What are the top 5 best, or just our most favorite, Jailbreak apps and tweaks for iPhone? That's something we get asked a lot in comments, in the forums, and during the podcast chat. Cydia is filled with wonderful tools and applications to enhance your iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. In this version, we're going to look at the top 5 jailbroken apps or tweaks to help you make the best of your iPhone experience. Some of these may apply to other devices as well, but we'll strictly be looking at the iPhone variants. Hit the break for what we think are 5 jailbreak utilities every jailbreaker should check out!
Winterboard is a must have if you intend to apply themes to your iPhone or customize the interface. Of course, you can always SSH and install themes on your own, but Winterboard will make almost everyone's lives a lot easier. A lot of the times, if you download a theme that has a dependency on Winterboard, it'll automatically install it for you. Once you've got Winterboard installed, browse Cydia for themes and UI tweaks you'd like to put on your phone. The great thing about Winterboard is that it works as a hierarchy. Say you download a theme but you don't like the sounds. You can download a sound pack from Cydia you do like, check it in Cydia and drag it above the main theme. It will then override the theme's default sounds with the ones you've selected. It's an amazingly powerful tool that allows you to customize your iPhone just the way you'd like.
SBSettings is more of a tweak than an actual app. It will allow you to add quick toggles to your springboard. You'll swipe your status bar (or whatever gesture you prefer to configure with Activator), and it'll show a drop down with several options. It also monitors your available memory, which is a nice added feature. It comes with several toggles built in such as wifi, 3G, bluetooth, brightness, and airplane mode. There are a lot of times I want to toggle some of these settings to save battery life. It's much easier to swipe my status bar and tap the ones I'd like to toggle than to dig through the settings panel for each individual setting and flip them off.
SBSettings also allows you to hide apps on your springboard. I personally prefer to hide some of the Apple default applications that I never use such as stocks, weather, compass, and a few others. You can still spotlight search for them but it hides them on your springboard. There are also many other tweaks and add-ons for SBSettings in Cydia, including themes.
Folder Enhancing Applications
Under 4.x, Apple gave us the ability to create folders. Yet again, Apple limited the functionality of this feature. You can't create subfolders and you can only have 12 applications per folder. I have about 50 games installed on my iPhone at any given point. It's a pain to have to create 5 folders just for games. Apps like Folder Enhancer and Infinifolders seek to solve this problem. They give you the ability to create sub-folders within a folder. Not only that, it removes the app limit cap. Now I can have several applications in one folder. And if I choose, I can create sub-folders. I have all my games in one folder, then divided by sub-categories such as RPG, Strategy, Action, etc. Folder Enhancer will allow you to change the folder background image as well.
Text Message Replacement or Add-On Applications
Although Apple's default texting app is visually appealing, it's still got a long way to go in terms of functionality. Enter apps like BiteSMS, iRealSMS, & QuickReply for SMS. These apps pick up where Apple has left us hanging. I personally prefer BiteSMS but iReal is also an acceptable solution. I wouldn't recommend purchasing QuickReply for SMS as the dev has announced he isn't updating it any further. It's been rumored to go free any day now.
My biggest gripe with Apple's default texting app is that it's obtrusive and forces me to enter the app when I want to compose a text or reply to one. With apps such as BiteSMS, I can simply create a gesture that will bring up a quick compose screen. I can easily and quickly send a text without it interrupting my work-flow. When I receive a text, I can simply tap a reply button and reply without having to enter the texting app. BiteSMS is also highly configurable. You can configure options and tab through them on the QuickReply window. Options range from adding options such as reply, open, call, skype, delete, and many others.
BiteSMS and iRealSMS also have the option to show contact pictures in line with your text messages. This is a feature I wish Apple would have added to contacts and texting a long time ago. For now, apps like BiteSMS and iRealSMS will give you that functionality until Apple decides to.
MyWi and My3G
Network add-on applications are also a welcome addition to the jailbreak community. For those of us lowly users in the United States, AT&T likes to charge a ridiculous amount for tethering. MyWi allows you to turn your iPhone into a wireless hotspot. I use this feature frequently to tether my iPad. Until some carriers come to the realization that data is data and if we're paying for it, we should be able to use it how we like, apps like MyWi and My3G are essential.
My3G allows you to trick your phone into thinking your on Wifi. This is useful if you're in 3G and would like to download an app that is over 20MB. Simply turn on My3G and you're iPhone will assume you're on wifi and it'll bypass Apple's 20MB cap on network downloads. My3G also allows you to use FaceTime over 3G as well. There are several other apps available in Cydia like My3G so you can take your pick. Some of the others are 3G Unrestrictor, FaceTime over 3G, and Facebreak. You can choose from whichever suits your needs the best.
Your top 5?
As always, this is a list of our favorite jailbreak applications here on TiPb that we think all jailbreakers should at least check out. We know you guys have favorites too, so let us know in the comments! If you're new to jailbreak or thinking about jailbreaking your phone, check out our guide to jailbreak terms and tools and if you need extra help, dive into our Jailbreak Apps Forum.