When you jailbreak your iDevice you can change just about anything. One of the most notable adjustments comes from an often overlooked extension called Activator, which lets you set the functionality of your buttons and multitouch gestures to do whatever you like. Long-time jailbreaker David Graff thinks it’s a must-have and explains how you can get it set up on your device.
There are a few apps and tweaks that should be automagically installed when one jailbreaks their iDevice. Activator is one of them. Made by Ryan Petrich (@rpetrich), this tweak allows one to change the behaviour of all buttons, and more on their iDevice.
Example: my wife’s first gen iPhone recently had a fall, which broke the sleep button and ringer switch. It was no big deal though; I simply made the event “Home Button – Short Hold” toggle the ringer (via an SBSettings toggle) and a “swipe across the status bar to the left” lock the device. If I had left her iPhone like Steve Jobs wants it, we would have been shopping for a new phone and hawking a now unusable iPhone on the eBayz.
Using Activator is a breeze. Once installed, it resides in your iPhone’s Settings app under a new category called Extensions. If you want to change an event system-wide, tap on Anywhere (pictured to the right). Otherwise, an event can be made to work normally everywhere else, but differently when an app is in focus, or when at the lock screen, or homescreen. The benefit for specifying which scenario the event will work in is so, for example, one could have a long press of the sleep button start playing music when at the lock screen (even if the screen is off) but have it pull up the “Now Playing” controls everywhere else.
But wait, there’s more! Menus, a feature recently added, enables a menu popup over whatever is in focus with a user-defined list of actions. On my iPad, I have the Volume Keys – Both Press set to my Quick Actions menu. When I pull up this menu, I can now quit all apps, lock the device, pull up the multitasking dock, and even toggle aeroplane mode, wifi and more with ease.
What truly makes this tweak great are the add-ons. Several of the most popular tweaks for iOS have adopted Activator as the means to be invoked. Music Controls Pro, iRealSMS, SBSettings, Backgrounder—the list goes on and on. There are even tweaks that are made specifically for Activator. Brightness Activator allows one to change the brightness by setting two different events, one for up the other for down. AppQuit Activator lets one set an event that will terminate the app that is in focus, which comes in handy when you don’t feel like closing the app, opening the multitasking dock, and then terminating it. It also allows one to set an event to kill all running apps, which is nice if you are low on memory for whatever reason. Add-ons for Activator are released quite often, making an already extremely useful tweak even better.
I recommend that anyone that has not already installed it from Cydia do so, it is well worth the price of free. If you like it as much as I do, Ryan accepts donations, so help a brutha out.