A lot of Cydia tweaks let users skip the hassle of opening the contacts app, searching for a person and then making a call. You might be able pin contacts on your iPhone’s SpringBoard for easier access, or even making calls using simple gestures. Unfortunately, all these goodies are usually reserved for jailbreak users only. Having said that, there are always alternative ways for iOS users who like keeping their devices Cydia-free. You might not have considered it possible, but there is a rather simple method for pinning a contact to any iPhone’s Home screen for making calls with a single tap. You can also use the same procedure to create a shortcut for sending texts to a particular person directly, without having to find their thread or start a new one manually in the Messages app.
To pin a contact to your SpringBoard, you will need the iPhone Configuration Utility. It is a tool from Apple that lets you configure various profiles for iOS. You can download the Mac OS X version or Windows version of the utility for free directly from Apple.
The steps outlined below work with all iOS devices, regardless of their OS version or jailbreak status.
- Disconnect all iDevices from your computer.
- Install the iPhone Configuration Utility by running the downloaded installer file.
- Run the utility and click the ‘Configuration Profiles’ button from the sidebar.
- Hit the ‘New’ icon located in the top-left corner of the tool. This creates a profile that has to be edited by the user.
- Enter the ‘General’ tab and give the profile any name you want. In the identifier field, put the following value:
- In the option list of the profile, you will find an entry labeled ‘Web Clips’. Click this entry, and then hit the ‘Configure’ button shown in the screenshot above.
- On the next screen, fill the fields in the following manner.
Label: The name of the contact
URL: tel://xxxxxx (replace xxxxxx with the number of the contact)
- If you don’t want the contact to appear as a blank icon on the screen, choose an .ICO file from your computer to use as its Icon.
- Check the ‘Full Screen’ option, and leave everything else untouched.
- The profile is complete, and it is time to deploy it your iPhone. Connect the device with the computer and wait for the ICU tool to pick it up.
- Once the phone shows up in the options pane, click it. By default, the device’s summary is shown. You have to navigate to the ‘Configuration Profiles’ tab on the phone’s page.
- The profile you just created should be visible in the list, with an ‘Install’ button next to it. Click this button.
- Now take a look at your iPhone. The profile must be on the screen, waiting for you to install it. Go ahead and tap the Install button.
- Once installed, the shortcut you just created will become visible on the SpringBoard. Just tap the icon, and you will be prompted for a confirmation. Hit the ‘Call’ button and the number will be dialed directly
Using the above method for sending a text message to a particular person is fairly simple as well. Just replace ‘tel://’ with ‘sms://’ in step 7. Once a profile has been created, it can be deployed to as many iDevices as you want. You can create as many profiles as you want for calling and messaging different contacts.