Newer iOS users may not realize it, but video recording, multitasking, copy/paste and customizable notifications, among others, were initially only available to people who jailbroke their iOS devices to add unsanctioned features. Then little by little, Apple integrated those functions into its mobile platform. Now, with iOS 7, the company has done it again.
This software version contains no ordinary features. In some cases, they're among the most popular among jailbreakers today. That means when Apple launches the new software—on or around September 10—there will be fewer reasons to hack into that iDevice.
Let's take a look at which jailbreak tweaks can head to the scrap heap now, and what remains in the balance.
Cydia Apps Killed By iOS 7
Jailbreaking refers to hacking that breaks Apple's restrictions over an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. It allows users to access new or hidden settings with unofficial apps, most of which come from Cydia, the primary repository of unsanctioned programs.
But Apple is not amused. It has infamously tried to make jailbreaking illegal (to no avail, at least for iPhones. iPads are another story). And at every turn, it aggressively patches the security vulnerabilities that make the hacks possible. All this posturing, however, may not be necessary. The company already has its best bet to end jailbreaking, and it's a rather simple solution: Just give users the features they want, so they don't have to hack to get them.
Indeed, as iOS evolves, it increasingly co-opts features that were once jailbreak-only. In a few weeks, when iOS 7 launches, it will continue that tradition. Here are some of the Cydia tweaks that Apple's new software update has appropriated:
Auxo (replaced by Control Center and multitasking)
There's no secret to the immense popularity of the Auxo iOS task switcher, which offers live previews of active apps, swipe-to-delete one or multiple apps, system toggles for quick access to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and screen brightness.
SBSettings (replaced by Control Center)
Jailbreakers in need of easy access to key settings have long relied on SBSettings. A gesture summons SBSettings from the status bar. In iOS 7, Control Center offers nearly the same functionality.
DeepEnd/3DBoard (replaced by new parallax effect)
iOS 7's new 3D parallax effect is a splashy visual that creates depth in an otherwise flattened new environment. Move the iPhone around in your hand, while keeping your eyes on the home screen, and you'll see what looks like two different layers—one with the flat icons floating above a deeper-set wallpaper. DeepEnd did it first, and a new tweak called 3DBoard does something similar. But iOS 7 has effectively done away with the need for both now.
Clockify (replaced by Clock app)
iOS 7's home screen clock icon now keeps real time. Granted, this may not be the most important feature, but plenty of people use and enjoy Clockify, and they now have one less reason to stick with their jailbreaks.
UnlockFX (replaced by new lockscreen)
The old lockscreen, which comes up upon waking the device, hasn't changed significantly in six years. That's what drives many jailbreakers to UnlockFX, a Cydia app that gives users a number of different unlocking animations that can swirl, fly left, and move in other ways. Now the new official lockscreen offers its own spin on things, letting users slide to unlock anywhere on the screen. Plus, it also includes full notifications and Control Center access, so if you're yearning for a change, the new stock screen should fit the bill.
Auto App Updater (replaced by App Store)
Manually installing updates for apps may feel like a chore. Auto App Updater, however, made easy work of this, automatically handling the process when need be. No more need for that now, since iOS 7 gives the App Store autoupdate features.
Multifl0w (replaced by multitasking)
This one's an oldie, but a goodie. Multifl0w offers multitasking similar to the card-oriented way Palm/WebOS handled it. Now iOS 7 has taken on a similar approach to app switching using a card layout style.
Call Blocker (replaced by native call blocking)
The iOS 7 beta includes a setting for call blocking. There's no guarantee that this will work in the final version, but if it does, then there won't be any need for for the jailbroken app called Call Blocker. (Here's hoping it makes it to the final version. This is a long overdue feature.)
The End Of Jailbreaking? Not Quite.
Of course, there are other reasons to jailbreak. There are plenty of hacks, big and small, still unavailable in the new iOS. Whether these are worth jailbreaking for, however, depends on the individual.
And there are still other features only available through jailbreaking, like being able to:
- Use widgets (Dashboard X)
- Rename apps (Rename)
- Change the default browser (BrowserChanger) or maps app (MapsOpener)
- Tether laptops without a subscription (MyWi, TetherMe)
- Try out Google Now–like features (NowNow)
- Create multiple user accounts (iUsers)
- Quick reply text-messaging (BiteSMS)
- Block ads (AdBlocker)
You can see why jailbreakers are still hot to get their hands on the iOS 7 jailbreak. Word has it that the beta has already been jailbroken successfully, but it won't be released until Apple launches iOS 7—likely to minimize the chances of the company blocking it.
But for others whose primary reason for jailbreaking was SBSettings or Multifl0w, Apple has cut off the need to hack by legitimizing the features. And based on its track record, the company probably isn't done yet.
Will you still jailbreak once the new software comes out? Weigh in below and let us know which features you still find missing and would jailbreak to get.
Feature image screen capped from YouTube video by Tom Rich. iOS 7 images courtesy of Apple.