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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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Starbucks Mobile Order & Pay 2.0: Cut through the queue

Make life less hectic!

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Starbucks Mobile

When you’re an adult, coffee isn’t just a power-up drink helping you get through the day. It becomes an avenue for conversation, an invitation to meet people, a kick you need to fuel your creativity and productivity.

While there are several ways to brew coffee and there are different local neighborhood cafés to explore, Starbucks has always been within reach. And it has ingrained itself as an important part of my working life. A staple of the modern workforce’s culture. A lifestyle — tradition to an extent — that seeped in through the interstices of friendships and family.

When the pandemic struck, I started learning how to brew my own coffee. Occasionally, I order my caffeine fix through Grab or Foodpanda. But the experience isn’t the same.

Keyword: Experience. That’s precisely what Starbucks offers. So when Starbucks Philippines sent me a holiday card to try the new Mobile Order & Pay, a feature they had for a while that was rehashed, I decided it’s time to go out and try again.

Exploring the app

The Mobile Order & Pay 2.0 is available through the Starbucks app. If you’re a Starbucks lover, you probably have an account registered to Starbucks Rewards. The app is easy to use, particularly because of its clean user interface (UI) design.

Through the Starbucks app, you can check your account’s transaction history, monitor the stars collected via the Rewards program, and make some changes to your personal profile and payment methods. The app also has a lot of promotional materials, parading their latest drinks and treats that you can avail yourself of in-store or online.

Starbucks Mobile

And more importantly, you can reload your account, register your cards, and of course, get ahead of your day and order your favorite beverages.

Cut through the line

Once I got my cards settled in, I ordered my go-to drink: Cold brew topped with four pumps of white mocha sauce. I placed my order through the Mobile Order & Pay 2.0 feature, which gave me four options to pick up my order. Although, the options vary depending on the closest branch near you.

There’s the usual In-store pickup where you head straight to the pickup counter for your order. Yes, you won’t get in line anymore. When I tried this pickup option, everyone gave me looks when I went past the queue and headed straight to ask the Barista about my order. I had the audacity to ask about my drink because the app notified me when the order was ready.

Starbucks Mobile

When I got my drink, I walked out of the store feeling ravished. It felt like I was in a slow-mo montage of a coming-of-age film where the protagonist suddenly did something extraordinary. Frankly, this is my favorite pickup option. It makes so much sense to just get your orders if you can walk inside. And that gives you extra steps for your smartwatch to count. Get moving, people!

But if you don’t like the hassle of scanning your QR codes and getting your temperature checked, or the usual mumbo-jumbo you encounter inside a store, there are other pickup options outside.

Just wait outside

My other favorite option was the Outdoor pickup, which I chose when I was passing by Starbucks The Grove — my favorite branch in Pasig. I was dead-tired from a weekend night-out with my friends at Okada Manila, and the all-night casino adventure bled through a Monday morning.

I was on my way home, ready for work. Then, I realized I badly need the good ol’ Barista Drink. Nothing can beat an americano topped with white mocha sauce splashed with sub-breve (and no water!). Especially when it comes to waking you and your senses up. More importantly, you can have it served iced or hot depending on your preferences.

Starbucks Mobile

I placed my order when I was already in Arcovia City, a kilometer away from The Grove by Rockwell. Apparently, you can’t order ahead for an Outdoor pickup if you’re 3 kilometers away, which I tried to do when I was still in Taguig. So you have to be close to the branch if you want to place your order.

I tried to do the math in my head, calculating if I can pull over for a minute while I wait for my order. But I’m bad at numbers so I went ahead. The app said the order will be ready in five to six minutes anyway.

I pulled over when I arrived at the branch, and I didn’t wait long enough for one of my favorite baristas to come out to my chosen pickup point and hand me my order.

Stay in your car

I hate parking. Or wasting the time spent trying to park properly in between enormous SUVs. Or finding a spot to park your vehicle. This is why I don’t understand the Curbside pickup option, where the barista locates your designated parking slot and gives your order while practicing social and safe distancing.

I tried the pickup option in Starbucks Sierra Valley — a humongous, stand-alone branch with a massive parking space and drive-thru option found east of Metro Manila.

Starbucks Mobile

If you’re in a time crunch, this option really doesn’t make sense. But if you have a few moments to spare and you don’t want to get out of your vehicle for safety measures against the COVID-19 (and its variants), then the Curbside pickup is the way to go.

Frankly speaking, it doesn’t work for me. I know having your order brought to you is part of the experience, but I value my time. And it was against my morals to just sit inside my car and wait for the barista to come out and bring my order. In my head, they could be doing more valuable things than going outside the store, when I can pick up my order at their counter.

The In-store pickup is the fastest option in my experience, and I feel good doing the task instead of sitting and waiting around. I guess it’s my can-do attitude speaking, but that’s how I’m really built.

Drive through it

Now, there’s another option to get your order: Drive-thru pickup. You just have to line up in a queue of cars and wait for your turn. Like the Curbside pickup option, I didn’t like the Drive-thru pickup for one reason: It takes too long to get through the drive-thru window.

People are afraid to get out of their vehicles because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that’s valid. That’s why there are plenty of cars lining up to get their caffeine fix. I spent roughly 30 minutes waiting for my turn, which annoyed me since it would’ve been faster if I chose the In-store or Outdoor pickup.

Making life less hectic

Regardless of my rants and experience, the Mobile Order & Pay 2.0 lets you get your favorite treats and beverages conveniently. In the way you like it.

While I’ve loved the In-store and Outdoor pick-up because they work well with my personality and lifestyle, I know some people (read: friends) would enjoy the Curbside and Drive-thru pickup. Especially since they’re cautious about the pandemic.

Not that I’m not wary of the virus being out there, I just value my time because every second counts. If I wanted to waste my time waiting, I would’ve lined up inside.

Nevertheless, the rehashed feature is worth giving a try. Through the Starbucks app, you can customize your orders. Just like your baristas, the app can modify the size, the number of espresso shots, dairy selection, and various options for your order. All done with just a single tap on your smartphone.

Frankly speaking, the Mobile Pay & Order 2.0 made my life easier especially when I’m in a hurry to get a caffeine fix. Not all days can be spent brewing your coffee, living in a slowed-down lifestyle. Some days, we just need to get through it, and Starbucks knows how to accompany me through those days.

The Starbucks PH app is available on The App Store and Google’s Play Store.

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The ABIZO OFW app helps monitor and respond to OFWs’ needs

Local government agencies have adopted the app, too!

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Being apart from our loved ones can make us anxious about their safety as they live and work abroad. Now, families can rest easy with a new mobile app called ABIZO OFW — which is currently backed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

The app offers peace of mind to both Filipinos working overseas as well as their families with its real-time update to help monitor their situations across different countries. It allows OFWs to send out real-time emergency alerts and incident reports, as well as update their contact information and participate in surveys that would help government agencies provide timely responses to their concerns.

Moreover, the platform has an integrated call-center service for emergency responses. This service coordinates with other government agencies and international service providers to offer fast solutions, especially against abusive and dangerous working conditions.

There’s also a Pilot Red Button — a feature that, with a single tap on the mobile app, generates a simulation of the communication process of a request for assistance. This is to establish benchmark parameters and conduct user experience research, which will aid in the management and provision of critical support for OFWs who are working in hazardous conditions outside the Philippines.

Participating agencies

These government agencies can provide timely responses to a user’s concern sent through the app: POEA, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Philippine Overseas Labor & Office (POLO), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

The ABIZO OFW App is free to download via the Apple App Store and Google’s Play Store.

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TikTok wants to get into streaming with TikTok Live Studio

Ongoing experiment rolls out to few thousand users

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Everyone’s getting into streaming these days. Since the pandemic started, people at home have figured out more ways to either make money or keeping themselves entertained while at home. As such, streaming platforms — like Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook Gaming — erupted in popularity. Everyone, including platforms themselves, wants to get into the lucrative industry. As confirmed by a new experiment, TikTok is joining that growing group.

Spotted by streaming news reporter Zach Bussey, TikTok has quietly released its own streaming platform called TikTok Live Studio. Currently still in an experimental phase, the software allows TikTok users to broadcast apps and games to TikTok.

If you’re familiar with streaming software, TikTok’s software has the same functions. It allows users to monitor their chat, set up scenes, and control streaming quality options. Users can stream in portrait, landscape, or from their mobile device.

The report states that the software shares the same code as OBS, one of the most popular streaming software available today. In essence, it’s an OBS fork.

OBS is open-source and available for other software companies to use or customize. However, the developer still requires other companies to comply with certain guidelines. Ben Torell, an OBS developer, said that the current state of TikTok Live Studio does not comply with those guidelines and is, therefore, an illegal fork of OBS. Just last month, Streamlabs, another popular software, was found guilty of doing the same.

TikTok Live Studio is still experimental. The company rolled the software out to only a few thousand users in a few countries for testing. Though it does not portray what TikTok streaming might look like, it shows that TikTok is taking the huge market seriously.

SEE ALSO: TikTok overtakes YouTube in hours watched

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