First impressions of jailbreak on the iPad mini

2013 02 05 19.18.02 - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here

Things are starting to calm down after the traffic following yesterday’s release of an untethered jailbreak for iOS 6.1 ended up breaking the Cydia app store server, and while there are still kinks that needs working out, most people are now able to get the apps they want. I’ve spent the day loading up my iPad mini with jailbreak tweaks and apps, and it’s slowly getting back up to where my iPad 2 was before I sold it.

When I say it’s slowly getting back up there, that’s because I still haven’t managed to put all the software I want on the mini. Because both iOS 6.1 and a jailbreak for the latest generations of Apple devices are so new, developers still haven’t updated all their apps to support both new hardware and software. SBSettings (settings tweak), BTC Mouse & Trackpad (enables Bluetooth mouse support), RetinaPad (run iPhone apps in 640 x 960 resolution on the iPad), and Adblocker (removes ads in the browser and elsewhere) all seem to be working fine. However, Display Recorder (records the screen) won’t record video at the moment, AndroidLock XT (Android pattern unlock + automatic WiFi unlock) still won’t download, Color Keyboard HD (lets you change the color of the keyboard) throws my iPad into safe mode, and Swipe Safari (enables fullscreen and swiping gestures in Safari) crashes the Settings app when I try to check the license. There are also a ton of other apps that I don’t personally use that either work or have issues right now, so it’s a bit of trial and error right now.

It can be a bit scary to actually try these apps so quickly after the jailbreak was released, as the OS version checker doesn’t really work well right now, letting you download apps that don’t necessarily work. Some of the apps throw your device into safe mode or reboots, which is definitely scary for people who are new to jailbreaking, but it’s fairly impossible to actually brick an iOS device. I’ve had to hard reset my device twice during testing, but hard resetting an iOS device is scarier than it sounds- it basically just means forcing a reboot. After getting rid of or disabling the software responsible, I haven’t had any issues.

The jailbreak came at a perfect time, as I actually held a short lecture today about digital tools for teaching, and one of the reasons I like jailbreaking my iPad is to be able to use my Logitech m555b Bluetooth mouse with it. That comes in handy both for using it as a mouse with Splashtop 2, and for the presentation mode where it can act as a remote for apps like Keynote, letting you run around a room while controlling a presentation with a mouse.

I’m looking forward to the currently broken apps to be updated, as that will give me back all the functionality I’ve been missing on my iPad mini for the last three months. Still, I have to say that I’ve been surprised at how well I’ve gotten by without jailbreak on the mini in that period. I guess it comes down to the fact that most of what I use jailbreak for is about getting rid of annoyances in iOS, and none of those annoyances are really deal breakers when left the way Apple designed them. It will be interesting to see what I do once the iPad mini 2 comes out, as that will likely mean choosing between a faster, higher resolution iPad mini and one that’s jailbroken.

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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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