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There’s (Not) An App for That: 10 Apps Only Available for Jailbroken iPhones

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Where does a wayward app go after being rejected by the Apple (s aapl)? Sometimes it valiantly tries to meet Apple’s approval, constantly guessing Apple’s whim and fancy. Other times, a developer doesn’t even try. They know their app won’t get approved and ignore the App Store entirely.

Where do these rogue apps go? On jailbroken phones everywhere! Of course, jailbreaking is not without some serious risks and security holes. While there may be some bad apples on jailbroken phones, here are the plums I’ve picked out of Cydia. Apple should take note of some of these features and incorporate them in the next version of the iPhone software. Of course I’ve only heard about these apps from friends. I’d never dream of jailbreaking my iPhone…

GV Mobile (Free)
GV Mobile lets you easily make outgoing phone calls from Google Voice, listen to Google Voice voicemails, and send and receive SMS messages. While most Google Voice functionality is available from the website in Safari, having a native app makes using Google Voice much easier. This is the app that’s so much in demand, it inspired an FCC inquiry.

SBSettings (Free)
SBSettings places many common iPhone settings, such as toggling Wi-Fi, Airplane mode, and 3G a single tap away, no matter what you are doing on the phone. Why should it take six taps to turn off Bluetooth? It also makes it easy to hide the icons for built-in apps that you never use, freeing up space on your iPhone screen (does anyone really use the Stocks app?)

Rotation Inhibitor (Free)
With all respect to Dead or Alive, sometimes you don’t spin me right round baby right round. Anyone who has tried to use Safari on his iPhone while laying down in bed knows the frustration of having the iPhone’s screen rotation go crazy, switching back and forth repeatedly. Rotation Inhibitor does one thing: it locks the screen into your preferred orientation and prevents the screen from rotating when using Apple’s built-in apps, like Safari and Mail. Finally, you can surf in peace when you are lounging on the couch!

QuickReply for SMS ($2.99, Cydia store)
The way the iPhone currently works, when you receive an SMS message, you can view the message but not reply without quitting what you are doing and opening the SMS app. QuickReply for SMS allows you to reply to incoming SMS messages from anywhere on the iPhone without switching apps. A small “Reply” button is added to the normal SMS message window; tap it, type your reply, and send! This is an elegant and amazing time-saver for anyone who frequently uses text messaging.

3g Unrestrictor ($2.99, Cydia store)
The iPhone OS restricts you from doing many tasks when you are on the 3G network, including download apps or podcasts larger than 10MB, as well as using many IP telephony or streaming video apps. 3G Unrestrictor essentially “fools” the iPhone into thinking it is on a Wi-Fi network, even when it is not, allowing Wi-Fi restricted functionality to operate normally. Of course, 3G is slower than Wi-Fi, so you can’t expect identical performance, but the key is that this app gives you the choice.

ToneFX ($4.99, Cydia store)
The iPhone lets you pick your own ringtone, but you are not permitted to customize the sounds for things like SMS message received, new mail message, and new voicemail message. This has always struck me as an odd omission since even the cheapest throwaway cell phone lets users customize these sounds! Riding to the rescue is ToneFX, which has a great GUI allowing you to customize every sound the iPhone makes. Finally, you won’t be the one reaching into your pocket when you hear the iPhone SMS sound because yours will be different.

Winterboard (Free)
Winterboard is the premier iPhone skinning application, allowing you to customize the look and feel of the iPhone. Winterboard can be used to change iPhone icons for installed apps, as well as changing the look of the lock screen, app screens, dock, and more. You can choose from hundreds of tasteful and not-so-tasteful themes contributed by designers around the world, or if you are technically inclined and artistic, try your own hand at making themes.

AutoSilent ($2.99, Cydia store)
AutoSilent is like an intelligent secretary for your iPhone who will automatically place your phone into silent mode when you want it to. AutoSilent integrates with your calendar and knows to place the phone into silent mode during meetings. You can also set repeating “do not disturb” periods, for example, from 10PM to 8AM, guaranteeing you won’t get woken up by a wrong number in the middle of the night. AutoSilent also has selective silencing, for example it can turn off SMS sounds, but allow phone calls to ring through. This is my vote for the next feature to be blessed by Apple.

Intelliscreen ($9.99, Intelliborn)
Intelliscreen makes your iPhone lock screen useful, by displaying various pieces of information that you choose, such as forthcoming appointments, weather forecasts, and incoming email messages. It can also display a complete missed call list. These are great enhancements over Apple’s use of the lock screen, which is limited to showing a single missed phone call or incoming message. Intelliscreen gives you the ability to quickly glance at all your important information with a single tap and without unlocking your phone. Rumor has it this will be in the next iPhone OS.

Inspell ($3.99, Cydia store)
Inspell provides the same type of “inline” spell checking that you are familiar with from the Mac OS. As you type, misspelled words are highlighted with a red underline; tapping on the misspelled word brings up a menu with suggested corrections. It works seamlessly and feels like something that is built in to the phone’s OS, and is a great enhancement to the normal suggestive typing. As a bonus, you can edit the dictionary, making is easy to add custom terms — a feature Apple’s built-in suggestive typing doesn’t offer.

I hear from friends that these rogue apps make an iPhone a lot more useful and fun to use then it was without them. Jailbreaking the iPhone isn’t something every iPhone user will want to do, but for those who take the jump, there are some really cool apps out there. Have you jailbroken your iPhone? If so, what are your favorite unofficial apps?

30 Responses to “There’s (Not) An App for That: 10 Apps Only Available for Jailbroken iPhones”

  1. What about iblacklist ? Blocks calls and SMS messages. Just tried it yesterday because of this one nuisance call I keep getting from some dogdy outfit. It works brilliantly. I don’t have to answer their phonecall ever again, I can send them an unobtainable tone automatically. How call is that? The App however is free for two blocks, but then costs $12 (approx £7 here in the UK). Bargain for the features you get. Link:

    PS: I’m just a fan of the software since yesreday, that’s all. Happy Merry Blocking to you all.

  2. +1 for LockInfo and its plugins. The Native rendering (vs. html) is absolutely amazing.

    Susan – delve a little deeper. Spend some time looking at what people are doing with their iPhones at The phones just WORK better when you jailbreak them and customize it to fit your own needs.

    • Jailbreaking isn’t illegal and doesn’t void your warranty. I am sure you are just being a troll, but I am responding anyway….yeah, I love hopeless causes.

      For those reading with open minds, there is nothing illegal about jailbreaking your phone — it is your property and you paid for it, you can do whatever you want with it, including throwing it in a blender!

      As for voiding your warranty, that is also false – you can restore a jailbroken phone to the stock OS and take it in for service, and Apple will still service the phone for hardware defects under the warranty. I’ve actually had to do this.

  3. Any idea what happens to the toggle switch when using the autosilent app? Do the settings just completely override it? I’ve always thought that was partially the reason for the omission.

    Awesome idea though – Google OS actually has an app called Locale that does the same thing, but based on GPS location as well, which is an awesome idea. (set it to go to silent at movie theaters, work, church, etc.)

  4. The top three apps listed here are the only reason I jailbreak. Now, I have other jailbreak Apps (including 5-icon dock and other silly things that change the UI a bit), but those three are the only ones that I must have. SBsettings is a great way to inflict jailbreak-envy on anyone who has ever used an iPhone for any amount of time. I can change the brightness without leaving the current app. (great for walking in or outside) and I can turn off the “phone” functionality without turning off the Wifi functionality (CRUCIAL to using the keynote remote application…hello Apple, I’d like to not get a phone call while presenting!)

    And in answer to the one wondering if it’s Jailbreakers who are hogging the bandwidth… not me. I don’t tether, and I don’t download illegal or immoral apps.

  5. So I’m close to Jailbreaking my 3GS, but the problem is this – I jailbroke my 3G and had constant crashing issues, causing the iPhone to restart.

    How common is this problem with a Jailbroken 3GS?

  6. I pulled the trigger and did this.

    I have to mention, however, that IntelliScreen is no longer at the top of the heap for lockscreen apps. That title goes to LockInfo, for sure.

    I spent quite some time trying them all out, and IntelliScreen simply stinks compared to LockInfo, and then throw in the $10 price and it really misses the mark (LockInfo has a 2 week free trial and is then $5).

    Seriously, try it out and install some of the plugins. Once the plugin for Things works properly and I can see my current Things items on the lock screen, this thing will be unstoppable. (and I’m not a LockInfo plant, I just spent way too much time trying out crappy programs like IntelliScreen)

  7. My latest favorite app, and a very simple one, is “QuickLock” available in Cydia. I can’t believe I didn’t find it before. It simply turns off the screen without having to reach up and press the physical button on top of the iPhone.

  8. I have a jailbroken phone, tethering, etc, but I only tether when I have to, and that’s really rare these days. I also don’t use any cydia/rock apps for streaming anything pretty much ever. The *only* apps I use on a consistent basis for streaming, (at least 2 hours per day) are things like Pandora, Discovery Channel, Nasa TV, my local NPR stations in the car, and one other NPR station from the east coast (I’m mountain time). I *do* use that stuff all the time and they are apps directly from the App Store, and are free!

    I have used 10GB so far this month, and it’s almost half way through. So you’re telling me that’s too much, and I have unlimited data plan, with MMS and texting. I’m not even on a 3GS yet, so no video sending. I do get a massive amount of email and have that sync’d too.

    The point is, there are plenty of appstore apps that are data intensive, or have the potential to be. The main contributor for bandwidth use has to be the “legitimate” apps, since I don’t stream anything using anything from cydia.


  9. I jailbroke my iPhone pre OS 2.0, but I’ve been too scared to do it since then. I now have a 3GS and this list makes it VERY tempting to jailbreak. How risky is this really? I’m pretty tech/mac/iphone savvy but by no means a unix warrior or professional. Are there ever problems with reverting to non-jailbroken versions when future iPhone OS updates come out?

    I guess what I’m trying to ask: What are the odds that I totally f*ck myself here?

  10. AT&T has recently mentioned that a small number of iPhone users account for a large percentage of the network bandwidth. I wonder if they have any statistics on what percentage of those bandwidth hogs are jail broken phones compared to the population at large?

    Are users of jail broken iPhones any more or less likely to be bandwidth hogs?

  11. Backgrounder and Kirikae work so great together, I can’t believe Apple left out that kind of functionality. It is so great to move and app to the backround, and with a couple of taps, pick back up where I left off. I also love Mxtube and PdaNet.

  12. These all sound great. I wish Apple would include some of this functionality in a future version of the OS. The ability to reply to an SMS message “on the fly” and the ability to change sounds effects seem like no brainers. Being able to turn off rotation in Safari is my biggest pet peeve, though.

    I just assume Steve Jobs ha NEVER used an iPhone while laying down, otherwise, I can see an angry call to an iPhone OS engineer at 11 at night from Steve saying “Change this!”

  13. Amazing list of cool Apps, makes me wana Jail Break right now!

    I like the idea of auto-silence during Calendar meetings etc I’m all for using data that you have already imputed in an intelligent new ways. And really simple things like changing the SMS alert tone, Changing screen lock to something useful, like weather or RSS News feeds.
    Apple improves everything it produces in time…but can seam at glacial pace at times!

  14. Great list – you’ve listed some apps that I hadn’t yet found. But I think you made one GLARING omission: Backgrounder. You hold the home button for 2 seconds while running an app and starts running in the background, which is especially useful for GPS apps and Pandora.

    A couple of other free Cydia apps that I think are essential are Lock Calendar and Weather Icon, which are described here.

    • I don’t want stuff showing up on my lock screen. People pick up my iPhone to check it out (usually Crackberry users wondering what the iPhone fuss is all about), I don’t want them seeing my lunch date with “Sandra from RSVP” or my 3pm appointment with my Proctologist.

      Autosilent on the other hand… actually, no. I switch off the phone when I’m going to important “do not disturb” appointments (such as that date with Megan Fox and her big mechanical friends at Hoyts on Friday night), and the “silent” switch is oh-so-handy.

      Switch off the phone. Yes, you heard me right.

      The only features out of this list that I thought would be worth having on my non-jailbroken iPhone were “Rotation Inhibitor” and “ToneFX”.

    • Any idea what happens to the toggle switch when using the autosilent app? Do the settings just completely override it? I’ve always thought that was partially the reason for the omission.

      Awesome idea though – Google OS actually has an app called Locale that does the same thing, but based on GPS location as well, which is an awesome idea. (set it to go to silent at movie theaters, work, church, etc.)