For everyone who has used SBSettings and other similar jailbreak tweaks, it is usually difficult to imagine having a convenient life on iOS without access to the famous Cydia store. Non-jailbroken iPhone and iPod touch devices do have weather and stocks widgets in Notification Center, but these just whet the appetite of iOS users, giving a glimpse of the full potential NC has to offer. On the other hand, jailbreaking your iPhone is sure to decrease the stability of your device, while also voiding its warranty. Won’t it be nice if there was some way of getting the best of both worlds and having widgets without jailbreaking? Well, Speed U is an app that offers the closest alternatives to NC widgets for all iDevices, whether they are jailbroken or not! Thanks to Speed U, it is possible to pin shortcuts for calling or texting anyone, launching an app, turning on your device’s camera LED so that it can be used a flash light and much more.
The “widgets” offered by Speed U are actually just persistent notifications that stay in your Notification Center until you manually dismiss them, thus making them almost as good as widgets. To set everything up, launch the Speed U app, and read the instructions that come up. The app’s controls are mostly gesture-based, and that makes setting everything up a breeze. To get started, swipe downwards from the top of the screen to enter the New Speed menu. The options listed in there are as follows.
- App Action: From this section of Speed U, you can create a shortcut for any app installed on your iPhone. However, stock apps are not supported by Speed U.
- Speed Dial: Just select a contact, and Speed U will create a shortcut for calling them with a single tap.
- Text Message: Similar to speed dial, but for sending texts.
- Launch Website: Lets you define a website’s URL along with a custom title, so that you can visit the page any time you want.
- Speed Email: Opens the Mail app with the chosen contact set as recipient.
- Flash Light: Through this option you can use the camera LED as a flashlight.
- Brightness Settings: A simple slider to adjust screen brightness.
- QR Code Scanner: Launches Speed U’s own QR scanner.
Although you can choose as many shortcuts and widgets as you want, only a maximum of 5 can show up in the Notification Center. To set the limit of NC widgets, go to the Setting menu within the app, and select the Notification Center Count. If you chose more than 5 widgets, it is possible to manually select the ones you want to see in the NC. Just enter Edit Mode by swiping upwards from the bottom of the screen, and drag your 5 favorite shortcuts to top positions. Now you will see the chosen shortcuts in the Notification Center. As already discussed, Speed U pushes the widgets as notifications, so it is better if you turn off the banner alerts for the app by going to the Speed U section of Notifications menu in the stock Settings app, otherwise things can get a bit annoying.
Speed U has gone free for a very limited time, and you should give it a try if you don’t have a jailbroken device and want a convenient way of accessing lots of things in your iDevice. Take care to keep the app’s notifications in the Notification Center, and as long as you do that, you will have these really useful widgets at your disposal.