There's a fine balance to be struck between functionality and simplicity for modern smartphone lock screens. Add too many features to the lock screen, and it starts looking like the actual home screen. Taking away too many will make it too simple; an unnecessary step before getting to the home screen. Unlike with Android, iOS users don't get to tweak said balance, for they are expected to be satisfied by Apple's solution of the smartphone lock screen. That is, of course, unless they jailbreak their device, opening it up to a world of powerful apps and tweaks.
One such new jailbreak tweak for boosting lock screen functionality is PassDial. It allows you to set certain codes - other than the 'passcode' that unlocks your device - entering which calls a certain, predefined number directly from the lock screen. The tweak is brilliant when you think of it! It has a certain Samsung TouchWiz-like feel to it, which isn't bad at all. Read More
Tweaks like HideMe7
are great since they deal with multiple aspects of iOS, but there is always room for specialized packages in the jailbreak store. While HideMe7 has some pretty decent options to customize the iOS 7 status bar, you cannot call its feature list exhaustive by any means. For example, if you want to hide the status bar altogether, HideMe7 cannot help you there. With a tweak like StatusBarSuite
though, you can do exactly that and more. This new release lets you change the visibility status of all iOS 7 status bar elements, dealing with both the temporary and permanent ones. Users get to hide battery and WiFi icons, the time display, and just about every other thing that appears in the status bar.
With the announcement of iOS 7, Apple had users quite excited about its new dynamic wallpapers addition. With each beta release, we kept hoping that the next one (or at least the final release) would bring more live wallpapers or a way to download more. The latter didn't seem like a safe bet, considering the restricted nature of the platform, but we were quite surprised and disappointed to see no addition to the quantity of default dynamic wallpapers. Once iOS 7 was jailbroken, though, the Cydia community was quick to deliver multiple solutions to this problem. Just a couple of days ago, we covered Weatherboard, which offers a vast collection of weather-themed dynamic wallpapers
. Before that, iDynamic brought a few more options to the iOS 7 dynamic wallpaper list
might not come with a lot of variety, but this latest addition to the genre offers some really thorough customization options. It doesn’t let you create animated wallpapers from scratch, but the editing options are so comprehensive that you might get the same feeling. Read More
While Cydia tweaks like ClassicSwitcher
allow users to bring back the old app switcher to iOS 7, the newer version of this feature has already garnered quite an adoring fan-base. The cards offered in the new app switcher look nicer, and of course, provide previews of all opened apps. FullscreenPreviews
is a new tweak that expands on this idea, and stretches the app switcher cards to cover the whole screen. This might not make sense at first, but you just have to use the tweak once to understand the thought that went into its making.
Just a few days ago, we covered iDynamic
, a Cydia tweak that adds to the iOS 7 dynamic wallpaper collection. Weatherboard
is somewhat similar to that release, but it adheres to a single theme: weather. Tweaks like WeatherIcon
have already given users a taste of the beauty weather-related animations can add to iOS. With Weatherboard, the animations aren’t just limited to an app icon though, as it offers the animated backgrounds from the stock Weather app as dynamic wallpapers for your home and lock screen. Weatherboard doesn’t automatically set the wallpaper according to the current weather (a feature for future releases, maybe), so you can select any from over 80 available animated backgrounds, where each is available in two flavors; one for the day and one for night.
The Kids Zone feature in Windows Phone 8
has certainly shown that there is room in the market for mobile platforms that offer multiple user accounts, just like desktop devices. On many occasions, it might feels rude to refuse giving someone your smartphone, but it seems even more rude to constantly try and see what they are doing with it. The only way of putting your mind at ease in such situations would be through the creation of a guest account of sorts on your device. For iOS, we have previously covered a tweak by the name of iPrivacy
, which lets you limit access to the apps installed on your iPhone. GuestMode
is a new tweak for iOS 7 that is based on the same principle, but is much more intuitive in usage. You won’t be confused by a myriad of configuration options while trying to set it up, and the whole thing is ready to spring into action right after you choose the apps and features that you deem safe for the viewing of strangers.
Generally speaking, there is an inverse relationship between security and convenience. In most cases, higher security comes at the cost of convenience. Two-factor authentication on services like Gmail, Twitter, and Facebook requires you to enter two codes to get access to your own account - higher security at the cost of decreased convenience. Lock screen passcodes on smartphones can range from simple 4-digit codes to long alphanumeric passwords; in any case, you're adding an extra step to accessing your own device. A better balance between the two aforementioned properties, but still far from perfect.
iOS comes with two useful settings to reduce the time or steps required to get to the home screen: 'Auto-Lock', and 'Require Passcode'. Apple has included 4-5 predefined options for these in Settings > General, but if you want to have full control over them, you're out of luck... unless you have jailbroken your iOS device. 'insanj' has come up with two tweaks - LongerAutoLock
- which allow you to set a custom time for Auto Lock and Require Passcode options, respectively. Read More
Months after its acquisition by StumbleUpon, the video recommendation engine 5by
finally made its way to iOS and Android around the end of January. StumbleUpon acquired the start-up back in September 2013 with the aim to provide users with custom-tailored videos that can reflect their moods, ambiance and situation. The concept remains similar to StumbleUpon’s current offering: it dishes out videos from different sources that specifically target the selected situation or mood. In other words, 5by is the video equivalent of StumbleUpon. Read on after the jump to find out how it works.
Originality certainly has its merits, but if an idea is already good enough, you merely have to tinker with it to get perfection. The previously covered JellyLock tweak
garnered a lot of praise and popularity when it was first released last year, for both its features and looks. A year on, almost everything about the looks of iOS has changed, and so it makes sense for JellyLock to have an updated version to match the new flat UI as well. JellyLock7
is quite similar to its predecessor if you only consider basic traits, but there are some finer points that make the new tweak a huge improvement over JellyLock. You can now see icon badges on the shortcut ring, there are more customization options, and of course, everything looks more in tune with the flat iOS 7 UI.
Casual, low-resolution scanners have been pushed out of the mainstream by smartphone cameras in recent years. Since your handheld devices are more readily available as well as easier to handle, it makes perfect sense to use them for as many activities as possible. While the superior quality offered by scanners is something that prevents users from relying too much on other cameras for converting physical data to digital form, the lack of a proper scanning mechanism and accompanying software also plays a major role in this choice. This is exactly why there are Android and iOS apps striving to come up with ways to ensure that the scanning process remains as smooth and hassle-free as possible. Handy Scanner
are just two of the many smartphone apps that mimic scanner capabilities, but Pic Scanner
takes things one step further. The iOS app does offer point-and-scan capabilities, but it can also scan multiple photos simultaneously and then let users edit them with ease. Pic Scanner can distinguish between separate documents and pictures, cropping them to come up with multiple end results that can be saved as individual photos.
Facebook's philosophy of "move fast; break things" may hurt users in the short-term as they take time to get used to new interfaces and features, but it is no doubt beneficial in the long-term. On the web, Facebook basically changes up its News Feed every year, but the experience has remained largely the same on mobile for the past few years. Now, with a renewed focus on mobile, Facebook has launched Paper - stories from Facebook
, a brand-new, almost revolutionary
social media content consumption experience. Read More
There are a bunch of Cydia tweaks that have the potential to make up for iOS’ lack of gesture-based music controls. There are tweaks that offer to add gestures in the Music app
, lock screen
, Notification Center
, and even the volume HUD
. Gesture Music Controls
is different (and maybe better) than all the other tweaks belonging to this genre, though, as it affects multiple parts of iOS. Thanks to this tweak, you can easily control currently playing tracks from the lock screen, Control Center, and the stock Music app. Gesture Music Controls does not require any configuration, and is ready to be used immediately after its installation. The sharing options available in the tweak make it perfect for scrobbling your music.
While Google is open to letting users replace even some core chunks of Android - the launcher, lock-screen, app switcher, phone app etc. - Apple is the complete opposite, believing its own rendition of these 'near'-core components to be simply the best for users, and assuming they do not even need
to look for alternatives. For a long time, this has indeed remained true. From the year it was introduced up till a few months ago, the iOS' keyboard was widely accepted to be better than its Android and Windows Phone counterparts.
More recently, however, things have changed. Android's stock keyboard has matured significantly, and third-party alternatives from SwiftKey, Nuance, and GO have really started to pick up their game. iOS does auto-correction, yes, but these latest Android keyboard comes with better auto-prediction, support for different typing styles, and integration with Facebook, Twitter, and your email for quickly looking at the words you regularly type and their sequence of input, and a whole lot more!
Now after seeing so much success on Android, SwiftKey is interested in bringing their keyboard to iOS. They could not replace the stock keyboard throughout the OS, so they made their own notes app dubbed SwiftKey Note
. Read More
The modern smartphone has replaced many gadgets, including but not limited to the music player, the personal diary, the pen and paper to-do list, the low-end scanner, the GPS navigator, and the conventional alarm clock. I don't remember the last time I saw anyone set an alarm on anything other than their smartphone or tablet.
Now, the iOS 'Clock' app comes with good but basic Alarm functionality. You can set multiple alarms, set them to repeat after a certain period, give them different labels, different alarm-tones, and turn Snooze off or on, but there's little to no 'intelligence' involved with this digital alarm clock app. You set it to ring at a certain time, and it rings at that certain time - plain and simple. AlarmRestrict7
is a new tweak available for iOS 7 that aims to change that by adding just a tiny bit of smarts to the dumb Alarms functionality. We discuss it in more detail after the jump.
iOS 7 comes with lots of features to love, but its uncomfortably bright UI is not one of them. Save for a handful of stock apps and system components - Stocks, Notification Center, Compass - almost everything is a bright, in-your-face white. As someone who keeps display brightness across all devices at around 20-30% with f.lux
on, I find iOS 7 quite repulsive at times. Some app developers understand this: Tweetbot, Alien Blue, Reeder, Pocket, etc. all come with dark modes for easier reading. For the rest, we will have to wait for Apple and other developers to respond to user feedback.
, if your device is jailbroken, you can install Eclipse
. Launched earlier today, it allows you to enable dark mode throughout
iOS, including third-party apps! Awesome, isn't it? Read More
iOS 7’s focus on minimalism and a flat UI means that some of the elements of the OS might end up looking a little too drab. The battery indicator is not necessarily the most noticeable part of iOS, but there can be no denying the fact that it remains visible at most times. This means that there is a likelihood of users getting bored of the battery icon pretty quickly. Previously, we have covered Vox
, a Cydia tweak that offers plenty of alternatives to the default battery indicator on iPhone. Despite the variety it offers, the icon replacements offered by Vox revolve around a single theme, which is a circular battery. Alkaline
isn’t as feature-rich as some of its competitors, but it certainly has a sense of uniqueness about it. The tweak comes with the potential to support more themes in the future, even though it only has two available at present.
The “grip of death” issue might be nothing more than a scary story from the past for iPhone owners, but every once in a while, all of us are bound to wish that there was some way to get a stronger WiFi signal on our iOS device. The same holds true for 3G and 4G signals, which can lose some of their strength with the passage of time as your device starts going into sleep mode. Signal Booster
is a Cydia tweak that can help you resolve this problem. It has been around in the jailbreak store for quite a while, and has only recently become compatible with iOS 7. The tweak doesn’t ask its users to do too much, but the results are quite positive overall. Signal Booster restarts the whole process of resource allocation on your iPhone, making sure to put enough power behind the signal reception for data and WiFi, ultimately leading to better voice quality in calls, and faster browsing/download speeds. Of course, this is not too different from some methods of signal enhancement we have seen for Android
, but Signal Booster stands out by offering a truly one-touch method, rather than asking users to perform a lengthy flow of steps every time they want to get that extra signal bar on their phone’s status area.
Not many Cydia packages can give any sort of competition to the level of variety offered by Winterboard
to jailbreak users, but only if they are into theming and don’t really care about enhancing the functionality of their device. There are many other feature-specific Cydia tweaks that let you make some great changes to iOS, but most of them cater to only particular niches, like the recently covered FolderEnhancer
. Springtomize is among the very few Cydia tweaks that offer system-wide customization options, allowing users to tweak everything from visual aspects of iOS to its frequently used features. The famous Cydia app has now been updated to support iOS 7, but unlike most other recent updates, Springtomize 3
offers features that can work only on this latest firmware update. The new App Switcher tray, Control Center, folders and the Home screen can all be customized using Springtomize 3, and that too in a really simple manner.
We all know how small a role actual 'words' play when communicating vocally with other people. Non-verbal cues encapsulated by body language and the exact tone of your voice matter a whole lot more! However, this is what we know as humans, since this feature come built-in with essentially all of us. What if computers could analyse our mood by our voice?
Developed by Beyond Verbal, a company centered around developing software for emotion analysis based on raw voice input, 'Moodies'
is a new iOS app that claims to detect your mood just by how you speak, and that too in under 20 seconds! Moodies depends on Beyond Verbal's own patented cloud-based emotion analysis engine to do all the hard work; the app itself acts as a conduit of sorts. Read More