This is a very nerdy and complex post about how to modify your mobile Apple device using custom iTunes backups. This is especially relevant in a time when there’s no jailbreak and thus no way to break out of Apple’s restrictive App Store ecosystem to truly customize your device.
This post was made due to a request on Reddit. It is intended for medium to very tech-savy users though I will try to explain most things in layman terms. Please note that in case you (or I) screw up, you can always use the original backup of your device to undo any changes you made and get things working again.
To read more about my personal story of becoming a geek and iOS jailbreaker, this post might be interesting to you: Me, iDevices and Jailbreaking.
How it all got started
The project began about two years ago: as I was teaching myself how to program in Java, I decided to make a simple computer game to gain some actual coding experience. Its initial name was “SpaceGame”; I uploaded the very first teasers to my YouTube channel on the 13th of December 2013: Continue reading I’m making an iOS game: StarGame→
At the end of last week, I asked myself the following question:
Why is there no way to delete stock Apple apps on iOS?
That seems like a good idea, right? It would free up some disk space and de-clutter the home screen.
The answer is pretty simple: without its stock apps, iOS wouldn’t work well. Sure, you could live without Compass, iBooks, Tips, Passbook/Wallet and you-name-it. But when it gets to things like Calendar, Mail, Safari or Clock, uninstalling those would break lots of features across iOS. No iCloud calendar whatsoever (even third-party Calendar apps rely on the stock app for iCloud calendars). No emails via the share sheet. No web browsing, even in many third-party apps. No alarms or timers with Siri.
In response to the overwhelming interest in my first list, I've been busy updating it to accomodate recent changes.
The list is updated about once per week.
Since I no longer own an iPad, iPad-only tweaks are no longer on the list. You can still download the outdated list with the iPad tweaks here.
This updated list includes over 80 great jailbreak tweaks that make my iPhone perfect. What’s even more remarkable than just the number of tweaks is that there is zero lag on my iPhone 5S, with a staggering 88 tweaks installed (as of Friday, October 16th).
The list now includes notes about iOS 9 compatibility. Luckily, nearly half of the tweaks on the list work on iOS 9! Huge thanks to the developers!
Some items on the list aren’t currently installed on my phone but are very noteworthy, which is why they are still on the list.
Items marked in yellow have either been updated recently or are new on the list.
Feel like something is missing from the list that I should try?
Feel free to tell everyone in the comments, on Twitter / Facebook (or even Reddit!).
So I’ve been taking online courses on iOS development with Swift (the Stanford lectures on iTunes U are amazing!). Since I have some experience in Java, learning Swift (Apple’s new programming language) wasn’t very hard. Some test projects included a maths homework helper app and a “Happiness” project from the Stanford lectures.
Anyways, what could I gather from the projects is that my java game “StarGame” can definitely be ported to iOS!
In fact, the image above shows the (currently blank) “StarGame Mobile” app icon in the iOS Simulator. However, don’t get too excited yet as closed beta testing might start this year and release is planned for 2016 at the earliest.
In the meantime, make sure to check out the StarGame Beta, a 2D side-scrolling game originally made for the desktop. If you have any comments or ideas, feel free to comment below or hit me up on Facebook and Twitter.
As mentioned in the updated “Me, iDevices and jailbreaking” post, I have been keeping a list of the jailbreak tweaks I use on my iPhone and iPad just in case something happens and I need to restore my device(s). The lists includes a basic overview of the settings I chose for each tweak as well as the repository, if the tweak isn’t on a default Cydia repo.
In related news, I am working on “My perfect jailbroken iPhone” and “My perfect jailbroken iPad” posts!! Stay tuned and follow me on Twitter or Facebook for updates!
The term "jailbreaking" refers to the process of circumventing the security features found in Apple mobile devices in order to get access to the entire filesystem, which, among other things, allows for the installation of applications that are not allowed in the App Store.
If you are unfamiliar with the term “jailbreaking”, please read the corresponding Wikipedia article.
ME, iDEVICES AND JAILBREAKING
It all started in winter 2009. Apple had just unveiled the third generation iPod Touch. I got my first iPod Touch that christmas and loved it from day one. It was the cheapes model available at the time, but the 8 GB of storage were enough for me back then. I did jailbreak my iPod, but only for a few tweaks such as Activator (gesture-based actions) and SBSettings (quick settings toggles).
Some time later, around June 2010, iOS 4 dropped. It brought some amazing new features to iOS, most importantly: multitasking. However, after installing the update, I was shocked to find out that my iPod was actually a second-generation iPod Touch (see last paragraph here), which did not support multitasking.