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Jailbreaking made my iPhone fun and more usable

No, this isn’t illegal

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It’s been a month since the jailbreaking community got hyped over the latest jailbreak tool for iOS. At the same time, Apple’s iOS 14 announcement is just around the corner.

Jailbreaking was introduced way before the early releases of iOS through iPhone and iPod Touch. Coined from the word itself, jailbreaking is “breaking free” from the restrictions of iOS, Apple’s proprietary operating system.

This isn’t new to me. In fact, I was able to do it on my first ever iPhone 3Gs nearly seven years ago — back when I was just a high school student. As far as I can remember, it was risky yet successful.

Around that period, it’s when Apple announced a major design change through iOS 7. Unfortunately, devices older than the iPhone 4s are not supported. But with the power of jailbreaking, I was able to make my phone look like one. I even kept a single Instagram post as a remembrance.

Some of the iPhone users out there might not be contented with what iOS has to offer. And for someone (like me) who needs iOS services but wants to get more “Android-like” features, jailbreaking your iPhone is the closest answer.

Installation

This isn’t mainly a tutorial on how to jailbreak your iPhone. There’s a step-by-step installation video that helped me throughout the jailbreak process. Just make sure your phone is running iOS 13.5 or below. This method uses the unc0ver jailbreaking tool.

For devices running the patched iOS 13.5.1 or the latest iOS 13.5.5 Beta, you can still jailbreak your device through a different method with checkra1n‘s tool. If you have the latter version, watch this video instead.

Customization through jailbreak tweaks

If your iPhone shows Cydia on your home screen and runs without errors, it’s a sign that your iPhone is already jailbroken. If you’re not yet familiar, Cydia is the less intuitive (and cluttered) version of the App Store where you can find tons of tweaks that make your jailbroken iPhone magical.

Some jailbreak tools use Sileo as a substitute for Cydia with a refined UI. Only downside is that it still has incompatibilities in most tweaks.

By adding more repositories (or repos), you can gain more access to limited and exclusive tweaks that cannot be found through default tweak sources (such as BigBoss).

As most of these tweaks were made by several developers, most of them are free of charge. You should take note that advanced tweaks are paid.

Lock screen, Home Screen, and App Switcher

First thing you’ll notice is the different look of the lock screen. These are the tweaks I used:

  • Jellyfish is a tweak that completely overhauled my lock screen. It’s mostly compatible to music player tweaks. A free alternative would be April but it’s incompatible to other tweaks (which causes a crash then resprings into safe mode).
  • AOD allows you to add Always-On Display functionality in your OLED-powered iPhones (such as the iPhone X, XS, XS Max, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max).
  • Tap Tap Lock is a simple tweak that lets you lock your iPhone by double tapping anywhere on the home screen.
  • AutoUnlockX, from the word itself, it automatically unlocks your Face ID-powered iPhone without the hassle of swiping up. This is fast and convenient for users who are always in a hurry when unlocking their phones.

For years, iOS’ home screen has been stuck with a grid of app icons with the plain red notification badges. But with jailbreaking, customization is possible.

  • Velox Reloaded lets you transform home screen icons into widgets. This was rumored to be an iOS 14 feature but is possible through jailbreak.
  • dotto+ is a replacement tweak for iOS’ default notification badges. It adapts the color of the app’s icon and eliminates the notification count for a simpler appearance.
  • CastSwitcher is a tweak that replaces your old stacked card-style switcher into a grid, iPad-like switcher.
  • Dockify either lets your dock look transparent or hides the dock icons completely.

Other small tweaks you can install for your home screen:

  • AwesomePageDots makes those simple page dots more lively with the option to choose your preferred animation style.
  • HideLabels13 simply hides texts of apps on your home screen for a cleaner, minimalist look.
  • iconvibe adds haptic feedback whenever you open apps.
  • Manila is a simple tweak that reveals the apps found inside the folder through 3D/Force Touch menu.
  • No3DLines is a non-configurable tweak that hides lines whenever you activate 3D/Force Touch.

Notifications and Control Center

If some of you miss the bottom-style control center, Prysm brings back that nifty feature. Although it’s not a total rip-off of the iOS 10 control center, it still includes the rounded look of the latest Control Center in a less-cluttered order.

Other than the added power options (such as reboot, shutdown, respring, lock, and safe mode), it even displays the battery percentage of your Apple devices such as the AirPods and Apple Watch.

Other tweaks that are useful for Control Center:

  • RealCC lets you completely turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth toggles in Control Center.
  • CCModules adds more module options (and even app shortcuts) in your default iOS 13 control center.

And here’s a list of tweaks I installed that revamped my iPhone’s notification appearance:

  • Quart completely changes the overall look of your phone’s notifications. It has customizable rounded corners, header and content text sizes, and circular icons that go well with iOS 13’s rounded look.
  • ColorMeNotifs adds color to your notifications. Just like dotto+, it also adapts color based from the app’s icon.
  • NoDNDBanner is a tiny tweak that completely removes Do Not Disturb banner when activated.
  • PencilChargingIndicator replaces your old charging icon in favor of the Apple Pencil-like charging banner alert.
  • AirPods Case Low Battery is convenient if you carry an AirPods or AirPods Pro with you. It lets you prompt whenever the case is below the charged level.
  • Scorpion replaces the full call window into a less intrusive banner. You can now accept or decline calls without blocking what’s currently on your screen.
  • SilentRecorder hides the annoying red status on the time bar when the screen is recording.

Settings

Three tweaks are responsible for the changed look of the top and bottom bar:

  • noNotch completely hides the notch through a black bar and makes the app windows rounded. It gives the illusion of an iPhone without a notch.
  • DigitalBattery13 replaces the battery icon with a battery percentage symbol.
  • Saw maximizes the look of your app screen by removing the home bar and the bottom padding altogether.

For settings, here are two important tweaks:

  • shuffle categorizes setting list based on where they belong. Originally, the settings and tweaks list are both cluttered.
  • ModernSettings adds a visual graphic of your phone’s battery and storage information as well as basic details of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and even the phone itself.

There are also optional tweaks you can install to configure reachability:

  • Carbonite adds quick toggles whenever you activate reachability.
  • StayDown lets reachability stay as it is without coming back from its original position.

Apps

For music apps such as Apple Music and Spotify, these tweaks are helpful enough to make your playback more appealing:

  • StatusViz adds a little visualizer at the upper left corner of the screen whenever you play music — which replaces the time status.
  • ColorFlow 5 beautifies your music player by adapting the color of the album art as the background (instead of white).

For the camera app, here are tweaks that can imitate the look of iPhone 11 series’ camera UI on older devices:

  • Camera Features lets you change the camera layout of your old iPhones. It brings the exclusive camera UI of the iPhone 11 series — including the zoom slider, QuickTake, and the ability to tap and change video resolution and frame rate in video mode. Other than that, you also have the option to choose an iPad-style camera UI plus show/hide certain camera elements and modes.
  • PortraitXI is a tweak that lets you take portrait mode shots even if your iPhone only has a single lens.
  • Enlighten brightens most of shots taken in low-light. However, this isn’t a complete imitation of the Night Mode found on the iPhone 11 series.

For security, BioProtect XS is a helpful paid tweak that uses Face ID (or Touch ID on older devices) to lock specific apps — including system apps such as messages, photos, videos, Safari and more.

  • Safari Features completely enhances your Safari experience by adding a tab bar and even show a 2×2 grid switcher.
  • SmallSiri shows Siri through a small banner, instead of the usual full window prompt.
  • InstagramPlus is a handy paid tweak that lets you control your Instagram completely. Features include saving photos, videos on feed and through IG stories, follow status, anonymously see stories of other people, and the inclusion of Instagram Music even if your region isn’t supported.

Keyboard

The default keyboard in iOS is intuitive yet lacks certain features that make it stand out. Here are some tweaks to maximize your typing experience.

  • BarMoji lets you add your frequently used emojis at the bottom of the keyboard between the global keyboard switch and voice control icons.
  • Dark Keys enables a system-wide dark keyboard, which goes well if you’re in Dark Mode. Default iOS Dark Mode doesn’t darken the keyboard.
  • RealKeys adds a haptic (or taptic) feedback whenever you type. This makes typing more tactile and responsive.
  • AnyKeyTrackpad lets you swipe over texts and words by pressing any key on the keyboard. It’s not limited to the spacebar anymore.
  • DeleteCut is a helpful keyboard tweak that deletes words faster. Just click the shift key and it will delete multiple words instead of characters one by one.
  • For people who use different keyboards, Keyboard Accio is a tool that lets you switch between your first two input methods. Don’t worry, long press still works for other keyboard input.
  • MenuSupport replaces the text-heavy menu into a menu of icons when editing texts.
  • Finally, CopyLog is a wonderful tweak that lets you save all your copy-pasted texts (or paragraphs) through a snippet log.

Stability

Some tweaks may not run properly due to certain iOS and jailbreak version limitations or overlapping and incompatible tweaks installed. You can still prevent this from happening, use these utility tweaks:

  • FlyJB lets you bypass certain apps that detect jailbreak status. In that way, you can continue using your apps you need (such as Snapchat, McDonald’s, Pokémon Go) without worrying about complete removal of the jailbreak. Another similar tweaks are KernBypass and Unsub.
  • Flame is a specified tweak for Cydia which enables the user to batch add repos and auto resprings/reboots after a tweak download.
  • ReProvision is a tweaked app that prompts you to sign your jailbreak utility apps three days before they get revoked. This is helpful just in case you forgot to re-sign your jailbreak app or else, you’ll do the tedious process again from the beginning.
  • KeepMyJB removes the software update setting on Settings. Automatic updates won’t install, keeping your jailbreak alive and kicking.
  • iCleaner Pro lets you delete temporary files and tweak settings. These settings usually remain even after tweak uninstallation from Cydia.
  • Cr4shed is another tweak that lists and reports any app or task that caused a UI crash. This is helpful if ever one of your installed tweaks always gives your iPhone an error before it resprings into Safe Mode.

Misconception

Some users might think that jailbreak could “unlock” their factory-locked iPhones. In that case, jailbreaking isn’t the solution. If that’s what you’re after, you should bring your iPhone to a technician to get it unlocked.

Other accessible methods are the use of GPP sim chips that “partially” unlocks sim-locked iPhones from countries like US and Japan.

Legality

Although some countries might have certain laws and restrictions when it comes to Digital Rights Management (DRM), jailbreaking in most countries isn’t illegal. Jailbreaking may void your device if it’s still under warranty but rest assured that there are methods to unjailbreak your phone and bring iOS back to its default state through iOS restore.

Community

Don’t limit yourself from the tweaks I’ve listed. There are tons of jailbreak tweaks from various repos and developers. There are also a plethora of jailbreak tweak videos on YouTube from different YouTubers and jailbreakers.

Other than that, you can also join this reddit community where they mostly talk about iOS jailbreaking.

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TikTok, Reels clone YouTube Shorts launches in the US

Everyone wants a piece of the pie

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shorts

YouTube unveiled its short-video-making tool called Shorts last year, but it was in beta and limited to India. Shorts is now available to all creators in the US after testing them with select creators.

The initial release was quite hasty as it was supposed to bridge the vacuum left by TikTok’s ban in India. However, Instagram was much faster and well prepared to take on the challenge, dominating the turf over many local apps like Chingari, Roposo, and MX TakaTak.

YouTube is also adding a dedicated space in the bottom tab by replacing the explore button. In India, YouTube Shorts has a dedicated space on the top bar of the app. YouTube also displays Shorts in the home feed of the app after around 2-3 videos.

The goal is to incorporate a short video format in the existing app. While watching a “short”, users can tap on the music option to hear the full song via YouTube. Soon, the feature also will work the other way: From a YouTube music video, you will be able to click a “create” button right from the video to make your own Short.

Shorts will expand

The video platform’s music team has signed licensing agreements to use snippets of millions of songs from over 250 labels and publishers. It plans to expand Shorts to more markets later this year but it hasn’t specified which ones.

Ahead of the US launch, a bunch of new features has been added as well. There’s now an option to record 60-second clips in addition to the 15-second option. But users will not be able to add music from the YouTube library to 60-second Shorts. There are also new filters and effects in the YouTube Shorts camera.

In its most recent earnings report, YouTube confirmed that Shorts were generating 6.5 billion daily views, a substantial uptick over the 3.5 billion daily views that the feature was generating in late January.

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After years of settling, Twitter is finally waking up to new features

There’s so many of them in 2021

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Twitter has been around for a long time, and it has changed a lot since its debut. The micro-blogging platform was infamous for its 140 character limit, an intentional limitation that ensured everything on the site is short, crisp, and to the point. It’s no surprise that Twitter became the go-to website for news, independent alerts, and much more within no time.

Although, if you’ve been a Twitter user for a decade, you’ll know that the platform hasn’t changed much in all these years. Twitter did increase the length limit to 280 characters in 2017, but it had little change in the overall behavior of users. Twitter was always an easy-to-use “blog,” and it was happy being in its little inconquerable bubble.

Things are changing fast this year as Twitter aggressively adds new features and intends to open a subscription model soon. Obviously, there won’t be any change in the way we tweet or interact, but the number of features we have will surely increase. The platform is still silent about the most asked feature — the edit button on tweets. But rest assured, the classic Twitter experience isn’t going away anytime soon.


In fact, it’s going to get a lot more interesting as the platform now supports Spaces, a feature that allows users to join virtual rooms where they can engage in real-time audio conversations with others. Instead of typing, why not just talk candidly to all your followers?

Twitter began working on the audio-chat feature in November 2020, and it was available for beta and alpha users a few months ago. It’s now ready for public use, and any user with more than 600 followers can create a room and start talking. Audio-only features are the trend, and every company, including Facebook and Spotify, is doubling down on it.

Twitter has also confirmed that it is working on an upcoming feature called “Ticket Spaces.” This feature will allow users to create Spaces that require others to purchase a ticket to join. The platform has never been so keen on monetization, but the shift in strategy is clearly visible. Hosts will earn the majority of revenue from ticket sales, while Twitter will pocket a small fee.


In January 2021, Twitter discreetly acquired Revue, a Dutch startup that allows users to publish and monetize email newsletters. Just like SubStack, Revue lets you create your own newsletter and monetize it. However, what’s special here is, the newsletter is now integrated within Twitter. So, it makes it easier to persuade your existing followers to subscribe, helping you directly monetize your reach on Twitter.

The feature is already available on Twitter’s web app. Many say that a newsletter doesn’t work in Twitter’s favor, but the company tends to disagree.

“Many established writers and publishers have built their brand on Twitter, amassing an audience that’s hungry for the next article or perspective they Tweet. Our goal is to make it easy for them to connect with their subscribers while also helping readers better discover writers and their content. We’re imagining many ways to do this, from allowing people to sign up for newsletters from their favorite follows on Twitter to new settings for writers to host conversations with their subscribers. It will all work seamlessly,” said Kayvon, Product Lead at Twitter.


New functionality isn’t the only thing that’s keeping the engineers busy. The platform has always attracted controversy due to moderation, troll attacks, and indecent behavior. Thousands of accounts are removed every week to ensure community guidelines are followed to maintain a safe space for everyone.

In 2020, the company began testing a new safety mechanism that prompts users to reconsider before they reply to a tweet using “harmful” language.

If a user types out a reply with any of the language that the company has deemed harmful, they’ll see a warning message asking, “Want to review this before tweeting? We’re asking people to review replies with potentially harmful or offensive language.”

While this may not seem like much, previous reports have shown that these minor design-based hurdles help curb negativity. Based on trials, Twitter said that 34 percent of people revised their initial reply after seeing the prompt or chose not to send the reply at all.


Lastly, Twitter has changed the way its algorithm crops a picture to show it on the timeline. Now, when users tweet a photo uploaded with their iOS or Android device, it will appear in the timeline in its entirety. There’ll be no cropping, so you won’t be forced to open the picture and see all the details.

Earlier, the algorithm would determine the most sensible part of the picture, crop it, and show a preview on the feed. This prompted many to share memes that could be completely seen only when the picture is opened. Else, it could look context-free and random. While most users are cheering the minor change, many feel that the surprise element behind seeing a photo is now gone. Fair to say, it’s going to be impossible to please everyone!

Though, we’d really appreciate it if Twitter could give us an edit button as well.

Read Also: Twitter acquires ad-removing news app Scroll

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Apple Music could soon support HiFi audio streaming

Launch alongside the AirPods 3?

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Apple One

Apple is primarily a hardware company, and a majority of its revenue comes from iPhones. However, it has actively diversified and monetized services like Apple Music. Taking a step forward, the company could soon unveil HiFi music playback on the streaming service, directly going up against niche players like Tidal.

According to Hits Daily Double, Apple Music will soon get a new tier that’ll provide higher-quality output. Interestingly, it’ll be available for just US$ 9.99, far affordable than the competition. However, this is still a rumor and should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Many other streaming companies offer HiFi music streaming, and recently, Spotify also announced its plans to provide better streaming quality. It’s not clear which markets will be among the first to get HiFi playback.

Apple Music streaming quality currently tops out at 256kbps AAC, and while that’s very crisp and clear, it’s still compressed. On the other hand, a studio-quality CD has an audio output equivalent of 9,216kbps. The difference in quality isn’t easily differentiable via an ordinary earphone and headphone, though. Audiophiles use high-end equipment that isn’t required if you’re just an average Joe wanting to listen to Taylor Swift.

The source also speculates that Apple will unveil the AirPods 3 alongside the HiFi announcement. Although, trusted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo had gauged a launch in Q3 of 2021.

It’s also worth noting that Apple Music getting Hi-Res audio playback is practically useless because the iPhone doesn’t have a DAC (digital to analog converter), which plays a critical role in sending accurate signals to the audio device.

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