Messages: a compromise between biteSMS and the stock Messages app

By , Apr 11, 2013

Messages 02

If you already listened to our latest episode of Let’s Talk Jailbreak, then you know that Sebastien and I discussed jailbreak tweaks for the Messages app. We talked about biteSMS, Messages+, iRealSMS, and the like. We talked about these tweaks as we discussed the validity of a new tweak, simply called Messages, and whether or not it was worth the investment.

At the time, neither of us had really put any hands-on time into the tweak, although Cody has given it a shot and seemed to like it. On the show, I promised that I would check out the tweak and provide my two cents, and that’s just what I did today.

The first thing I noticed about Messages was not the features, but the price of the tweak. At $3.99, it’s definitely approaching the upper tier of what a usual jailbreak tweak costs. To be fair, though, most Messaging tweaks seem to reside on the high end of the price range. That’s because most of them are extremely full featured. Take biteSMS for example, it’s a tweak that’s always being updated, I mean constantly, and it has a truckload of features.

Messages isn’t trying to be a biteSMS replacement, as it probably does 1/16 of all of the things that biteSMS does. What it is trying to do, however, is provide a simple function for those who just want Quick Reply capabilities and Quick Compose capabilities. Some people might consider breaking bread for biteSMS just for those two features alone. Messages focuses squarely on those two features, and offers them at a cheaper price.

Messages 01

In my opinion, the most important factor of a quick reply tweak is speed. If the quick replies aren’t actually quick, then the tweak has failed to do its job. Thankfully, I found that Messages has speed in spades, at least on my iPhone 5, which served as my test device. Quick compositions using Activator were just as fast as the quick replies that resulted from taps of incoming banner notifications, Lock screen notifications, and Notification Center notifications. When it comes to speed, Messages has it.

Another interesting thing about Messages is that it forgoes any fancy UI in favor of the stock full screen Messages UI. The quick replies and compositions simply pop-over any current item that you’re working on, so they retain the stock look and feel of Messages. I guess that’s why the developer decided to name his tweak something so unambiguous.

I really dig the simplicity of Message as well. The tweak features an option that limits the amount of conversation you see when replying to a message. You can set it to one, and only see the sole incoming message that you’re replying to, or set it to more than that to gain some context from the ongoing conversation. There are other features as well, but I think Cody did an excellent job of covering them all in his post.

All in all, I’m surprisingly satisfied with Messages. I’m still using the tweak’s 3-day free trial, but I’m almost tempted to buy it. I stopped using biteSMS a while ago due to some crashes that I was too lazy to troubleshoot. Something tells me that crashes with Messages will be few and far between due to its stock-like nature.

That’s my promised analysis of Messages. Be sure to tune in to Let’s Talk Jailbreak, as I’ll be sure to discuss my experience more in depth during the next episode.

  • Share:
  • Follow:
  • kevin butler

    Messages should be accessed anywhere. I don’t get the point of iMessage,BBM or Whatsapp. Why limit your contacts?

    Can’t wait for Google Babel.

    • http://twitter.com/aidanharris1 ✪ aidan harris ✪

      I believe the point of those services is that they use data as opposed to actual texts so in theory you save money although yes I see the point your trying to make if its about certain services *cough* *cough* iMessage and *cough* *cough* FaceTime not being cross platform and limited to iOS and Mac devices only (big mistake if you ask me). In regards to messages it looks nice but I’m used to bitesms and can probably guarantee that as long as there is a jailbreak it’s development will continue which is not something I could say about Messages what with it being a new tweak and not looking (IMO) as professional as bitesms.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1649839720 Raul Henriquez

        Lol biteSMS is ugly this keeps it looking like iOS

      • http://twitter.com/aidanharris1 ✪ aidan harris ✪

        Except iOS is ugly too! I do hopy Ive change the ui in iOS 7 now that he’s in charge…

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1649839720 Raul Henriquez

        seriously stfu because you’re just spoiled you have no idea why iPhone is so successful it’s because of the OS and great hardware design. Did you have anything close to it before the iPhone I don’t think so. So just STFU.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1649839720 Raul Henriquez

        Lol sure

      • http://twitter.com/aidanharris1 ✪ aidan harris ✪

        Lol at your lol. Your point being? At the end of the day iOS (in its basic form) is ugly in my opinion. No factual basis for stating it I just do not like it. I’d be willing to put money on the fact others also don’t like it and that Ive will surely change something…

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1649839720 Raul Henriquez

        ok

      • Kryogenik X

        You could apply themes to bitesms to have it to ur liking.

    • Eric M

      iMessage is a part of the messages app so how are you limiting contacts? and i will bet babble will be a separate app from the sms app on android phones, thereby limiting your contacts from people who are smart enough to stay away from anything google and them selling your data. Remember, if your are not paying for something you are the product.

      • TeddyBearStand

        Not paying for iMessage…

    • Nestea80

      For many people like me, it costs money to send an MMS. I’d rather use Whatsapp and send photos, videos, and audio notes for free to anyone else who has Whatsapp. And it’s barely limiting contacts. Whatsapp is cross platform. And you can also send messages to contacts in other countries for free. So what do you suggest to do? Pay for all of this?

  • http://www.facebook.com/ruben.quiroz.71 Ruben Quiroz

    Doesn’t really work with group chats (which was a big thing for me) so now I’m just sticking to biteSMS until he updates the tweak (hopefully soon).

  • http://twitter.com/ze_rusty Sachin

    East or west, bitesms is le best.

    • http://www.iDownloadBlog.com Sebastien

      I’m a big biteSMS lover too but I love how “stock” Messages look. Still, it’s not enough for me to give up bite :)

      • Sentry

        Looking forward to your thoughts in a month or two. ;)

      • http://twitter.com/notoriousTEG tim

        Ooh teaser!

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

      yes

    • Antzboogie

      I love Bitesms but I am seriously having crashing issues left and right.

      • http://twitter.com/ze_rusty Sachin

        the latest build works flawlessly.

    • Guest69

      I love BiteSMS, but sometimes letting go is more of a sign of true love.

      • http://twitter.com/ze_rusty Sachin

        I can feel it. ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/SpideyRules Scott Curry

    I think a factor that many people would ask isn’t “Is it worth the $3.99,” but instead “Is it worth the $3.99 PLUS the $4.99 I will have now wasted on BiteSMS”, iRealSMS, etc.This is obviously up to the user, but maybe a little advice one way or the other would be an awesome addition to your reviews. For example: “Is this worth switching over from BiteSMS? It’s up to you, but here are the direct advantages/disadvantages of ‘this’ over ‘that.’”

    Then again, maybe I’m just blowing smoke out of my ass…I still love the site, Just asking the question that goes through my head every time…

    • http://twitter.com/aidanharris1 ✪ aidan harris ✪

      I kind of see what you mean since let’s be honest if a survey of jailbreakers was to be conducted I bet 9/10 would have used or would currently be using bitesms. If ever Jeff & Sebastien have “Technical Difficulties” again they could probably devote an entire podcast to just talking about all of the messages tweaks that there are and discussing their advantages and disadvantages…

  • Mr. E

    I think I’ll stick with biteSMS. But it’s nice to have options

  • Eric M

    messages+ is by the far the best. bitesms does exactly what the old iOS notifications did, block what you are doing on the phone forcing you to stop what you are doing.. messages+ brings it down as a banner, and you can set it to stay there (out of the way) until you tap it to quick reply or manually clear it by tapping the x, or let it go away as it does natively. speedy as hell, no bugs like bitesms. Truly as it should be.

    • http://twitter.com/aidanharris1 ✪ aidan harris ✪

      Bitesms only “Blocks what you are doing” if you have it set to do so. I have it set to show a banner (a mini banner actually thanks to Rpetrichs tweak) and then when I tap on it the quick reply opens up so in my case it doesn’t block what I’m doing. Try fiddling with all the settings and you’ll see although IMO sometimes less is more

      • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

        very true nothing comes on my screen except the message icon in the status bar

      • Eric M

        Cool. Thanks. Didn’t realize that was a setting. It’s my main gripe. There’s other things I really like about it. Another try it is.

  • TonyVee73

    How does this differ from Messages+? Any additional features that M+ doesn’t have?

    • http://twitter.com/igno7um ignotum nomen

      It’s the same as messages+
      But I like how messages offers a couple more options (color, messages to load)
      If you already have messages+ it’s not worth to buy messages
      But if you want to buy either I’d go with messages

    • http://twitter.com/ejshircliff Eric S.

      Pretty sure it has less features. See Eric M’s comment below…

  • http://twitter.com/Kevinfest Kevin

    I really wanted to like this tweak, but for some reason, when I would open my calendar notification on my phone, it would open a text message next to it, then the calendar icon that I had slid to the right was stuck there until I tapped it to check the calendar notification. Basically this tweak overrides any other notification on the lock screen and opens the last received text message until there are no text messages to open. I actually deleted BiteSMS to use this tweak… I wanted to like it but there are plenty of bugs on this (also disabled Messages+ just to use this tweak and still no luck)

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

    BITE IS THE BEST

  • http://twitter.com/the415giant F P

    Intelliscreen x with messages plus offers the same function. I love it.

  • http://twitter.com/Haaaatim Hatim

    One bug I found is that when you do quick compose at the home screen, the status bar changes to black from transparent. Noothing big but a bug nonetheless

  • http://www.facebook.com/antman217 Anthony Antunez

    Not worth $3.99. This can be easily accomplished using Activator and appslide and have nearly the same effect all for free.
    1. Set Activator gesture for “Anywhere” and scroll down and select “Compose Text” or try the “Compose” Cydia tweak (see the Pro Tip below).
    2. Set Activator gesture for “Anywhere”> Home Button “Single Press”> appslide.
    3. Quick compose using that Activator gesture you just set or the Compose NC widget and Quick Reply to messages from notification banners or Notification Center and just hit home button to let appslide take you right back to where you were, trust me its seamless.

    (Pro Tip: Instead of setting an Activator gesture for Compose Text you can get a tweak called “Compose” that adds a quick compose widget for Messages and Mail that goes in the Notification Center just like the Facebook and Twitter sharing widget. This will give it a more official and easy feel and its also free. Just don’t forget to enable the widgets in the Notification Center settings before thinking its not working like I did lol.)

    So there you go. Try it out and see if you guys like it. If you do, I just saved you $3.99.

    • MinkShoals

      awesome! thanks, appslide combined with compose works perfectly from NC… even with email.

      • http://twitter.com/ejshircliff Eric S.

        Thanks for the tip, but do you have any way to replicate the quick reply function?

      • andyr354

        just open the notification from NC.

      • http://twitter.com/JB_Bryant JB Bryant

        Appslide doesn’t seem to do anything like this. It works most places like Mail but when I click on a text from NC it opens up the messages app.

    • andyr354

      Bravo! Awesome tip. i live appslide! New to me essential tweak.

    • http://twitter.com/Mattoligy Matt Taylor

      Only one problem with this set up… No quick reply from lockscreen! Very good idea though! Almost complete!

  • http://twitter.com/ejshircliff Eric S.

    One of my favorite and most used features of biteSMS, which both Messages and Messages+ lack is the shortcut to favorites option for quick compose. I know typing the first few letters of the contact I’m going to message isn’t a big hassle, but saving a few touches is what it’s all about. Otherwise, I love the features of bite, but the stock look and feel of Messages and Messages+.

  • http://twitter.com/Foellarbear Jonathan Foell ™

    This tweak is a keeper. Best messages quick reply tweak out there. And at only $3.99 it’s a steal.

  • steve00000

    um.. bitesms is free now so why would you use this for $4 if bitesms is $0 and does 10x more?

  • dedegarrido

    Just like Messages+….. but it is worst

  • cian AD

    Messages is definitely not worth 3.99. all it does is give the stock look….the quick reply (for me ) isnt compatible with a few tweaks (ipsum is one of them) and navigating to Favorites and calling a contact is not nearly as accessible as in bitesms… if you want an IOS type feel with bitesms get the “IOS native UI ” theme. Messages should be $ 0.99 tops.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nikorf578 Khis Ariasaif

    How do you like this compared to Bitesms? I like that you can read previous messages.

  • http://www.facebook.com/micaiah12 Micaiah Martin

    I’m still blazing through my Bitesms trial. I love it, but I find it to be a little buggy sometimes. Once my trial expires I might look into this one as the main features I love is the QR and the QC.

  • http://twitter.com/warrenskipper Warren Skipper

    I believe some of these features (e.g. quick reply) are possible for free with AppSlide. It similarly let’s you instantly answer an incoming notification then ‘slides’ out of the way to let you return to the app you were in. I don’t know if the other features are worth $4 though…

  • ZulDirector

    I can’t see how this is better than bitesms, and bitesms is free if you can put up with the ad banners. It’s a no brainer….

    • http://twitter.com/Mrwaller81 Adam

      Because bite SMS has more bugs than an ant colony…

  • AK

    Messaging shouldn’t mean you are restricted to communicate with people who own devices from a particular OEM. It’s a failure.

    Not OEM’s but its us people’s failure who use/encourage such services/devices.

  • jc723

    anyone tried AwesomeQuickMessages? its 1.99 and seem to do the same thing as Messages. no free trial though. and it was just updated to work with ios6 and iphone 5

  • Frostybrutality

    Out of all the messaging apps i would still say Bite is the best.
    I was a long time user of M+ and TLert (before it became M+) and enjoyed it. I tried Messages and found it to be very useful but bland. I wont say it didn’t fulfill its purpose but it wasn’t the same as M+. (Plus i don’t really like Activator and haven’t used it SINCE TLert)
    However i desired a more personal touch and I’m sure Sebastien can agree, contact photos. So I’ve been using Bite for a little bit over a week and its been awesome.
    Heres why:
    1. Constant updates – This is where M+ FAILS on every aspect ( and I’m sure most people will say intelliborn in general). M+ has a lot of bugs that need to be fixed (i.e. When you go to quick reply, the window appears but doesn’t allow input from the keyboard rending it useless until you respring or the text tone noise plays twice for one text)
    2. Personalization – As stated before you can have contact photos appear within the app, on the lock screen, and on the banners that appear. ITs pretty sweet.
    Plus you can fully theme it to be however you want it to be.
    3. Resources – ITs fully loaded with awesome things like delayed texting, timed text, etc.

    Thats just my two cents. You cant beat an app that for a one time fee of $8 (or a week trial for free without ads) and free updates (not upgrade fees like m+). Its well worth it.

  • http://twitter.com/notoriousTEG tim

    This tweak looks pretty nice. I wouldn’t say it compares to bite though. And sort of on the topic, ireal has some great potential, but at $9 and a shocking UI (as Sebastien mentioned in a podcast), it’s loosing its users.

    My fav features of bite are its quick reply UI, the messages app contact photos and long hold on the send button to toggle between iMessage and text. Really great software. I have no crashes, but I’d really wish I’d be able to use my licence for my iPhone and iPad. It’s currently only one device per licence

    • http://twitter.com/Nullbrand Niclas

      “…but I’d really wish I’d be able to use my licence for my iPhone and iPad. It’s currently only one device per licence”
      No it isn’t.

      • http://twitter.com/notoriousTEG tim

        i emailed biteSMS, i spoke to a guy called jason, and he said its only one device per licence

  • deepdvd

    I like this tweak a lot better than BiteSMS, etc. It’s simple and isn’t in a little popup window. What doesn’t make sense is how much they are charging for it. Simpler functionality should be cheaper or free.

  • http://www.facebook.com/justin.thurmond Justin Thurmond

    REALsms IS THE BOMB! it works the best and its UI is the same as the theme or stock UI and is INSTANT!