What I miss most from having a jailbroken iPad

jailbreak logo - for some reason we don't have an alt tag hereWhen I sold my iPad 2 and kept only the iPad mini, it was a hard decision because it meant giving up jailbreak. My iPad 2 has been jailbroken since spring, and in that time I’ve gotten used to some features that I didn’t know how well I would do without. In the month and a half I’ve had the mini, I’ve come to realize what parts of jailbreaking I actually miss, and what parts I can live without.

Perhaps the biggest annoyance with my mini right now is the pin lock. My phone is set up to disable the pattern lock when connected to my home WiFi, and believe it or not, that feature is available to jailbroken iOS devices too, via a tweak that both adds pattern unlocking and adds a WiFi unlock feature. This meant that with my old jailbroken iPad 2, my device was always locked when I was away, and always unlocked when I was home.

The second app I really miss is the screen capture software I used to record the iPad’s screen. I did that both for videos for this site, and for personal use, sometimes even for recording things on my computer by using Splashtop and that app combined (I have Fraps for Windows, but it doesn’t compress videos automatically). Pointing a camera at a mobile device to film software is an absolutely garbage way of doing it, and as a result I rather avoid making videos altogether than doing that.

I also miss some of the customization that’s possible with jailbreaking. It’s not really essential, but I’d love to have the same black keyboard I had on my iPad 2 on my fully black iPad mini. More home screen icons, hidden newsstand, lock screen widgets, and other things will also be very much welcomed back if/when the mini gets a jailbreak. These minor tweaks aren’t things that really end up driving you as nuts as the lack of WiFi unlock, but you still notice it.

Mouse support is something I haven’t seen much need for on the mini yet, but that’s because I’m not teaching right now. When that starts back up again, I’m sure it will drive me nuts to not have a mouse to use in class, as there are several instances where simply having a visible pointer in itself is gold, let alone the extra accuracy it gives you when remote controlling a computer.

iFiles is a similar “not yet” case. It’s a file browser that allows you to access any part of the device’s file system, which is something you mostly need when you have other jailbreak apps. Mostly. There are situations where you need that sort of access

As for tweaks I haven’t really missed, there are some of those too. Things like having multiple windows open through the app Quasar, or having better text selection through SwipeSelection, were never features I used much in practice, and as such, I don’t miss them. I had quite a few minor tweaks installed as well, things that sounded useful in Cydia, but that I never used much in practice.

All in all, it’s been enlightening to see which tweaks I actually miss and which ones I only thought I would miss. One thing is for sure, and that’s that I do in fact miss having a jailbroken device, as the first few items on this list are things that I really miss.

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.

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4 thoughts on “What I miss most from having a jailbroken iPad

  • Avatar of JRDemaskus

    That reminds me of WinMo before iPhone.
    There was no one central place to get your apps.
    We used to download .cab files from multiple sources. The same for registry changes and Roms.
    Most of the features we were adding, are now included out of the box.
    I like when OEMs take notice and pick up on how the consumers are actually using the devices, then include the features users are looking for in the next release.

    • Avatar of Andreas Ødegård

      The problem is that the officially integrated features are always based on the lowest common denominator, and end up being shit compared to most third party options. Apple’s new Do not Disturb vs my sleep and nap modes in Tasker is a perfect example. Mine’s a dynamically triggered system based on pluggin in my phone, it turns off my light, my computer, makes sure various volumes are set corrently (alarm on, ringer off etc), updates an online status, and so on. Apple’s feature, which people now rave about, is a stupid time-based silent mode, which is perfect if you go to sleep at exactly the same time each day. As for Google, it managed to remove the ability for Unlock With Wifi to work with pattern unlocking in ICS and above, apparently claiming security issues, while simultaneously introducing the biggest security threat to mobile devices in history: face unlock. Point being, these companies’ ability to take a good third party feature and make it mainstream seems about as good as water’s ability to handle fire.

  • Maybe if Apple releases their own light bulbs for a hundred bucks apiece and you buy a Mac, you’ll have those features in the future. I wouldn’t count on them ever adding functionality for something they haven’t sold to you though.

    Is it just the lightning connector that’s preventing the jailbreak for the minis? Somehow I don’t think it’ll take long for someone to find a way to reproduce the cord without that issue, I’m sure we’ll see them on eBay soon.

    • Avatar of Andreas Ødegård

      It always takes a while for a new OS version and device to be jailbroken. Right now, nothing above the iPhone 4 can be jailbroken on iOS 6, in other words even the iPad 2 and 3 are locked out


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