How iOS 7 Helped Me Kick My Jailbreaking Addiction

iOS-7-Jailbreak-and-iOS-6.1.3-Jailbreak1

I’ve had iPhones for years, but I’ve never really been keen on using one that wasn’t jailbroken. As much as I love iOS, some of Apple’s decisions always kept my iPhone from working exactly how I wanted it to.

Jailbreaking gave me the ability to sidestep those limitations and make iOS my own. I could experience some of the freedom that Android users have grown to love while retaining the reliability, stability and polish of iOS. While I was frustrated that Apple wasn’t making major changes to improve its platform, I was happy that I could make them myself using unauthorized third-party tweaks.

Then I started using iOS 7, and everything changed.

iOS has finally reached the point where everything you need from a mobile platform is baked into it. There is certainly room for advancement, but the time and effort it takes to maintain a jailbroken device is no longer worth the few improvements you get by taking matters into your own hands.

Breaking the Jailbreaking Habit

As a longtime jailbreaker, I’d grown to love the plethora of apps and tweaks available through Cydia — the jailbreaker’s version of the App Store — that weren’t sanctioned by Apple, and I had significantly more control over my iPhone than the company would have wanted me to.

Not only could I tweak simple things — like the number of apps I could put into a folder or how many icons I could fit into the dock — but I could also make bigger changes, like changing the way multitasking worked, choosing my own default apps, and activating features like tethering and FaceTime over 3G.

But my mindset toward jailbreaking started to change last June when Apple released its first iOS 7 beta to developers. I had access to a developer account, so I knew I could get early access to the update if I wanted to — but that meant giving up my jailbreak.

I pondered this for a few hours, going over all the tweaks and unofficial apps I’d lose if I tried the beta. I eventually installed it on my iPhone 5, and I can’t tell you how much I regretted that decision over the next few days.

iPhone5sios7

At first, I hated iOS 7. That was mostly because of the design: I thought the changes Apple made were terrible. I even wrote a piece about how “iOS 7 reminds us to be careful what we wish for,” in which I criticized the amateur look of the new, flat icons, and the inconsistencies between different parts of the OS.

At first, I hated iOS 7.

On top of that, I’d lost the jailbreak tweaks I’d grown to love.

I was so disillusioned that I switched over to an Android smartphone for a while, and only went back to my iPhone when it was time to research my contributions for Cult of Mac’s review of iOS 7.

After forcing myself to spend more time with the iPhone and its new OS, I started to feel differently about it. I began to look beyond the design changes, and I quickly realized that a lot of the additions and improvements Apple had made replaced jailbreak tweaks I loved.

A lot of the changes Apple made replaced jailbreak tweaks I loved.

I finally had the ability to put more than 12 apps into one folder. I could hide the Newsstand icon that I rarely tapped. The Clock icon actually told me the right time. And when I double-tapped my home button, I saw actual previews of all the apps I’d recently used.

Gaining Control of iOS 7

One of the most important additions was Control Center. This allowed me to toggle things like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, or change the brightness of the display, without ever having to open the Settings app. I could activate my iPhone’s LED light with a swipe and a tap, and shortcuts made it easy to get to useful apps from anywhere within the OS.

I then discovered that I could install unofficial emulators and play my favorite Game Boy Advance and Super Nintendo games on my iPhone without having to jailbreak it.

These new features eliminated the need for apps and tweaks like LiveClock, SBSettings, InfiniFolder, and Auxo. Better yet, since they were official features built into the operating system, I didn’t have to worry about them slowing down my iPhone or making it buggy and unstable.

Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 14.06.28I also liked that all my apps worked as they should, and that I could install iOS updates as soon as they became available.

Indeed, iOS 7 isn’t completely perfect just yet — and some tweaks can still enhance the experience for jailbreakers. For instance, I still miss f.lux, and I’d love to be able to change my default apps as I see fit. But for me, these tweaks aren’t worth the drawbacks that jailbreaking can bring.

If you’re an avid jailbreaker, you will be familiar with these drawbacks. You will have installed tweaks that caused your iPhone to become unstable, had a negative affect its battery life, or prevented some of your favorite apps from working properly. And you will have experienced the pain of having to wait weeks — sometimes months — to update to the latest iOS release for fear of losing your jailbreak.

Still, old habits die hard. I tried the latest jailbreak on my iPhone 5s last week, but after trawling through Cydia for a while, I couldn’t find more than three tweaks worth installing under iOS 7. As soon as I ran into a bug, I decided it was time to restore.

So, for now, jailbreaking the iPhone is a thing of the past for me. I’m happy with iOS 7 as Apple intended it to be, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the Cupertino company delivers in future updates. I’m also looking forward to installing iOS 7.1 the day it’s made available to the public — and not having to wait for it to be jailbroken.

Related
  • monstermasten

    The new multitasking is so horrible I ALMOST think somebody should get fired for it. Sure, it looks good on a screenshot, but if you actually measured how long it took to find the right app, you’d find that the old one, where you scrolled through SETS of 4 and 4, was so much more efficiant.

    Poor design. I have jailbroken my device, and downloaded the iOS 6 multitasking.

  • Silverrune

    It would be very neat to see them redesign the way they do the multitasking to be like passbook. Have it with the windows like they currently are but stack them so they are scrollable like in passbook.

  • gettysburg11s

    I’d have to agree, for the most part. iOS 7 is far and away better than iOS 6. The only minor problems are the questionable colors on some of the stock app’s icons, and the slow-ish animations. I have read that 7.1 will speed up the animations and changes some of the odd icon colors, so I should be all set.

    I too, jail-broke iOS 7.0.4. It was ok. I really love Springtomize 3. However, battery life was worse, and I want to be ready when iOS 7.1 hits, so I restored to stock.

  • david_fabian

    I have to disagree with @monstermasten. Tthe iOS 7 switcher is more than just 3 large screenshots of running apps; when you scroll using the app icons below the speed is much faster. So for a simpler workflow, eg. looking something up on safari, then switching to a note app, the larger “screenshot” view works well, and when switching to an app used further back in time use the speedy scrolling of the icons on the bottom.

    Many of iOS 7′s innovations/efficiencies require slight adjustments in user behavior, but the reward is still there. Another example is the removing of the “.com” shortcut from the Safari keyboard; some people complained that it is less intuitive to hold on the “.” to bring up the shortcut, but those who adjusted their behavior were rewarded–now just hold on the “.” for half a second and release and you have the same behavior.

    Similarly swiping down for Spotlight; it’s not an immediately obvious interface, but it’s now quicker to search the phone from any homescreen page. And iOS does a pretty good job distinguishing between user swipes considering the added gestures: Control Center, Spotlight, Back Gesture, with existing homescreen page swiping and Notification Center. There are also additional Accessability adjustments that can be made should a user not like certain behaviors: Disable Control Center, Animations and Parallax, Increase font boldness, etc. Of course there is still room for improvement, but I think iOS 7 is heading in the right direction.

  • DJBabyBuster

    “MyWi” Free tethering, “Nitrous” to enable javascript for non apple apps to run as fast as they can without apple limitations (with it Chrome is faster than safari), “BrowserChooser” to change your default browser, “NoSlowAnimations” speeds up everything, “3G Unrestrictor 5″ removes any apps with wifi only limitations (great if you have unlimited data), “SwitchSpring” allows easy respring and ability to close all apps from within regular app switcher, “Controllers for all” allows you to connect PS3 controllers to use in any controller supported game without dropping $100 on a MIFI certified controller, and “flex2″ allows user submitted patches for a melody of apps.

    I agree if you jailbroke immediately on iOS7 that there wasn’t much to offer, and it was very buggy with the miscommunication between the evasi0n team and Saurik not coordinating, but the store is better than ever now with excellent tweeks and mods available. I highly recommend trying the jailbreak again before updating to iOS7.1 and losing the option.

  • MrsCleaver

    Interesting article, but one I couldn’t disagree with more.

    Stock iOS 7 certainly provides some features over iOS 6, like Control Center, but CC is simply lame in comparison to the latest iOS 7 jailbreak offerings. When jailbroken, the Control Center can be completely customized for one’s needs or likes. Naturally, there are many other aspects of the phone that can be tweaked and themed, as Killian pointed out.

    Personally, I prefer iOS 6 (jailbroken with evasi0n). After playing with friends’ iPhone 5 and 5s models on iOS 7, there is nothing I’m missing. iTunes radio may be nice… unless you own TuneIn radio, which can additionally save recordings of anything you listen to. Control Center may be nice, if all you want is the four or five toggles Apple decides you need. For example, I never need to flip on my LED, nor do I need a shortcut to the camera from CC. I prefer to choose what I want to toggle, and Apple should allow me to do this.

    Like many others, I find the over-white, over-bright backgrounds annoying, especially when surrounding my photos. Also, the system-wide font is too thin for my taste, the line-green button-state color is garish, and although Apple is moving to the flat theme on all devices, it’s not to my liking. Skeuomorphism is one of the things that first distinguished Apple from other platforms, and for my taste, a little of it is nice. Just because Jony Ive doesn’t like it, does that mean none of us should enjoy that look? Certain aspects of iOS 7 look like it was designed for a teenage girl… and it probably was!

    I appreciate Killian’s observations, but I just don’t agree. And for the record, I don’t know how deeply he delved into the depths of his iDevices, but so far I have not encountered one jailbreak tweak or add-on that has caused a problem or a crash. My evasi0n jailbroken iPhone 5 is rock solid, and friends who have jailbroken iOS 7 on both the 5 and 5s have similar results. More usefulness, more control, customizable look and feel, and all with no discernible penalty.

    One day, perhaps, Apple will open the iOS for more customization. There’s no reason not to, except for the silly notion often cited by Apple store employees that “the Genius bar would be crowded with people wanting to know how to operate their iPhones.” Sorry, but the Genius Bar is already crowded… and many of them are teenage girls.

    Jailbreak, and have fun!

  • taherce

    I can’t deny that iOS 7 has many new features that covered some of the reasons why we used to jailbreak our phones but iOS still lacks very important features that I can’t live without .. For example : Mail app, till this moment we are unable to attach different file extensions from the native mail app and I need to send each file within the app where I saved these files in … Second feature is file explorer which gives the freedom to store my files in one assigned folder and I can explore all files stored in my phone and the ability to email them at once through mail app…. Downloading files through safari and save them in a certain folder or sending them by Bluetooth … Downloading music and saving them directly to iTunes … All these features are very important and can’t be done without jail break … In my region FaceTime is not allowed and has been taken from iOS and I can only bring it back when I jailbreak my phone … So apple needs to work more on these features and give more freedom to use our phones it’s really bad to buy a device that costs us a lot without leaving us to decide what to do with them.

  • JoeStreno

    Funny, I too jailbroke my iPhone 5 running iOS 7, and after a while decided to go back to stock iOS 7. The only tweak I really miss is SwipeSelection. I still find myself running my finger over the keyboard trying to move through editable text on the screen. I also like that my phone is more stable. I’ve Jailbroken since the first iPhone. iOS 7 seems to fulfill many of the needs jailbreaking gave me in the early days. Add SwipeSelection and some BiteSMS functionality to iOS 7.x and I’d be a happier camper. Though I’m quite content with the OS as is. Thanks for the article.

  • Paul Burt

    I can’t deny that iOS 7 has many new features that covered some of the reasons why we used to jailbreak our phones but iOS still lacks very important features that I can’t live without .. For example : Mail app, till this moment we are unable to attach different file extensions from the native mail app and I need to send each file within the app where I saved these files in … Second feature is file explorer which gives the freedom to store my files in one assigned folder and I can explore all files stored in my phone and the ability to email them at once through mail app…. Downloading files through safari and save them in a certain folder or sending them by Bluetooth … Downloading music and saving them directly to iTunes … All these features are very important and can’t be done without jail break … In my region FaceTime is not allowed and has been taken from iOS and I can only bring it back when I jailbreak my phone … So apple needs to work more on these features and give more freedom to use our phones it’s really bad to buy a device that costs us a lot without leaving us to decide what to do with them.

    None of those features, with the possible exception of the mail attachments, are super important. The FaceTime issue is a problem with your carrier, not Apple.

    Stop acting like you’re entitled to the features you want. No one is forcing you to buy an iPhone! If it doesn’t do what you want, buy an Android or WP; that’s the beauty of choice.

  • Tyler Allen

    Wow. Crazy! An unjailbroken iphone is garbage! Lets not even go into GUI mods of io7 that i love. “Virtual Home” makes you not even have to press the home button. (5s required) senses a finger on fingerprint sensor and open (no print read requited like on lockscreen for speed) . “controllers for all” allows you to pair a ps3 controller w/ ipad and play new games with bluetooth gamepad due to new APIs in ios7 (GTA:SA/Kotor/Limbo). Tether Me…cause i’m already paying for my LTE. I’ll hotspot if i want to! $30 a month..haha! CCControls for more options in Control Center like a home button/multiasking trigger ect. mobile terminal cause i’m a terminal in my dock guy. with things like sudo ect making it functional. ifile so i have a finder for my phone. Ya know…a file system. waiting for safari download manager to be updated to make safari have native downloading! “Nitrous” so chrome can tap into the javascript JIT compiler making it faster like safari if you like it. Tons! Then again modified GUI. SBrotator to rotate springboard like ipad so you can hold in landscape. Folder enhancer so you can put folders inside folders. icons overrides (winterboard easy way) for themes. I use a custom icon set I created in photoshop/illustrator for both phone and mac for minimalism.

  • samdgadii

    Only need 1 reason to jailbreak my iDevices… (PMP) Protect My Privacy! Deny location access or allow… Or give a fake location. Why some Apps need to know some of these things is beyond me. Deny Apps the ability to access my devices unique Advertising Identifier and unique “Device Identifier”… or totally block a App from being able to access the internet completely. (in light of the latest Snowden – NSA – Angry Birds revelation, I’m sure glad I don’t have Apps that have NO internet usage reasoning running on my phone; not to mention a helpful tidbit for those NOT on unlimited data plans. Once I installed this I was shocked at just how many apps that have no internet use want to use my internet nonetheless.)

    On a side note; it boggles me to this day why no one yet has given attention to how UnSmart iOS 7′s notification center is. The previous version wasn’t that smart either but it was smarter than what it is now – and I thought this was supposed to be in the “Smart Phone” category. Sorry, but I don’t like the infinite event of “open a app – now close the app, open app – close app, open app – close app, repeat repeat repeat repeat. Apple seems to looooooove this course of action though. Will ya just let me send/reply a text please! Send an email, send a tweet! (Compose tweak) Can I open an App without having to open an App (Velox tweak) Thank yooooou! When someone wants to schedule a meeting with me for next week can I look at a calendar as quick as possible (Calendar for Notification Center) thanks, dude. If I click a link in a email, text, twitter, here, or there, or anywhere – can I NOT have to be kicked out of the app just to have to switch back to the app (BrowseInApp tweak) YES! Sweet (in Napolian Dynamite voice). Multitasking is good, but MissionBoard was better. And Oh gesture controls – wherefore art thou gesture controls? How easier is life with them. I mean, it’s a “Touch Screen for heavens sake – ITS BUILT FOR GESTURE USAGE YOU DOPES.

    Some other just do mentions in addition to previous comments…
    KickLock – kicks to the lock screen when someone tries to open an app.
    MessageSwiper – swipe left or right to instantly go to next text message convo.
    Swipe Safari – Ohh, Safari I love you with gesture controls; swipe down to close tab, swipe up to open new tab, swipe left to go back – right to go forward, hold left/right to switch to the next tab, triple tap to open bookmarks. Aaghhh, what’s Google Chrome again?
    Abstergo – interact with notifications and notifications in the notification center on a one by one basis. Ie, remind me later, clear individual notice, add a remind me later to a text message within the text message app itself.
    PDF Printer for Safari

    Pray, tell me again why any of these add-on tweak apps are a problem to Apple? Until Apple finishes copying all the best and most useful jailbreak tweaks I’ll still be jail breaking. In the meanwhile they need to start giving a shout out credit to every developer they copy a tweak from for the newest versions of iOS. Do the honorable thing.

    Btw, you guys have the very worst mobile site ever ever ever. Will never visit this from my iPad again. Lol

  • craigunderhill

    I wish you could still install emulators without jailbreaking (and without having to compile the code yourself). emu4ios.net will not let you install retroarch anymore. It just keeps giving a message that it will be back… but it never comes back. :(

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a freelance writer based in the UK. He has an interest in all things tech, but most enjoys covering Apple, anything mobile, and gaming. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell, or through his website.

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)| Read more posts by .

Posted in News, Top stories | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |