Feb 24, 2013

What to do with the Jailbroken iPad?

A few days ago I jailbroke my iPad, after watching my boyfriend and his jailbroken iPad for a couple of weeks, to determine that it actually was "safe" to do it. I was slightly worried that it might cause problems, and besides, I've still got a full year of warranty left on my iPad. But the temptation grew too big. I too wanted to have separate user accounts for my girls and some other cool stuff, like those handy toggles in the message area etc.
I didn't go through the whole operation of downloading the jailbreak etc. for my boyfriend already had the stuff needed on his MacBook. So I simply hooked my iPad to his Mac and tapped a couple of icons. Or something. After a few minutes and a couple restarts, I had Cydia on my iPad and could start getting all those things I had been wanting to have for some time already.
1. Multiple user accounts
The truly number one reason for me to jailbreak my iPad. So the first thing I did after freeing my dear device from its Apple jail, was to download the iUsers app from Cydia. It makes a new setting "Users" in the Settings of the iPad, with which you can then create new user accounts. The first one you create will be the current account, the administrator. The other accounts get their own new profiles when switching to them for the first time.
There are a few things to understand when using the not-alltogether-bugfree iUsers (iUsers v.1.0.2 on the iOS 6.1):
    • even if you give different passcodes for different users, they will not take effect; the administrator passcode is forced on those accounts too
    • the first time you try to log in to a different accounts (with the users icon in the lock screen), it takes quite some time because of the profile creating (an hour or so even), and then takes you through the initial "creating a new iPad" wizard
    • after the initial log in, changing the user still takes a few minutes and does something funny that puts the iPad in safety mode (displayed on the status bar), so then you need to reboot the iPad in order to get the proper full mode again
    • the app data of at least some apps is not split to different users, so e.g. my accounts in Blogsy are visible and usable in my daughters' profiles too. This is a bit unfortunate, since in many cases that sort of beats the whole purpose of having multiple users
2. Notification bar toggles
One of the things I missed in the iPad from what I'd been used to with my Android Galaxy Tab was the ability to toggle things like the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, brightness etc. in the notification bar. With a jailbroken iPad you can have those too! You need a couple of apps for that, though:
    • the WinterBoard
    • and the SBSettings app
Then, with the SBSettings you can configure those toggles. It has a set of default ones, but you can also extend them by getting more toggles from Cydia (there is a button for that in the SBSettings).
3. Multitasking gestures
With the SBSetting you also get this Activator app, where you can adjust and change the iPad gestures to your own liking. I didn't really feel the need to do much, but I did download this addition for assigning multitasking gestures for my iPad. So now, instead of always needing to use the home button for switching between apps, I tap on the left/right corner of the status bar to go left and right. Not always the most convenient gesture because of some app buttons being too close to the status bar, but hey, the screen is already pretty full and most gestures already assigned.
4. Get the date and other stuff on status bar
Also in the SBSettings you can set the date&time&other data to be shown in the status bar.
5. Fake the user agent
Ever annoyed that you can't play your favorite videos in Youtube on the iPad (or iPhone)? Or that you are forced to a damn mobile site because you're using a tablet or phone? I have been, definately. So one of the first things I did was also to download the User Agent Faker. You can set the user agent of Safari and almost any other apps according to your preference, e.g. to appear like Chrome when sending request over the Internet.
6. Um... SSH, rooting and stuff
Now I'm not a Unix person in the least, so I really didn't find any need to be installing those things (at least not yet, we'll see if some reasons come up at some point), but since my boyfriend is, I know that's the thing quite many most probably would want, maybe even as the main reason for jailbreaking the iPad. But as it is, I'll point you to my boyfriend's blog for information on that.
7. Oh, and all them themes...
They're like skins for different parts of the iOS and the Cydia stuff and there's a lot of them. I only tried one for the toggles, but it didn't work. Apparently some of them require the WinterBoard mode, some the traditional SummerBoard mode. And they don't really say which...
The jailbreaking hasn't really caused any true problems for me, but sometimes the stuff seems to function slightly strangely:
  • The SBSettings and Activator icons seem to be a bit elusive; every now and then I'm missing them from my screens completely... But they usually re-appear when restarting the SpringBoard (the Cydia)
  • Once when I updated an app or addition or smtg in Cydia, I got 18 icons (things that should be hidden) on my screen, seemingly the Setup wizard bits and some Cydia stuff and e.g. game center duplicate :o They did vanish after a reboot of the iPad, though.

But still, I'm happy with the jailbreak. It allows me to customize my iPad so much more!

[Edit. April 12th 2014 - At some point the Safari on the iPad started crashing now and then. And then more frequently. And today, I had had enough, so I ended up un-jailbreaking it again, and updating to iOs7 at the same time.]

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