When I got my first iPod Touch Jailbreaking was just started up. The device was new and shiny yet we wanted more… jailbreaking allowed the adventureious geek to disable the built in security of the device and “root” it allowing them to login via an ssh connection and access the shell. See, I live by the idea that there is always something more to do with a device or technology then what it was really intended for. There was a lot of slick apps being added to the iPod Touch (this was before the official Apple App Store existed) and I was having fun adding new all sorts of cool stuff to the device. At the time my favorite was being able to add a wallpaper  springboard where the icons lived. Apps like Winterboard really made it so you could customize the device however you saw fit.

Later I sold my iPod Touch and got an iPhone which again I jailbroke but was very cautious in what apps I added to it. This was my primary phone and I didn’t need it rebooting in the middle of a phone call or something. When I purchased my iPhone 3G I tried my hand again at jailbreaking and had decent results but some instability problems. One day my iPhone outright died and I had to take it to the Apple Store to see about having it fixed or replaced. At the time I had “Make it mine” app installed which allowed me to have “TUCKER” displayed instead of “AT&T” as the carrier text. Luckily he couldn’t get the phone to boot so he gave me a new iPhone 3G. From that point I didn’t jailbreak my iPhone 3G but I did go home and restore from backup, it ends up that the carrier modification that Make it Mine did stays in the backup so I continued to have “TUCKER” and the carrier text even though it wasn’t jailbroken. Fast forward to 2010 and I have an iPhone 4 32gb that I’ve been itching to jailbreak due to the faster processor and more memory I had this feeling that the instability issues would be minimal on this more powerful device.

Before doing the jailbreak I mapped out my plan of attack:

  • No UI customizations needed for me. I didn't really care about modifying the aesthetics of the UI, now that iOS4 allows someone to add their own Lock Screen wallpaper and SpringBoard wallpaper I'm fine with just that.
  • Find a way to get rid of the annoying popup notifications in favor of some non-intrusive notification method ala Android and WebOS.
  • Disable the WiFi only restrictions that Apple (and AT&T) put in place.
  • Enable the ability to create a WiFi hotspot.
Added Bonus:
  • Add additional functionality to Copy and Paste action menu.
I found all the jailbreak only programs I needed to make the above happen then researched how to go about jailbreaking the iPhone 4. As of this writing iOS Version 4.1 (8B117)  is the current firmware and quite a few jailbreak apps have come out: pwnagetool, limera1n etc. I tried pwnagetool and ended up with a non activated iPhone 4, a iPod Touch if you will. I started from scratch and tried limera1n with much more success. I do hear that there may be some battery life issue with using limera1n and I'll be looking into that in the next few days.

So, what apps did I install from Cydia?

  • Action Menu Expands on the Cut Copy and Paste menu by adding additional features to it: Copy All, History, Lookup, Tweet, TinyUrl, Open Path, Search and much more
  • Activator Activate apps via gestures, buttons and shortcuts. I'm mainly using this to activate Notified Pro so I can swipe from the top of the screen down to show my notifications.
  • Cyntact Shows profile pictures in contact lists, if you have pictures of all your contacts it's nice, if you use the iPhone Facebook  app enabled avatar sync and enjoy the new pictures.
  • Mobile Terminal (iOS4) Allows me to access the shell on the iPhone
  • My3G This app tricks applications / iOS into thinking they are connected to WiFi instead of 3G. Facetime, iTunes downloads, Podcast Downloads and high quality YouTube to name a few are all enabled when using this app.
  • Notified Pro Notified for iPhone is a notification app it allows users to have more of an Android-style notification system. Something I'm surprised that Apple hasn't improved on yet. 
    • Statusbar Notification When a new notification comes in instead of the popup being displayed (once disabled using Popup Blocker below) it displays the notification on the top status bar until clicked.
    • Popup Blocker Allows you to control just about every popup that you could get on an iPhone and/or iPod touch. Once installed, you can get to the app in your stock Settings application. Here you have the options to enable/disable the application, Block Away Items, turn on/off Wake On Alert (this turns on your screen when you receive an alert) and set Alerts. My favorites here are disabling the popup when the iPhone is in an active state (being used, playing a game) and disable that annoying popup when I plug my iPhone into an "unsupported dock".
  • SBSettings SBSettings is not like the regular iPhone app that can be launched from the home screen by tapping on its icon. To launch it, you have to swipe on iPhone's status bar or tap the status bar using two fingers. Once SBSettings is launched, you'll see various toggle switches that are available in the Settings app such as Wi-Fi, 3G, EDGE, Bluetooth, Brightness etc.
  • MyWi This is an extremely powerful application that allows you to create a wifi hotspot (currently only Ad-Hoc is available, Infrastructure coming soon). This is something that is pretty popular in the Android community primarily with the Android Evo.
In later posts I'll review each of these apps so you can see what justified me jailbreaking my device. Let me know if the comments what JB apps you use.