Update: iPhone 4 Jailbreak Info!
I recently rediscovered my old post about the Top 10 Essential Cydia Apps and thought it might be time for an update after my most recent jailbreak, as I’ve found some exceptionally cool apps since that time that are definitely worth highlighting. BTW, if you haven’t jailbroken your iPhone yet, and you’re still running OS 3.1.2 or lower, check out the blackra1n application at blackra1n.com. Way easier and quicker than the old methods of jailbreaking and you don’t have to reformat/restore your firmware to use it. I’ll post a quick tutorial after this post has been published, but even without instructions, it’s pretty dead simple – there’s only one button in the app. Just remember to shut down iTunes before you try it, otherwise your USB connection will get hijacked by it. (If you’re running OS 3.1.3 and you don’t have an iPhone 3G-S or iPod Touch 3G, this guide might be able to help you out: http://modmyi.com/guides/?p=3041)
My Top 10 Cydia Apps for 2010
- Grooveshark With a $3/month VIP subscription to Grooveshark, you can access your entire Grooveshark library from your iPhone and, oh yeah, listen to any song you can think of, immediately. I can’t even begin to explain how awesome this is; if you don’t yet have a Grooveshark account, get one now (free on your desktop, just costs $3/mo for the iPhone access & VIP account) at Grooveshark.com. You can thank me later. 😉
- SBSettings This is the reason I waited until 3.0 (and 3.1, and 3.1.2) were jailbroken before I upgraded. And honestly, I’d jailbreak my phone for this application alone, even if there were no other jailbreak apps available. It’s really that useful. I think this post explains it all: http://theappleblog.com/2009/06/22/sbsettings-why-i-still-jailbreak-with-3-0/
- iRealSMS This is the SMS client that Apple should have included in the iPhone from the beginning. Instead of having to close your current app to reply to a text message, you can reply directly from the message popup. You can also send a new SMS without leaving your app by pressing a hotkey (default is the volume up button, but you can customize this), and you can save a draft to your Notes application, which makes this super handy for jotting down quick notes, or even tweeting a command to your favorite task management application (I can add tasks to Remember the Milk over SMS via Twitter by prefixing “d rtm” to the task I want to add.)
- Backgrounder + Kirikae You know how Apple doesn’t let you run multiple apps at once in the stock iPhone OS? (Well, at least before iPhone OS 4.0 comes out…) These two apps let you do just that. Backgrounder is the app/extension that enables application backgrounding, so that you can choose whether or not an application quits when you return to the SpringBoard (press the home button). Kirikae allows you to quickly switch between running apps or launch new ones.
- Orbit Flipping through more than a couple pages of apps on your SpringBoard is a huge pain in the ass. Orbit is one of those apps that definitely should have been included in the stock OS – it allows you to view all the SpringBoard pages in an Expose-like fashion, and navigate directly to any page you like.
- Notifier (aka Reminder) Pretty simple app/extension, but very useful – you can set it to display all sorts of notifications in your status bar, like missed calls, voicemail, new e-mail, and unread SMS. Very nice to have.
- Insomnia You may have already noticed that your iPhone’s WiFi connection is dropped when the device goes to sleep, which is especially frustrating if you’re connected to an SSH session. Insomnia allows you to keep the WiFi connection active when the phone is sleeping or locked.
- Five Icon Dock Pretty self-explanatory; lets you hold five apps in your dock instead of the default four. (And I’m guessing that this might be a built-in feature by the time iPhone OS 4.0 drops, after seeing the iPad’s six-icon dock capability.)
- LockInfo (or Element – just released!) For those of you coming from the Windows Mobile world, you probably miss the “Today” screen that lists your calls, appointments and messages. Luckily, thanks to LockInfo or Element, you can have these back, on your lock screen or SpringBoard. I’ve been using LockInfo for months myself and can’t imagine my iPhone without it anymore. On the other hand, there’s been a lot of buzz about Element for quite some time now, and it’s just been released in the Cydia store. (BTW, LockInfo is a paid application and Element is currently free.)
- Winterboard (or Desktop/SMS Background) I’m still a little torn in regard to Winterboard. On the one hand, the abilities you get from it are incredible – SpringBoard background wallpaper, custom themes, widgets, keyboard mods, and more. On the other hand, it feels like it drags my 3G down to a snail’s pace, especially with the SpringBoard background enabled. For those of you with a 3G-S or iPod Touch 3G, however, I doubt you’ll notice the speed hit. In my case, I’ve chosen to use the Desktop/SMS Background application instead. You don’t get the custom icon themes or other extensions that you would get with Winterboard, but if all you want is a desktop background, it’s a lot faster (IMO).