9 Practical Reasons to Jailbreak your iPhone 3G
Before the announcement of the App Store, unlocking or (“jailbreaking”) your iPhone was an easy decision because of the value added by the unlocked applications. However with the App Store and the overwhelming number of applications available through it (many of them useless), iPhone 3G owners may overlook useful applications offered by Cydia (the app-store offered with unlocking your phone). While there are many “novelty” applications available, this article reviews the practical applications that may entice an owner to jailbreak their 3G iPhone.
Alright, now on to the applications that iPhone 3G users may find useful:
1. QIK: The Qik application allows the user to stream video/audio live to their account on Qik.com. This application is particularly useful for users to broadcast concerts, sports games and other various events live through their phone to their friends. The user’s account on QIK.com has various privacy options and saves the live videos for later viewing. The option for automatically uploading to Facebook is also available.
2. Cycorder: Cycorder is a free video recorder for the iPhone. The quality of video is surprisingly good, but the one hurdle for the layperson is to get the video clips that they have recorded back on to their computer. The traditional way involves SSH, but the most user friendly way to get Cycorder’s video files off of your phone is to use the freeware DiskAid. There is an alternative video recorder that costs $19.99 that I have not had a chance to try.
3. iBlacklist: iBlacklist is an application that allows you to control who is able to get ahold of you and who is not (whether by phone or by text). The application has 4 options to block the caller: straight to voicemail, busy signal, no action, pick up and hang up. You can also black list everyone for certain times of the week when you do not want to receive any calls but still would like to access the other functions of your iPhone. While most of us do not have legions of people who we do not want calling us, a practical use for this application is to put pesky 1-800-#’s that call repeatedly on the “blacklist”.
4. PDANet: This application allows you to turn your iPhone into a wireless modem that you connect to your laptop. This means that you will always have the Internet for your laptop or any other device you decide to hook up. However, be wary of downloading large amounts of data (e.g. movies, songs) as your cell phone carrier will likely charge you absurd amounts for any data not downloaded through the iPhone. It is recommended that you only surf lightly until you receive your next phone bill. Once you have downloaded PDANet, follow this guide to help set up. Just don’t become a “lonely Canadian”.
5. Flash: Not allowing the Safari browser to play Flash video is really frustrating for users. However the plugin “imobilecinema” addresses this frustration. The plugin is accessed through Cydia and allows for you to view flash videos that are embeded within the mobile Safari browser. There are also other methods (namely videohamster) for viewing flash, however I found this to be the least convoluted way of doing it. Here is a quick video tutorial.
6. Backgrounder: Not being able to run two applications (apart from the ones Apple provides) simultaneously is another annoyance to users. Backgrounder enables the user to run more than one application at a time. After installed, you toggle the backgrounding function by simply holding the “home” button until there is a notification saying the app is running in the background.
7. BossPrefs: This application allows the user to have one-touch access to enabling certain settings (i.e. 3G, Edge, Wifi, Bluetooth) as well as hide any native apps that came with the phone that you may not be using (e.g. Stocks, Weather etc.) You can always turn these applications back on but you may want to clear space up on your desktop in the meantime.
8. Winterboard: Winterboard is primarily used to customize the interface of the iPhone. Once this app is installed, you download app “add-ons” in the way of different themes, fonts and other visual custom features. Instructions on how to create and install your own themes using Winterboard is explained here.
9. Status Notifier: This handy tool displays notification icons across the top menu bar (to the left of your battery icon), so that you do not have to “slide to unlock” your phone to see if you have any text messages, email, or missed calls etc.
Finally, if you can’t wait for certain functions arriving with OS 3.0 , you can also enable MMS picture messaging, copy and paste and a “search in mail” function.
Those are 9 reasons why an iPhone 3G user should still consider jailbreaking there phone. If you have any others, feel free to comment or send me an email.