How to Jailbreak Your iPhone or iPad for Added Functionality, Freedom, and Productivity

How to Jailbreak Your iPhone or iPad for Added Functionality, Freedom, and Productivity

Breaking out of Jail!

photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc

I love my iPhone. I love my iPad. I appreciate Apple's App Store and the thousands of high-quality apps it has available for my iDevices. The one issue I have with Apple is how it restricts or even bans some very high quality apps or system tweaks from being available in the App Store.

I understand that Apple wants to maintain the integrity of its App and iDevice ecosystem. I get it. However, I also want to be able to customize my iPhone. I want it to help me be even more productive.

Below I'm going to detail how to jailbreak your iDevice and recommend some awesome jailbreak apps that will give you more functionality, more freedom, and improve your productivity.

Jailbreak Introduction

Jailbroken Home ScreenAs mentioned above, jailbreaking your iPhone will unlock a lot of features and functionality. You may have heard in the news that it's now illegal to unlock your mobile device. Unlocking and jailbreaking are not the same thing. Jailbreaking is legal, but Apple would really prefer you not jailbreak and warns against it.

First, a word of warning. As the Apple note mentions, there is a possibility that your iDevice may function oddly. It may break. It may become unstable. Your data may become compromised. If you're happy with your iPhone or iPad as they are, then don't jailbreak. The decision to jailbreak is yours and yours alone. I take no responsibility for anything that may or may not happen to your device unless it turns out to be pure awesomeness. Even then, it's still your decision. Also, the apps on Cydia (the jailbroken App store) may not be as stable or secure as those in the regular App store. Proceed at your own peril.

Jailbreak How To

Jailbreaking your iDevice is really easy. Here's how to do it:

  1. Make sure you're ok with the risk that's involved with the jailbreak. This is your last chance.
  2. Backup your iDevice with iCloud or by connecting it to your computer and using iTunes. If something goes wrong, you can always restore.
  3. I recommend updating to iOS 6.1.
  4.  
    EDIT: Since this post was written, the Evasion Jailbreak listed below doesn't work with iOS versions 6.3 and beyond. If you have a device running iOS 6.2 or earlier, you're good to go.

  5. Visit Evasi0n.com to download the jailbreak software. Be sure to read their “Read Me” documentation on their site. The jailbreak software is available for Mac OSX, Windows, and Linux.
  6. Launch the downloaded software and follow the onscreen instructions. Make sure you have your iDevice and its USB cable handy. The process should take anywhere from five to ten minutes for it to complete.
  7. Do not touch your computer or iDevice while the jailbreak is occurring. Only touch the device once the software tells you to do so.
  8. Your device may restart several times during the process. This is normal.
  9. Once the process completes, you'll notice that Cydia has been installed on your device.
  10. Congratulations, you're jailbroken!

Jailbreak App / Tweak Recommendations

Now that you have your jailbroken phone (or iPad), it's time to add functionality and customizations. This is where it gets fun. Here are some apps and tweaks that I recommend to get the most out of your jailbreak experience. Please note that some of these apps are free and others may cost a nominal fee, which is no different from apps in the Apple App Store. I did my best to list the pricing if available and prices are subject to change without notice and may differ from those stated. Also, be aware that some tweaks and apps may not be available for your particular device or operating system. Be sure to check the requirements before installing.

BiteSMS

BiteSMS Messaging AppThis app puts the built-in iOS messaging app to shame. Loaded with features including the ability to respond to a text from your lock screen or another app, this is what messaging was meant to be. You can create schedules (send texts at designated intervals), create quick replies, and even templates for frequently used messages. Another awesome ability about BiteSMS is that it will show you pictures of your contacts. It works with both iMessage and standard text messages, and has a plethora of other options. The app is free, but for additional functionality and to remove ads, you can pay a nominal $8 fee – which is well worth the investment. Open Cydia and search for “BiteSMS” to download.

Auxo

Auxo App SwitcherAuxo is one of those tweaks that sound simple in theory, but add an extra element of functionality that you didn't realize you would appreciate. Auxo improves the multitasking / task switching abilities of your iDevice. As indicated in the screenshot, it shows a small preview of the apps you're using as well as overlaying their icons. Instead of having to press and hold each individual app to close any of the active apps, you merely swipe down on the preview to close a particular app. Far easier and with fewer keystrokes or time needed. Can you say efficient? You can also close all the open apps at once by pressing and holding. No wasted keystrokes.

Another awesome thing that Auxo does is it deploys easy access to settings. For instance, you can turn on/off your bluetooth by pressing a button in the task tray. You can enter airplane mode without having to open your settings app. You also get more robust control and information when it comes to the music you have playing. For $1.99, it's a steal for all the great features you get. Open Cydia and search for “Auxo” to download.

LockInfo

LockInfo ScreenLockInfo is another tweak that's been around for a while and gives you a lot more detailed information and access to notifications, etc. It's basically notification center on steroids. You can set it to display the weather, stocks, and other widgets. It also gives you the ability to see notifications from various apps including missed calls, upcoming calendar events and more. I also have mine set up to show me email previews. Right from the lock screen, I can review email and delete it. I can also sort notifications by app, which is highly convenient if I want to drill down to only important things. You can scroll up and down and take action on individual items by swiping right to left. Open Cydia and search for “LockInfo” to download.

Multiiconmover

One of those awesome tweaks that let's you move multiple apps at the same time. Simply press and hold an app or folder to get them to jiggle, then tap any app icon to add a checkmark. You can select multiple apps. Then move to the page that you want to move them to and hit your home button. The items are moved automagically. Neat. You do need to make sure you have room on the particular page you're moving the items to, otherwise it won't work. Open Cydia and search for “Multiiconmover” to download.

Springtomize 2

Another awesome system tweak that  allows you to customize the look and feel of the folders, icons, lock screen and more. For instance, I have reduced the size of my app icons and I added an additional row of apps to my pages. I also added additional icons to my dock. You can also remove the labels if you want, adjust animations, and more. Springtomize is a robust system tweak that's really well done. Open Cydia and search for “Springtomize 2” to download.

Other Jailbreak Resources

Now that you've jailbroken, you're bound to want to experiment with adding custom skins, themes, and other tweaks to your device. Again, be advised that going too crazy may affect the performance of your iDevice. I don't recommend installing loads of items at the same time. I like to install one app/tweak at a time to test it to make sure it plays nicely on my iPhone. If it works well, then I'll install others.

It is strongly recommended that you change the root and admin passwords on your iDevice after you jailbreak. Some unscrupulous apps available for download on Cydia may exploit your system if you don't change the passwords. iSource has a detailed explanation about how to change your passwords.

Lifehacker is another great resource for learning about how to jailbreak as well as apps, themes, and tweaks to try.

Cult of Mac also has some great reviews and recommendations for apps.

Conclusion

Having a jailbroken iDevice opens up a world of customization possibilities. The apps and tweaks I suggested contribute greatly to my own personal productivity and will no doubt aid in yours.

Are you a jailbreaker? Do you have any favorite tweaks or apps worthy of trying? Feel free to share in the comments.

Disclosure of Material Connection

Some of the links in the post above may be affiliate links. This means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I will receive a modest commission from the sale. These links help support the maintenance of this website.


Please be advised that I only recommend products or services that I have used or tried personally and believe will add value to my readers' lives. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”