It was bad enough when iPad owners had to wait for app updates just to get rid of the letterboxed view, but with the release of iPhone 5 and the latest iPod touch, the issue now affects a much larger number of people. It’s such a shame that many iOS apps do not take advantage of the full four inches available on the screen of the latest iPhone and iPod touch. Admittedly, most of the popular apps are now optimized for all screen resolutions, but if some of the lesser known ones are on your iPhone, things might get a bit annoying. If you have ever owned a jailbroken iPad, you might be familiar with at least one solution for the letterboxing problem. The Cydia tweak FullForce allows users to run any app in full screen on the iPad, even if it is only optimized for the iPhone. With iOS 6 finally getting jailbroken this week, there are already similar solutions available for iPhone 5 and iPod touch 5G. Let’s take a look at a couple of them.
FullForce For iPhone
Released by Ryan Petrich (the developer behind FullForce for iPad), this tweak lets you run a lot of legacy apps in full screen mode on any iDevice with a 4-inch screen. No configuration is required, and you can associate apps with FullForce for iPhone on the fly. There is a menu in the Settings app that lets you manually change permissions, but the better way of handling things is to simply launch a non-optimized app and hit the ‘Apply’ button when the tweak asks for your permission to use ‘tall mode’. The end results are pretty good, and you usually wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between an officially optimized app and one using FullForce. Having said that, the tweak does not work with all apps, with games being specially troublesome. The developer has mentioned this issue in the tweak’s official description as well, and has promised to keep expanding the compatibility list.
FullForce can be downloaded for $0.99 from the BigBoss repo of Cydia store.
On the surface, Screen Extender might not look much different from FullForce for iPhone, but this tweak is a bit harder to use. Unlike FullForce, Screen Extender has to be configured manually. You are required to pick legacy apps from a lengthy list containing stock apps, third-party apps and even some hidden system applications. After every change in settings, you have to respring the device manually. Even then, some of the apps continue showing up with dark bands at the top of the screen. Another complaint about Screen Extender is that in some apps, the extended area becomes unresponsive. All of these shortcomings do come with a positive side though – Screen Extender is available as a free download, while FullForce is a paid tweak. You can grab Screen Extender from the BigBoss repo of the Cydia store.
It’s hard to compete against a developer of Ryan Petrich’s calibre, but it can’t hurt to give Screen Extender a test run before spending money on FullForce.