Bed's Top Five Jailbroken iPhone Apps
The iPhone is my favourite internet-enabled mobile device – and I’ve used quite a few; I write software for Windows Mobile devices at work (and I hate Windows Mobile). But I don’t wear rose-coloured glasses, the iPhone and Apple aren’t flawless. Thus I fill the holes by jailbreaking my phone (running unauthorised by Apple applications). When an iPhone firmware update comes out I patiently wait until the jailbreaking community has updated too. To jailbreak your iPhone browse through the iphone-dev’s blog. Once you’re jailbroken, Cydia is pre-installed, and serves as the equivalent to Apple’s AppStore for getting Apps. Here are my top five reasons to jailbreak my iPhone.
The lack of MMS support on the iPhone has been discussed greatly on the webisphere. Apple made a conscious decision to leave MMS out in favour of encouraging email (which can achieve the same result). However my wife doesn’t have an internet plan enabled on her phone. Now while the only MMS’s we send each other are usually of cute cats or dogs, its nice to be able to do so. Swirly MMS gives full MMS support for US$8, with a free 14 day trial. It works seamlessly and as expected. While you have to manually enter your carrier’s SMS network details, there are numerous listings for all the major carriers for you to reference. MMS notifications come through in a similar manner to standard SMS notifications.
Cycorder allows you to utilise the iPhone’s camera to record video (with sound) at 6-15 frames per second. While not superb quality – it does let you record those moments when you have nothing else in decent enough quality for play back. The video is saved as .mov files on the iPhone, which can be played back with Cycorder, or moved to your computer with the help of other jailbreak file sharing applications (see netatalk below).
PdaNet lets you use your iPhone as a wireless access point, so your computer can access the internet via your iPhone’s internet connection. Assuming you have a data plan that has enough bandwidth quota – this is great for when out and about. PdaNet works fantastically and without slow overhead. It does cost US$29, but a free 14 day trial will let you make sure it works fine before buying. For me, last week we were in a hotel for 4 nights. The internet in the hotel room cost AU$11 an hour, or AU$22 for 24 hours. A once-off fee of US$29 to let me use my already paid for (and not really used to the full extent) iPhone net quota is just good economics.
Those familiar with running linux machines that talk to Apple computers, may be familiar with netatalk. It provides AFP network file sharing support. Running netatalk lets you access the iPhone’s file system easily with OSX’s finder. While you can do things like replace standard iPhone system files (such as images and sounds) and do other tinkering – the most practical use for this for me is to copy videos made with Cycorder (see above) off the iPhone. netatalk is a GPLed, and thus free. It runs via the standard launchd process and is thus invisible on the iPhone side – and only uses iPhone resources when a connection is initiated by a computer.
openSSH lets you SSH directly into your iPhone. This doesn’t really have too much utility, unless you really want to start hacking at your iPhone system. What it is mostly useful for (for me) is to change the default root and mobile user passwords. Changing the default password is important if you connect to public accesspoints and are running netatalk – otherwise knowing people could browse your iPhone file system. This can also let you transfer files using SCP, so you can avoid using netatalk completely if you want and are very security conscious. openSSH is also GPLed and thus free. It too runs via the standard launchd process and is invisible and light weight.
Still to come… Bed’s Top Five Useless iPhone Apps and Bed’s Top Five iPhone Games.