MobileNotifier Beta4: iOS Notifications the Right Way

By , May 27, 2011

Notifications in iOS have always sucked. Let’s be honest, whether you’ve grown to actually like and/or tolerate Apple’s system for push notifications on the iPhone, you still have to look at other platforms like Android and Palm OS and scratch your head.

Apple got one thing right: making sure you see your notifications in iOS. The problem is that there is no method of queuing, collecting, or saving notifications. When something gets pushed from an app, you have to deal with it right away.

Luckily, we have the jailbreak community to thank for several wonderful alternatives to the stock system of notifications in iOS. My favorite is called MobileNotifier. Let’s take a closer look…

General Overview

MobileNotifier is a different system of notifications designed by famed jailbreak developer, Peter Hajas. The tweak is a free download in Cydia from Peter’s repo (phajas.xen.prgmr.com/repo).

We’ve talked about MobileNotifier before on iDB, and we recently highlighted an interview with Peter Hajas about the new release of MobileNotifier Beta4. Jeff actually reviewed a previous version of MobileNotifier back in February. Check it out here.

The great thing about MobileNotifier is that it’s free. The lack of price tag gives you no reason to not at least try MobileNotifier by the end of this review. I’ve been testing MobileNotifier since the Beta3 stage, and I wanted to wait until I had time to play with Beta4 before I wrote a review. I have been using MobileNotifier Beta4 on my primary iPhone now for almost two weeks.

Closer Look

MobileNotifier Beta4 handles notifications in iOS very well. After using Beta3, I was unimpressed with the lack of polish, but Beta4 has proven to be a significant upgrade that makes MobileNotifier a very worthy contender for any jailbreaker’s notification system replacement.

By default, notifications on iOS are obtrusive and demanding. MobileNotifier gives you more control over when and how you view your notifications. Instead of a centered dialog box, MobileNotifier shows you notifications through a sleek bar that appears at the top of your iPhone’s screen, no matter what you’re doing in iOS.

If you’re reading email, no problem. If you’re reading your Twitter timeline, no problem. MobileNotifier will politely appear at the top of your screen with the app that’s sending the notification, including a preview of the message itself.

When you see this delightful notification bar, you have the option to either say “Later,” or “Open” that specific notification. Opening will obviously take you to the desired app, and tapping “Later” will send the notification to a handy list for later viewing.

Perhaps the greatest design choice in MobileNotifier is the list view above the iPhone’s app switcher. When you double tap your home button, as though you were going to change apps in the app switcher, a new interface is placed above the switcher with a list of your pending notifications.

Other replacements handle lists for notifications in similar ways, but I find that MobileNotifier’s method is the simplest, most intuitive, and just plain clean. Notifications can be independently viewed and cleared, or the whole list can be cleared by the “Clear Pending” button.

So, that’s how MobileNotifier handles itself when you’re iPhone is unlocked. What about when you’re not using your iPhone?

MobileNotifier chooses to manage notifications on the iPhone’s lockscreen in a collapsable list view. Depending on your personal preference, this could be a good or bad thing. Some people like being able to see the complete notification when it gets pushed to the lockscreen, while some people like hiding the message itself. I like to think that MobileNotifier offers the best of both worlds.

By default, MobileNotifier will hide each push and start collecting notifications in a collapsable list on the iPhone’s lockscreen. You can tap on MobileNotifier’s notification bar (with a nice badge of how many notifications you have pending) and view an expandable list of your awaiting notifications straight from your lockscreen.

MobileNotifier’s settings are also pretty straightforward. “Dash on Switcher” turns the pending notifications list above the app switcher on and off. “Lockscreen view” toggles MobileNotifier’s lockscreen presentation. “Auto-Later Alerts” automatically sends a notification to the pending list after a few seconds of inactivity. “Antique Lock Alerts” lets iOS send it’s normal push notifications alongside MobileNotifier on the iPhone’s lockscreen. I recommend turning that last one off.

Hopefully you have a good sense of how MobileNotifier Beta4 works.

Pros and Cons

MobileNotifier Beta4 is pretty great, but it’s not perfect. I thought it would be helpful to list some pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Unobtrusive push notifications on the iPhone.
  • Clean and simple design/interface.
  • Easy to understand.
  • Free.
  • biteSMS support, for those of you that are addicted to that jailbreak app.

As far as stability goes, I will say that Beta4 of MobileNotifier has been pretty rock solid for me. The extension hasn’t caused my iPhone to crash or hiccup once. Cody questioned MobileNotifier’s reliability in his review of a competing notifications replacement, Notified Pro. I haven’t seen any evidence of instability in Beta4.

Now, on to the cons.

Cons:

  • You can’t launch notifications from the iPhone’s lockscreen. I like the way the notifications are presented in the collapsable list, but the inability to actually tap and open them from the lockscreen is frustrating.
  • LockInfo users should experience some bugs. It appears that the two tweaks don’t play well together.
  • There’s no option to “Dismiss” incoming notifications. Instead of either opening or sending a notification to a pending list, there should be an option to totally dismiss a notification as it comes in.
  • A general lack of customization.

MobileNotifier Beta4 is great, but it needs to have more customization. I’d like to be able to delete notifications from the lockscreen. Different alert style themes would be nice. Or how about a preview window for notifications in the lockscreen (much like the standard iOS method)? This type of tweak could definitely offer more customization for users.

Everything considered, MobileNotifier Beta4 is a very robust replacement for notifications in iOS. Peter made great leaps forward in Beta4, and he’s set to bring even more features and improvements in the next release. Namely, a “Quick Reply” feature for messages (like biteSMS) will be added in Beta5.

Kudos to Peter Hajas and the creative designer of MobileNotifier, Kyle Adams, for such an awesome tweak. MobileNotifier just surpassed 230,000 downloads, and the future looks bright. I’m in love with this tweak because it’s constantly being improved upon and enhanced. I’m sure that the next release will make it even more appealing.

If you haven’t already, install MobileNotifier Beta4 on your iPhone and see what you think.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments. Are there certain features you’d like to see in future releases of MobileNotifier? Any bugs or incompatibility issues would be great information to share as well.

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  • crc_crash

    Brilliant article! I was awaiting confirmation that it wasn’t just me that had a problem with LockInfo and MobileNotifier compatibility – can’t wait for future updates. Who knows though – we may be in for a “similar” experience with iOS 5. Although – there will always be a need to jailbreak!

  • Oscar Alaniz

    I like Notified more. That’s the only reason I JB my iPhone.

  • matt

    i had it for a while, but the lack of “quick reply” (to which i was used to) made me uninstall it but if beta5 implements quick reply, deff gonna redownload :) great job keep it up!

  • DebTym

    can i use that even my push noti isn’t working??? i’m just finding an alternative work around for my push since my ip4 is hacktivated

    • Shrike1978

      No. It’s just a different way to present the notifications. It still relies on the notifications being pushed to your device, and if they aren’t even getting there, nothing in the world is going to display them.

    • C0ntr0l

      Try cydia.pushfix.info try inject or one of the push fix packages

  • @p4ul_k

    Does anyone know how the pending display will work if you have Multif0w installed? If you disable the “Dash on Switcher” option, how do you then view the pending notifications?

    Also, what sort of bugs do you get with Lockinfo installed? Can you live with them or is it one tweak or the other?

    Cheers

  • C0ntr0l

    I had one bug I would clear the pending messages on the switcher respring my phone later in the day and messages would still be there I cleared earlier and quick reply would wonderful

  • Shrike1978

    I’m racking my brain to come up with a reason to even install this if you use Lockinfo. Infoscreen can be customized to show less (or more) than the lock screen display in a Android-style, slide-down drawer, and Lockinfo displays statusbar icons for incoming notifications. Configured properly, in conjunction with Pop-up Blocker (free with Lockinfo), it’s a complete notification replacement.

    • kswa

      agree. perfectly happy with lockinfo. recent update that launches the phone when you tap a missed voicemail notification solves the last issue I had with it. It’s a perfect notification system while using your phone and while locked.

  • Cody Schug

    I can vouch for the lockinfo conflict. I love lockinfo, and use it for lockscreen notifications. Unfortunately, when both it and mobilenotifier are installed, I lose the ability to turn off lockscreen notifications for mobilenotifier (I switch the toggle to off, but they still show up), causing my lockscreen to look like a clusterfuck. If that were fixed, I’d be in heaven.

    • crc_crash

      Yeah same scenario with me – but it has been confirmed by Peter as a known issue and I am sure we can expect that amongst the fixes in Beta 5 considering how many people use LockInfo

      • Cody Schug

        Fingers crossed.

  • Nate

    I wonder if Calltell will work with this type of notification. does anybody know?

  • BoyGadget

    It have support for Tweetbot? I didn’t know it!!! Because Tweetbot don’t have push notifications!!!

  • mplsboywonder

    Switched from NotifiedPro+GriP to MobileNotifier after using the notifiedPro method for about a year.

    MobileNotifier is definitely my choice for notifications.

  • kokhean

    “You can’t launch notifications from the iPhone’s lockscreen. I like the way the notifications are presented in the collapsable list, but the inability to actually tap and open them from the lockscreen is frustrating.”

    Alex, you can do that in the lockscreen! Download Activator from Cydia (it’s free) and you can set actions like double tapping the clock or status bar or any other actions to make the list of notifications appear. You can also clear the pending notifications from the lockscreen itself.

    Peace.

  • Mark

    I can’t believe no one has mentioned this…the ability to expand and read the whole notification is completely missing in MobileNotifier!

    I have NotifiedPro+GriP and decided to check out MobileNotifier to see if it would be a suitable replacement. The most frustrating thing about MobileNotifier is that while the notifications show up in a clean and polite way there is no way that you can read more than the first couple of words of the notification. With NotifiedPro+GriP all you have to do is tap the notification to expand it and when you are done reading the notification all you have to do is tap again to clear it. This is very helpful for general news and sports news notifications.

    Fix this and MobileNotifier is at least a viable alternative. Until then not so much…

  • MB234

    NotifiedApp + NotificaitonGrip and Lockinfo >> mobilenotifier

    Good try, Peter. But way too late in the game.

    • QuarterSwede

      They use different ways of showing notifications. Personally I like MN better because it pushes down the screen instead of getting in my way.

  • Hakan

    this tweak is really amazing, kinda sucks that the icon off Whatsapp is so ugly -.-

  • Op

    I can’t find where to download this. Help pls.

  • Dhudz

    When u say biteSMS support, does it mean it not having conflict with QR feature?

    • mplsboywonder

      with Mobile notifications your BiteSMS quick reply shows up on your lockscreen in it’s native form. If you have a bunch of notifications you just have to collapse the notification to see it, but that is all.

  • Usersean

    It doesn’t work with biteSMS… Bitterly dissapointed. I uninstalled LockInfo for this.

    Who wrote this..? Clarify biteSMS support?

    • QuarterSwede

      It sort of works with BiteSMS. The author says it’s not supported however and couldn’t get the BiteSMS API to work (as far as I understand it). That’s the reason for their work on adding a quick reply. Note: BiteSMS is still not rock solid enough for me to use so I’m looking forward to the inclusion.

  • mplsboywonder

    It could be because of your write-up he was inundated with noobs emailing him, so he said “F-U, F-U, F-U, your cool…..and I’m out!”

  • BLiNK

    nope. still sucks

  • Michele

    Hello,
    Does anyknow know how to get Mail, Facebook displayed on Lock Screen? Thanks

  • akasha

    Which repo is it in ?

  • Evoss

    Its not done cos I have my own SMS sound and they implemented apple first Tri-Tone sound so when i receive message i hear both sounds at once …

  • Acolz

    Please tell me what is that wallpaper! I NEED IT LOL

  • DIno

    Installed MobileNotifier, love it but only my Messages are shown. How do I make Facebook, Tweetbot(if possible) and Mail appear too? Didn’t see anything in the Settings.

    And is there anyway to change the Message tone that comes with it?

  • BLiNK

    Beta 5 is out, if anyone cares

    • kokhean

      I care.

      Changelog:

      “What’s new?
      In this new beta 0.5.0-120 the developer has added a new feature really fantastic MobileReply, from there you can reply to messages with a simple click on the notification.

  • c0edx

    My Facebook or Mail Notifications are not showing up. Only Phone and text. Help please.

  • Kevin

    I`m guessing biteSMS notifications arent compatible but how did you get the mobilenotifier to pop-up a notification of your email?

  • Phillip

    What happens if you have Tlert? Do they both pop up or what?