With the new jailbreak for iOS 6, it's time to start playing around with all the handy apps and tweaks on your newly-freed device. Here's a look at some of our favourites available in Cydia for iOS 6.
Jailbreaking has changed a lot over the years, and while it's a little less exciting (and arguably less needed) than it used to be, jailbreaking is still a great way to get the apps Apple doesn't want you to have. Jailbreaking is also the best way to quit the Apple ecosystem and tweak your system. You can get rid of the annoying password request from the App Store, or add push notifications to email apps like Sparrow. For many people, eliminating those annoyances is reason enough to jailbreak.
If you're new to jailbreaking, check out our guide to Cydia to learn how to search for and install apps and tweaks.
Customise Your UI
iOS theming isn't nearly as popular as it is on Android (since Apple restricts so many options), but Dreamboard is the app that makes possible. With Dreamboard you can make your iPhone look like Android, or even Mac OS X Lion.
Dreamboard isn't the only skinning app out there. WinterBoard is excellent as well, and seems to use a little less memory than Dreamboard. It's also an excellent tool for changing the look of minor elements such as your lock screen or dock. You'll find plenty of themes available in Cydia. You can also install themes directly with iExplorer or iFunBox by copying themes to the theme directory on your phone.
Want this jailbreak hack? Search Cydia for Dreamboard to download and install it for free.
Customise Your Gestures And Buttons
Activator was one of the first jailbreak apps, and it's still one of the best. Activator allows you to customise button and multitouch functionality on your iOS device. It's also the backbone of a lot of other apps and tweaks, making it a required install for just about everything that features custom gestures.
Want this jailbreak hack? Search Cydia for Activator to download and install it for free.
Tune And Automate Your Settings
SBSettings is another well-established tweak that has been around nearly as long as jailbreaking. It offers a quick way to access all the settings on your device including power, refreshing, respringing and Bluetooth. It also provides data such as your IP address and disk space available directly in Notification Center. Equally useful is SBProfiles, which can make your iPhone much more useful. If SBSettings is a little too detailed for you, NCSettings is a simplified version that adds the same toggles to the Notification Center.
Want these jailbreak hacks? Search Cydia for SBSettings and SBProfiles to download and install them for free.
Speed Up Your Web Browsing
Want this jailbreak hack? Search Cydia for Nitrous to download and install it for $0.99.
Program Your Device
Flex is one of the most interesting new apps we've come across. It makes it possible to create your own minor tweaks for any of your apps — no programming expertise required. You can perform all sort of tasks with it, including getting rid of annoyances such as Chrome's side-swipe tab browser, or adding images to text messages. It's incredibly versatile. While it's easy to get started with Flex, it's not for the faint of heart, and you will probably screw mess a few things up when you're messing around with settings. Thankfully, it's easy to disable any tweaks you make in Flex, and when you uninstall it from Cydia it resets everything.
Want this jailbreak hack? Search Cydia for Flex to download and install it for $3.99.
Trick Out Your App Switcher
Auxo is easily the best app switcher for iOS. Auxo works as iOS multi-tasking usually does: double-tap the home button, and Auxo pops up. However, instead of just showing you an icon, it displays a preview of the app's current state. That in itself is cool, but what makes Auxo really handy is that when you swipe to the right it displays quick toggles for functions including Bluetooth, 3G, lock rotation and even the flashlight. All of this combined makes Auxo a brilliant little app switcher.
Want this jailbreak hack? Search Cydia for Auxo to download and install it for $1.99.
Get Voice Search With Google
If you have an older jailbroken device and you wish you had Siri-style voice control, NowNow is a pretty good replacement that utilises the Google Search app. It's not nearly as integrated as Siri in terms of controlling device functions, but if you mainly use Siri for searching the web, NowNow (and Google Search) is far more useful.
Want this jailbreak hack? Search Cydia for NowNow to download and install it for free.
Supercharge Your Text Messaging
BiteSMS is one of those apps that is so good, people will jailbreak purely to use it. It supercharges your messaging, allowing you to easily reply to incoming texts from anywhere in iOS and mark messages to read later. It operates as a full-blown Messages replacement for your iOS device.
Want this jailbreak hack? Search Cydia for biteSMS to download and install it for free (although some features are paid).
Get Homescreen Widgets
iOS users have been clamouring for live widgets on their homescreens for a long time. Dashboard X brings fully customisable widgets to iOS, and they're are dead simple to install and use. You can add a clock to your homescreen or live weather stats. Once you download Dashboard X, you'll find stacks of different free widgets to fully customise your iOS experience. Widgets will impact your battery life, but if you want live updates on what's happening, Dashboard X is the way to go.
Want this jailbreak hack? Search Cydia for Dashboard X to download and install it for $1.99.
Fix Text Editing
Selecting and moving text on iOS is terrible. SwipeSelection makes the process a lot easier. You can slide one finger on the keyboard to move the cursor around, or hold down the shift key and slide to select a block of text. Check out this video to see it in action. SwipeSelection is most useful on the iPad, but it's still rather handy on the iPhone.
Want this jailbreak hack? Search Cydia for SwipeSelection to download and install it for free.
The Best Minor Tweaks And Extras
Sometimes the best reason to jailbreak is to escape Apple's default apps and make your favourites easier to use. Jailbreaking also makes fixing minor annoyances incredibly simple. With that in mind, here are a few of our favourite smaller tweaks.
- Springtomize: Springtomize is the Swiss army knife of visual customisation. With it you can control how many apps appear on the home screen, change the appearance of icons and alter the look of Notification Center.
- MapsOpener: Prefer Google Maps for directions? MapsOpener opens the map links you come across in text messages and online directly in Google Maps.
- Password Pilot: The fact that Apple requires your password every time you download an app is incredibly annoying. Password Pilot enters it for you automatically.
- Sparrow+: Even though it's not likely that Sparrow will get updated again, we still love it as a fantastic mail client on iOS. One of the few complaints against it is the lack of push notifications. Sparrow+ adds push notifications, and makes Sparrow your default mail app when you open mail links in other apps.
- Plugication: Plugication is simple: when you connect your headphones to your iOS device, it automatically resumes your music. It's simple, but incredibly useful.
- Intelliscreen: Intelliscreen has long been the best way to supercharge your lock screen with information. It's $10, but it offers a lot of features for that price.
- F.lux: F.lux is one of our favourite mobile apps, iOS or otherwise. It does one simple thing well: reduces eyestrain by turning the screen an orange colour as the day progresses.
- CleverPin: CleverPin makes it possible to customise when your iPhone's passcode appears. On your home Wi-Fi network? No need for a password. On 3G? It requires a password.
- Zephyr: Zephyr adds multitasking gestures to your device, allowing you to quickly switch between apps. Check out this video for a breakdown on how it works.
- AnyLockApp: The camera grabber on your lock screen is potentially handy, but if you don't use the default camera app it's fairly useless. AnyLockApp lets you select any app you want to appear there (such as our favorite Camera+). It's currently not working on iOS 6, but we'd be surprised if it doesn't receive an update soon.
- Emblem: Let's face it, notifications on the iPad are poorly designed because they're just up-sized versions of what you get on the iPhone. Emblem makes them more like the banners you see on Mac OS X, and they look fantastic on the bigger iPad screen.
Search for any of the above names in Cydia to find and download them.
We couldn't cover every single jailbreak app and tweak we love, and last years iOS 5 roundup has plenty more options for awesome jailbreak apps.