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Top 8 Handy iOS Tweaks That Don't Require Jailbreaking

Jailbreaking your iPhone has a lot of benefits that give you actual control over your device — but it isn’t always possible. If you’re tired of waiting for the next version of iOS to be jailbroken, check out these tweaks and customisations you can make whether you’re jailbroken or not.

Photo remixed from albund (Shutterstock).

8. Customise Ringtones And Notification Sounds, App-By-App

You probably already know that you can turn any song into a ringtone on your iPhone, and that you can assign different tones to different stock apps. However, with a little work, you can actually assign those tones to any app you want, not just the ones that come with your phone. Just download a good iPhone explorer, copy your tones to the right folders and enjoy.

7. Integrate Non-Stock Apps

iOS won’t let you change the default app for, say, getting driving directions, but you can sometimes tweak a few things to get quicker access to those third-party apps that replace Apple’s boring stock ones. For example, you can use a URL trick to link Siri with Google Maps, or an SMS trick to link Siri with Astrid. Similarly, while it won’t help you “replace” your stock apps, Launch centre Pro makes accessing certain actions — like sending an email with Sparrow or taking a photo with Instagram — just a simple tap away. Lots of apps are even including support for things like Chrome these days, and you can even open links in Chrome with a Safari bookmarklet, so while you can’t truly change your defaults, you can get some better integration from those non-stock apps.

6. See The Actual Signal Strength In Your Menu Bar

The signal “bars” in iOS aren’t exactly the pinnacle of accuracy, so if you want a better gauge of how good your service is, there’s actually a hidden trick to show it in actual decibels (dBm). All it takes is a little fancy dialling and you’ll have a much more accurate reading.

5. Hide Apps From Your Home Screen

Now that you’ve replaced Apple’s boring stock apps with better ones and integrated them into the OS, what are you going to do with all those extra icons? In fact, you can hide them with a simple little trick, never to be seen again. The Newsstand is a bit trickier, but luckily you can hide that too, giving you a cleaner, more organised home screen.

4. Back Up Everything

iTunes backs up your settings every time you sync your iPhone, but it doesn’t actually back up the data on your device (like music, apps, and videos) and it only keeps the latest backup around. If you want a more complete, versioned backup solution, you don’t need to jailbreak — you just need a simple app called Phone Disk and a bit of command line-fu to copy everything back to your computer, so you never lose that data again.

3. Enable Multitasking Gestures And Display Mirroring On The iPad 1

Got a first-gen iPad and don’t want to update just for a few measly features Apple removed? You can actually enable both multitasking gestures and display mirroring on an iPad 1 without jailbreaking (okay, we’re fudging this a bit — it requires a little jailbreaking, but it isn’t permanent and it’ll work on any version of iOS). It’s a little tricky, but its well worth it if you want those extra features.

2. Create Contact-Specific Vibrations

Giving each contact their own ringtone can be really useful, but you might not know that you can also give each of your contacts a specific vibration pattern — so even if you’re on silent, you know who’s calling before you even take your phone out of your pocket. The setting is hidden under Accessibility, and you can actually tap out your own cadences to create loads of different patterns for each of your contacts, so you never need to wonder who’s calling again.

1. Customise Your Home Screen

Jailbreakers have all sorts of choices when it comes to customisation, but non-jailbreakers can still jazz up their home screens a little bit. A simple wallpaper can go a long way, especially if it’s designed to feel like part of the interface. You can also change your iPhone’s app icons without jailbreaking, and while it would take forever to get a full-blown icon theme out of it, you can at least tweak some of the icons you don’t like. Check out our guide to customising your iPhone inside and out for more ideas.