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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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WhatsApp delays roll-out of new privacy policy until May

Signal and Telegram are trending instead

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Photo by Dimitri Karastelev on Unsplash

WhatsApp rolled out a new privacy policy that clearly specifies how the instant messaging app will leverage your data for monetization. But the new privacy policy is on hold.

WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, has announced that it will delay enforcing its new privacy terms from February 8 to May 15. In the blog post, the company says that none of its privacy-focused features are changing.

“We’re also going to do a lot more to clear up the misinformation around how privacy and security works on WhatsApp. We’ll then go to people gradually to review the policy at their own pace before new business options are available on May 15,” the statement said.

It faced massive backlash as users are worried about their personal data. When the privacy policy changes went public last week, the response from the public was downright brutal. Alternative apps like Telegram and Signal started trending worldwide as users started joining it in hopes of ditching WhatsApp.

Even though WhatsApp is end-to-end encrypted, Facebook will still fetch some crucial information like your transactions, location, and other behavioral data from linked Instagram profile. And, we all know Facebook has a nasty reputation as far as personal data management is concerned. What makes it even more outrageous is that the policy is leave or take, and there’s no third option.

In the wording used, WhatsApp says the new privacy policy will change how it partners with Facebook to “offer integrations” and that businesses can use Facebook services to manage WhatsApp chats. It said that hat all private messages between friends and family members will remain end-to-end encrypted.

According to a CNBC report, India’s technology ministry also asked WhatsApp to withdraw planned changes to its privacy policy that has drawn widespread backlash.

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Ultrahuman is an all-in-one fitness app

Workout, meditate and sleep soundly

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Staying physically and mentally fit is extra challenging during a pandemic, but it’s become essential now more than ever. Ultrahuman is a fitness app launched that offers a very convenient platform that targets the three main health points: physical exercise, meditation and sleep. It helps you stay fit from the moment you wake up until you go to bed!

This newest app, which debuted on CES 2021, features different content per category. It includes home workouts and yoga programs from world-class athletes and professional trainers to focus on your physical strength. You can choose from various workouts — from running and yoga to weightlifting and HIIT. The app is designed for all fitness levels.

With the app’s biofeedback technology, you can also track your heart rate and calories burned in real-time.

There’s also content focusing on mindfulness, including guided meditations, bedtime stories, calming meditation music, nature and sleep sounds, breathing exercises, among others. Manage stress and anxiety better by improving your mental health and sleeping patterns with the help of this series.

You can also listen to “brain music”, a section where you can find songs curated by “neuro-musicians” that aids focus, sleep and productivity.

Ultrahuman also partnered with UCLA, Mindsize, and Unified Mindfulness to bring the best of mind science and technology together.

The app is available on iOS and Android, and is already rolled out across 50+ countries globally. It’s been recognized by Apple as one of the top apps they love. Apple Watch users can also integrate their app to track their health progress real-time.

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Prepare your meals through your phone, fridge using Samsung SmartThings

The kitchen, simplified

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With everything going on in the world, it’s no surprise that people are spending more time in the kitchen and looking out for new recipes.

The good news? Samsung has just the thing to get it sorted quickly and easily. They’re bringing in Family Hub features into mobile users through the SmartThings app.

Samsung’s SmartThings Cooking service helps bring all of your Samsung kitchen appliances together. How? It lets you search, plan, purchase, and meal prep seamlessly through your phone or fridge through the SmartThings app.

On top of that, it recommends customized recipes based on your taste and preferences while considering ingredients available to you. You can scroll through recipe collections when you’re undecided or quickly zero-in on meals that suit your cravings.

SmartThings Cooking, powered by Whisk, is accessible through Samsung’s SmartThings. If you’ve got the Family Hub in your smart kitchen arsenal, there’s no need to fret.

The fridge keeps tabs of what you have and don’t, adding missing ingredients directly to your online grocery cart for at-home deliveries. Not to mention, you can shop through Walmart, Kroger, Instacart, and Amazon Fresh, using the Whisk network.

With SmartThings added to the Family Hub smart fridge, you get to enjoy all the cool features and more! You get to access your other smart kitchen gadgets through widgets on the screen, prioritize most used apps, and feature family photos, notes, and recipes.

And, if cooking is what you’re worried about, Samsung has you covered for even that. SmartThings guides you through easy cooking steps and lets you control cooking modes, temperatures, and time settings with one touch. Leaving you with little room for error.

So, with all that in mind, was it really a surprise to see Samsung’s Family Hub win its sixth consecutive CES Innovation Award this year? For us, not quite.

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