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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 a lot of jailbreak tweaks from various repos and developers. There are a lot 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.

Apps

Facebook wants to acquire Dubsmash to fight TikTok

Snapchat also wanted to get in on it

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Do you remember Dubsmash? Before TikTok’s meteoric rise, Dubsmash dominated the short-form video format. The platform’s lip-syncing format prototyped TikTok’s current mashup trends. It even facilitated the rise of some celebrities like Maine Mendoza. However, TikTok eventually snatched Dubsmash’s seat atop app rankings. However, despite Dubsmash’s decline, the platform has not disappeared just yet. In particular, Facebook wants to acquire Dubsmash to fight TikTok.

According to The Information’s sources, Facebook and Snap recently expressed interest in buying Dubsmash. Apparently, discussions have already progressed far enough to reach a potential price reaching hundreds of millions of dollars.

Going against The Information’s report, Reuters has reported that Snap had already exited the acquisition talks and dropped all interest. Facebook, however, did not comment.

With TikTok facing tremendous pressure from the American government, the stage is set for a potential upheaval of the short-form video format. On one hand, Microsoft and Twitter are already considering buying out TikTok’s American operations, facilitating TikTok’s continued dominance albeit under new management. In another possibility, Facebook’s Instagram recently launched Instagram Reels, a homegrown alternative to TikTok. Now, Facebook’s interest in Dubsmash expresses a new possibility of reviving a former player to upend TikTok.

Of note, Facebook’s interest coincides with Mark Zuckerberg’s current battle against the government over alleged and proven antitrust practices, including acquiring rival companies to stifle competition.

Regardless, TikTok’s woes has busted the app industry wide open. Who will take over TikTok’s dominance on the boards? Will TikTok even survive?

SEE ALSO: TikTok has collected user information illegally

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Google turns Android into world’s largest earthquake detection system

Using technology to make a difference

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2020 is the epitome of chaos with a pandemic, fear of cyber warfare, and government incapability. Amid all the negativity, Google has some refreshing news. Android, the world’s most widely used mobile operating system, will now leverage its reach to help detect an earthquake.

Pretty much every Android phone today sports an accelerometer, a sensor that can help detect seismographic movement. When this sensor is clubbed along with the user’s GPS data, researchers can use the phone as a live seismometer.

The University of California-Berkeley, along with funding from the state of California has launched a new app called MyShake. The app can use the phone’s onboard sensors to feed data in a massive network of devices that are constantly monitoring seismographic movement across the globe.

Using this same technology, Google is taking a step forward. Instead of relying on an app, it’s incorporating Android Earthquake Alerts System on every phone running on Google Play Services. The system is being touted as “the world’s largest earthquake detection network.”

The company studied historical accelerometer readings during earthquakes and found they could give some users up to a minute of notice. Since the feature is being rolled out via Play Services, the alerting system will be available on all active phones within a few weeks. The user won’t have to depend on the software update roll-out.

“We are on a path to delivering earthquake alerts wherever there are smartphones,” said Richard Allen, director of the University of California-Berkeley’s seismological lab and visiting faculty at Google over the last year.

Proactive alerts shall be limited to California for now. Google added that “over the coming year, you can expect to see the earthquake alerts coming to more states and countries using Android’s phone-based earthquake detection.”

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Google launches virtual visiting profile called People Cards

Time to google yourself!

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Have you ever googled yourself? If not, this new feature on Google search will surely prompt you to give it a shot. The search engine wants to make it easier to find new people and has unveiled a new feature in India called People Cards.

People Cards act like your virtual visiting card. If someone’s looking for you on Google, they’ll usually come across a few social media profile links or any other online content you’re associated with. Thanks to the new card, you can directly control how much information you want to keep up front.

The feature is limited to the mobile app for now. To set up your own card, all you need is an active mobile number and a Google account. It’s also limited to India for the time being and only supports English.

To create your own card, just:

  • Open the Google app on your phone.
  • Search for “add me to Search.”
  • You’ll immediately see a prompt to set up your card and after mobile number authentication, you’re all set.

You can enter brief details about yourself, add a bio, link social media profiles, and even make it easier to connect with you by publishing your email, website, or mobile number.

While the feature makes discovering people easy, it also opens a floodgate of privacy concerns. Spammers can easily collect information from the partially open system. We advise our readers to proceed with caution and ensure they’re not divulging any personal details.

Individuals who have already created their cards can opt-out of the experience anytime. In the case of people who share the same name, Google Search will show multiple modules.

The search giant says it has a number of mechanisms to fight spam and abuse. Only one card can be created by an account and you can flag a card in case of false information or an imposter.

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