auki for iPhone review: iOS 7 quick reply the way Apple should do it

auki for iPhone review: iOS 7 quick reply the way Apple would have done it

auki is a jailbreak app for iPhone that provides quick-reply functionality for messages. That means that, with auki, you don't have to spend time switching to and from the Messages app. You can reply to and compose messages from anywhere on the iPhone, be it the Home screen or from inside another app or game. Anywhere. That might sound similar to other jailbreak apps like BiteSMS, but auki takes a different approach, and one I'd really like to see Apple consider for iOS 8.

Firstly, there's no preferences panel for auki. Say what?! Yeah, no preferences panel. While I would like the option to be able to turn auki off if I choose, auki and the nature of how it functions doesn't really warrant a preferences panel. When Surenix announced auki from JailbreakCon, he placed a heavy emphasis on the fact that himself and Bensge designed what they thought was a simple, elegant, and refined messaging experience that just works. In that aspect they've succeeded. I can see auki being something that Apple themselves would consider when trying to solve the problem of creating a quick reply and quick compose solution. Whether or not it's similar to what we'll actually see is anyone's guess. If we ever do see it direct from Apple.

The real beauty of auki lies in how it works. Unless you need auki, it stays out of the way. The default Messages app remains the way we've always known it. auki's quick compose feature can be invoked in one of two ways — either by setting an action with Activator or by launching Notification Center. If you choose the Notification Center method, just swipe down from any section in order to bring up an auki quick compose window. Just type your message and off it goes. Quick compose windows in auki also support image upload, but only in portrait mode, at least for now.

By far my favorite feature of auki — well actually two awesome concepts rolled into one — is Silent mode. In your Messages app, swipe like you would to delete a message thread and you'll notice the addition of a new button, Silent. Tap it and that thread becomes greyed out. Any incoming messages from that person are then silenced completely. You'll still receive them, you just won't be bothered by notifications for them. Not only that, Silent Mode automatically enables another mode called Stealth Mode. While in Silent Mode, the person on the other end can no longer view when you've read a message, or see when you're typing something. Stealth Mode is the equivalent of turning on and off read receipts on the fly, but only for specific contacts. I've tested it with several other iPhone users, jailbroken and pure, and it works beautifully. auki can also auto-detect whether or not contacts are using iMessage or regular SMS. Send button colors are then updated on the fly just like they are in the native Messages app so you know in a quick compose window what kind of message you're sending.

The good

  • Great design aesthetic
  • No setup, extra icons, or tweaking needed, just start using auki
  • Stealth mode lets you type and read messages without the other side knowing, and that's awesome
  • Activator lets you customize exactly how you want to trigger auki for quick compose

The bad

  • No way to disable auki due to the lack of a preferences pane
  • No preferences pane means no customizing the way auki works
  • No way to add a passcode like other apps such as BiteSMS allow

The bottom line

If Apple had deployed a solution for quick reply and quick compose in iOS 7, I'm fairly certain it would have been similar to what auki brings to the table. For folks that like the Messages app and just want to make it better, look no further than auki. That being said, auki won't please everyone. If you want passcodes and tons of customizations in the message handling department, the king is still BiteSMS. I've never been one to use many of the advanced features of BiteSMS so auki fits my needs beautifully.

For anyone who wants a no fuss messaging solution that improves upon the current Messages app without over-complicating things, I'd highly recommend giving auki a try. And if you do, be sure to let me know what you think of it in the comments!

Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

Allyson Kazmucha

Senior editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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auki for iPhone review: iOS 7 quick reply the way Apple should do it

22 Comments

Ally, it actually does alter the look of the messages app by introducing contact photos into the individual conversation thread views. One of the few complaints I've heard from users, who feel like that uses up too much real estate and forces the actual message text into the center of the screen.

Hey Surenix, how are you first of all? And little concern is that the tweak doesnt mark the messages as read, i actually have to go into the messages app and mark then there as read and thats actually one more step you have to take and the other one is if you can add a call button, thats all! Everything else is awesome, thanks and good luck!!

Hi Alberto, I'm doing well and hope you are too. Although the button doesn't scream "mark as read", the "Close" button actually does this in a nice way. Not only will notifications not annoy you, it'll add a little badge on your Messages all to let you know that you do have a message(s) that you haven't replied to.

Sent from the iMore App

Hi Alberto, I'm doing well and hope you are too. Although the button doesn't scream "mark as read", the "Close" button actually does this in a nice way. Not only will notifications not annoy you, it'll add a little badge on your Messages all to let you know that you do have a message(s) that you haven't replied to.

Sent from the iMore App

My other quibble is with auki's Reply button on alert banners—I'd much prefer to tap the banner itself instead of being limited to the button area. (Tapping elsewhere launches the full Messages app.) if you're interested, I posted my own review here: http://jackjohnbrown.com/auki

When you tap the Reply button, you invoke the quick reply view. If you touch/tap the actual message coming in (left side of the bar), you get launches into the app. This is a trick that will make both party happy seamlessly (those who might only want to quickly reply and those who want to launch the actual app for context).

BiteSMS has a Call button, so you can very easily choose to call the person sending you a message. I use that button often, and is the reason I prefer BiteSMS. Please include in future update :-)

We could never really find a good reason to have the call button. After all, you're in quick reply view for one reason—reply to a message. If you really want to make a call, launch Phone.app.

Sent from the iMore App

Thank you for taking the time to reply. I hear you, but sometimes I get questions or requests via SMS, that is easier answered on the phone rather than having to type a long message. Or I am driving when I receive the message, and it is better and safer to just hit the call button to quickly call back to the person asking the question. Launching the phone app and finding the contact to call back is too much trouble, especially when driving. I find that I use the call button 2 or 3 times a day on average. It is not a lot, but important when I need it, so to me it is a deal breaker :-)
I also understand that adding another button might clutter the clean look of the app, but maybe the Cancel button could be replaced with a Call button and instead use a swiping gesture to cancel? You could throw the dialog box to the right and out of the screen to cancel? Just a thought :-)

This feature may be enough to tempt me to jailbreak - I haven't had the need for 2 years but this would save me considerable time. Great work.

Although biteSMS has a ton of great settings, it doesn't look nor feel like it truly meshes with iOS 7. Auki on the other hand is a great alternative. I just bought it a few mins ago. The only small problem I have is the way to QC. Swiping down the NC then swiping down again isn't my preference. I have Compose for iOS 7 tweak so I just added the New Message Action to one of the buttons. I'd love for Auki to have more QC actions. But other than that, it works really well. It's definitely a tweak that looks like it's designed by apple for iOS 7. Thanks guys.

Sent from the iMore App

Yeah, Siri is probably the answer, but only if you live in one of the few countries that is supported. For the rest of the world Siri is worthless. Sure, I can tell Siri in English what message to send, but that just looks weird for the recipient :-)

I was gonna read this over and then I noticed there has been a pretty large update hit Cydia. Maybe this review will get revised so I can see if it's worth the $3.99 now.

Looks good to me. Not really a good reason to go through the hassle of a jailbreak though.

My only criticism of the UI is that on the quick message pane, there is no reason to have it be light grey and then have a white pane inside the grey pane for the message. It should just be a white pane in the first place. The whole grey pane with white message window is overly complicated and unnecessary.