drive space, and so on.
Backing up your iPhone is crucial. Anyone who has jailbroken their iPhone before and upgraded to a new version of iOS knows how much time it costs to install all the Cydia apps again. Not to mention all the data loss that goes with an iOS upgrade. Fortunately, with Pkgbackup you can backup all your Cydia apps and its data so a restore will have your iPhone back in its old state. And it has Dropbox support so you can store your backups in the cloud. It’s pretty damn awesome and it has already saved me a heart attack.
Similar to Pkgbackup, you can make backups of app data with Datadeposit and store it on Dropbox as well.
Pull to Refresh for Mail
A lot of apps have the feature where when you pull down your screen, it will refresh the data, i.e. Facebook. Unfortunately the default Mail app doesn’t have this but it would make the app even better if it did. If you like to have this feature for the Mail app, just install the Pull to refresh for Mail extension.
Would you like to use a couple more gestures on your iPhone? Sure you do! With Zephyr you can switch apps by swiping your finger like you are browsing a book on your iPhone. Instead of pressing the Home button twice to switch apps, with Zephyr you can switch apps much quicker by just a horizontal swipe near the vertical edges of your iPhone.
Another great gesture is swiping upwards from the bottom of your screen to close an app. This gives the same effect as when you press the Home button to close an app. This gesture is really useful because the Home button has a limited lifetime – it becomes less responsive over time but this app will save your Home button.
Whenever someone calls you, iOS immediately interrupts you and shows you who is calling in full screen. This can be really annoying when you’re in the middle of killing a bunch of zombies. With the Callbar app you get those subtle notifications at the top of your screen whenever someone is calling you – just like any app that is sending you a notification. This way you can continue killing zombies while your spouse is calling!
We have covered F.lux before in our essential Mac apps guide and it is also available on your iPhone. Based on your current location, it will figure out when the sundown is and the app will dim your screen based on that. This will help you avoid bright screens in the dark which lessens the eye strain and it will help you you fall asleep faster because of the ambient lighting.
WeeKillBackground for Notification Center
When you notice that your iPhone starts to slow down, the best remedy is to close down a bunch of background apps. Now you can manually do this but if you want do this more efficiently you want to install WeeKillBackground for Notification Center. With just one tap all background apps will be closed down and you will have a fast iPhone again.
Editor’s note: some app developer friends have informed me that because of the way iOS manages apps, “background” apps appearing in the multitasking dock don’t actually slow down iOS. Well, I have no idea if that’s the case (every time I close apps my iPhone/iPad runs somewhat faster and shows as having more free memory), but another practical application would be if you’ve had someone playing games/checking out apps on your iPhone/iPad, and don’t want those apps in your dock.
The best file browser on the iPhone. No need to say more.
Whenever you launch Safari with no tabs open, it will automatically show your screen with a list of bookmarks. This can be quite annoying when you just want to search something or type in an address. With the No Bookmarks extension it will stop Safari from launching your bookmarks upon a blank load.
3G Unrestrictor 5
Certain apps or features will only work when WiFi is enabled. This goes most notably for FaceTime. With the 3G Unrestrictor 5 app it will remove the restriction of WiFi-only features of apps. Be very careful with this if you have a monthly limit on your data plan as it becomes really easy to get over your monthly limit with the WiFi-restriction feature off.
Did we miss any must-have Cydia apps or extensions? Let us know some of your favorite Cydia apps in the comments below!
Photo by htaule93.
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