Jailbreak Apps, Themes, Tweaks and Widgets, Oh My!

Jailbreaking is a pseudonym for breaking out of the Apple App store ecosystem, and the building blocks of the jailbreaking process are jail break apps. Among other things, jailbreaking is seen to enhance user experience by eliminating annoying App Store restrictions, which, for many people is reason enough to jailbreak.

best Cydia Apps

However, the jailbreaking process comes with risks, not the least of which is that is has recently become illegal. In addition, jailbreaking voids your Apple warranty and could even destabilize the performance of your phone, as jailbreak apps can push phone operation beyond recommended tolerances.

Nevertheless, if you decide to go ahead with jailbreaking, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with a couple of new concepts: Cydia, the unofficial App Store, for searching and installing apps, and something called tweaks. Initially it’s easy to become overwhelmed by Cydia’s terminology. You may find yourself in the perplexing situation of being able to downloaded apps, but not necessarily understand most of what you’re looking at. Navigating the features of Cydia is a bit difficult;  the key to understanding Cydia is understanding repositories.

Repositories, also referred to as sources, are essentially different servers that have jailbreak apps located on them: separate stores within Cydia. Working with jailbreak apps requires one to consider the source from where the app is found. To add a new source tap Manage > Sources > Edit > Add and you’ll get a URL popup to add a new source. Once you do you can search for the app you’re looking for and Cydia will index the new source. The often confusing thing about Cydia is that since it houses every type of jailbreak item it’s hard to tell the difference between different types of software.

There are four main types of software: apps, tweaks, widgets and themes.

(1) Cydia jailbreak apps operate exactly as those from the iTunes App Store. The only difference is that they’re not approved by Apple. In Cydia, you’ll see apps that do a variety of interesting things like network tethering, reskinning of the interface and providing alternate means to send and receive text messages. For the most part these are self-explanatory and are divided up into categories under the Sections menu much like the App Store.

(2) Tweaks are enhancements to an app; tweaks are usually found in the “Add-On” folders under the Section menu. Tweaks usually don’t have a home screen icon. Instead, they’re usually configured under the Settings menu on your iPhone.  For instance, the popular Sparrow+ is a tweak designed to enhance the official mail app (Sparrow) by adding push notifications and changing Sparrow to the default mail client.

(3) Cydia Widgets (i.e. in the Notification centre, on the home screen with Dashboard X, or on the lock screen) are essentially shortcut buttons and tools that make information available to you outside an app. Widgets are located  in Cydia’s Add-Ons folders much like the tweaks.

(4) Themes: If you want to customize your iPhone, themes are how you do it. The two most popular apps for theming are Dreamboard and Winterboard. Themes are found under in the Themes folders in Cydia.

Deleting And Updating Apps

To delete Cydia apps and tweaks (and anything else) you have to pop back into Cydia. Tap Manage on the bottom bar and then scroll through to find the app you want to delete. Tap Modify and then Remove. If that seems too tedious you can download Cydelete from the BigBoss Repository and delete Cydia-installed apps just like official apps.

DreamBoard jailbreak app

Dreamboard can make your iPhone look like Android.

Updates in Cydia are handled in a similar way to the iPhone apps in the App Store. When you open up Cydia you’ll see a badge on the Changes menu with any app or tweak updates. Tap the Upgrade button and your apps will update to the newest versions.

Once you play around with Cydia for a while it gets easier to understand. Some of the more popular Cydia offerings include Dreamboard for theming & skinning,  Activator for customization and multi-touch functionality,  Nitrous, a tweak that speeds up web browsing, Flex, an app that lets you create your own minor tweaks for any of your apps, and NowNow, a Siri-like app that utilizes the Google Search app for controlling device functions.

***Please note that the presentation of jailbreaking information offered here is not in any way intended as an advocation of the process, but rather offered as reference material only.***

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Must Have Iphone 5 Apps to Make Life Simpler and Easier

iPhone appsSo you have just about impressed everyone around you by buying an iPhone. Congratulations! Not only can you afford one – which is a big achievement in itself – but you can enhance the ways to show it off as well. For instance, consider that a few “must have” iPhone apps will make that new iPhone really useful – more like an indispensable partner in all your endeavors, personal and professional. Yes, it’s time to download some of Apple’s best iPhone apps.


  Got iPhone for those apps?


One thing you need to know about iPhone apps, particularly downloading them, is that it is best to do it from Apple’s official app store. That way you do not run any risk exposing your phone to a virus. Obviously you do not want your expensive iphone falling victim to a system crash. The Apple app store increases its collection of new apps every day, as production and uploading of new and exciting apps is a mainstay of Apple’s business.

A decent app can cost you between $1 and to up to $20, depending more or less on the category and/or use of the app. For instance, if you want to have a Gmail app on your phone, you can simply download it online for free. However, if you want to have a serious app with a number of  sophisticated features designed exclusively for the unique functionality of the phone, then you will have to cough up a few bucks for it.

One of the best things about top iPhone apps, in fact all iPhone apps, is that they mature in the market and consequently become less expensive. So while a newly released app can cost anywhere up to $20, the same app after being around for a period of, say, one year, might be able to be obtained for free. The difficult part of this temporal equation is that you will have to wait for a year.

The Siri Story. Originally introduced as an app in 2010, Siri (a virtual assistant) became an integral part of the iPhone with the advent of  iOS 5  and first supported on the iPhone 4S. Siri was added to the third generation iPad with the release of iOS 6, and is included on the iPhone 5. Siri gives your iPhone a personality, and so encourages you to talk to your iPhone – literally. Just tell Siri what you want to do and she will do it for you.

Are you a person who gets lost in every corner of your city or town, then you definitely want to check out Google maps. One of Apple iPhone best apps, Google maps provides your exact location as well as your destination using a satellite view. As such, you will always know where you are, no matter how lost you get.

A truly amazing and useful app is Evernote: one of the easiest to use, free iphone apps to help you remember everything across all of the devices you use. Stay organized, save your ideas and improve productivity. Evernote lets you take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists, record voice reminders–even makes notes completely searchable, whether you are at home, at work, or on the go.

The Brewster app brings together everyone you know (including contacts from iPhone, LinkedIn, Facebook, Gmail, and Twitter) to create your own personalized address book. Brewster can sync to your iPhone address book, and so keeps contacts information up-to-date as well as adding large photos to every contact. This is particularly good for people who primarily use face identification to connect with their friends.


Must Have iPhone Apps?

Is it the case these days that we all must have iPhone apps to survive?

Must have iPhone appsWith the population of iphone apps on Apple’s App Store increasing faster than our abilities to track, analyze and act on the results of that explosive growth, I’ve found that there is a great need for an easy-to-navigate website that helps makes sense of this oft confusing and overwhelming world of iPhone apps. This is that site.

What say you?

In the meantime, check out what’s going around the net these days.  Have fun!

Run those great apps on

a great new Phone 5!