Background Manager brings true backgrounding back to Cydia

By , May 26, 2013

Background Manager 01

There was once a time when iOS lacked any form of multitasking. Yes, that includes the pseudo-multitasking that is fast app switching, which is what iOS uses today. True backgrounding has never been available in iOS, and that’s understandable since it would likely cause battery life to fall below Apple’s lofty standards.

iPhone jailbreakers have been able to enjoy the benefits of true backgrounding for some time now, at least with older versions of iOS. Unfortunately, Backgrounder — the jailbreak app that enabled true backgrounding — stopped working after iOS 6. Its developer has since abandoned the project.

That’s where Background Manager comes in to pick up the slack. It’s a brand new jailbreak tweak, unrelated to the original Backgrounder in everything but perhaps name, and it’s been built from the ground up.

Perhaps my memory has failed me, but Background Manager seems to be more stable and more feature rich that its predecessor. You can even make the tweak launch specific apps in the background on device reboot. Yes, Background Manager is definitely worthy of your time and attention if you’ve ever wanted to have true multitasking on iOS 6. Take a look inside for more information.

Once installed, you’ll find a new preference panel for Background Manager in iOS’s stock settings app. Inside, you’ll find two main sections — Global, and Each app. The Global section allows you to define backgrounding rules for every app on your device. Here you can set the background mode — None, Background, and Native (fast app switching).

Background Manager 03

The Each app section is where things really begin to get interesting with Background Manager. Here you can setup specific rules for every individual app installed on your device.

Tapping the Add Item button will display a list of all of your apps in alphabetical order. Once you select an app, it will be added to your list of global overrides. By default, the override for each individual app is set to native backgrounding, but as you might have guessed, these settings can be changed by tapping the override affiliated with the app you wish to customize.

The great thing about the individual app overrides is that you get special auto launch functionality. You can, for instance, make an app auto relaunch when the app is exited. You can also make the app launch on install or on boot. I specifically love the ability to auto launch items, because it allows you to quickly interface with apps that normally take a significant amount of time to launch.

Background Manager 02

There are, of course, battery life concerns. Anytime you start talking about running an app in the background permanently, you’re bound to run into battery life issues. I’ve been running Tweetbot in the background using Background Manager, and while my battery life has likely been negatively influenced, it hasn’t been readily noticeable to me. Then again, I’m probably not the best person to question when it comes to issues of battery life.

The thing to keep in mind here is that Background Manager isn’t Backgrounder. It doesn’t rely on any of Backgrounder’s code base, as it was built from scratch with the latest versions of iOS in mind. (As an interesting side note, the developer of Background Manager actually helped out the developer of the original Backgrounder with iOS 5 support.) Keeping that in mind, it’s highly possible that Background Manager does a much better job when it comes to battery life than any of its predecessors.

Background Manager is available for $0.99 on Cydia’s BigBoss repo. If you’ve been looking for a way to enable true backgrounding on your iOS 6 device, you now have a choice. Let me know what you think about Background Manager in the comments below.

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  • SweKiwi

    Does.. it ble- I mean, work?

  • Phil Randle

    I downloaded this yesterday, it works flawlessly. The other tweak I couple with this is ‘insomnia’. I was able to leave a few downloads on over night while my device was on sleep, app continued to run and insomnia kept the wifi connected. Brilliant.

    • hamzehf

      what app do you use for downloads?

      • air naji

        Tdownloader is good for almost anything except torrents. files app & amerigo turbo downloader are good too.

  • Al

    Although Background Manager is welcoming. I just want Quasar… :-)

  • marcus1324

    Wow Jeff are you going back to the old style for making videos?

  • Abinash Shaw

    Love the ducks in the background!

  • Guest

    Does anybody else get booted into safe mode when trying to close all apps using Auxo after installing this tweak?

    • seyss

      auxo…..

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

      No. If you are having problems I highly recommend using the latest beta off their repo at repo.a3tweaks. com (remove the space added).

  • John Smith

    Yes great tweak and all but what does each setting do? Example when you enable Backgrounding, there’s an option called “force native mode”. What does it do?

    • Lordthree

      I suspect it allows you to select which apps use native ‘app freezing’ back grounding, and which will stay running and not freeze.

      I’ve never had any issues with Apple’s way of doing it- freeze states are great.

      • AndroidSucks!

        False i tried the settings and they do nothing

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

        Not for me. If you run an app with native mode you should see the splash screen (known as default.png if you look for it) every single time. Background manager does not do this!

  • http://twitter.com/rick5up Ricky

    At last. I saw this yesterday and it was true ahhaha

  • seyss

    I begged ashikase (Backgrounder dev) to fix his tweak but he never answered.. this new tweak is really appreciated!

    • RarestName

      Can’t blame him since the project was abandoned a long time ago.

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

      It’s no surprise this tweak is so good since if you look at Backgrounder then you’ll see that the dev of Background Manager was the dev that brought out Backgrounder for iOS 5. I just hope this project does not get abandoned since I’ve missed video backgrounding (what I use this tweak most for) especially in apps like Netflix!

  • Aleandro green

    its not doing anything for me…anyone else having issues?

    • AndroidSucks!

      It does something but it aint true 100% backgrounding lol

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

        It’s 99c so stop complaining

      • AndroidSucks!

        If something does not work as advertised i will complain even if its free..

  • bw00ds

    I used Backgrounder for as long as it had life. Stopped at iOS 5.1.2 (?) I think on an iPod Touch 3G. The reason I used it was primarily to keep two or three apps in native mode because they took long enough to boot up and every time I “multitasked” to them, it was annoying to have to wait for it to load into memory again just to see a document or whatever that I already had open. I also used it to white list some apps from being killed.

    With the iPhone 5, however, I find that it is so speedy that those are no longer issues. And in using the surprisingly versatile and feature-rich tweak, BatteryDoctorPro, I can still white list apps. I don’t think for me that this new tweak is necessary.

    • AndroidSucks!

      Up some apps will stop downloading content when paused the apple way that sucks…. Desktop pcs have true backgrounding cause it makes them more productive same gies for mobile devices

      • RarestName

        So does Android, but I see people clear their multitasking trays on Android all the time. When I ask them why, they will tell me that it will save them battery and make their devices faster.

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

        I think their right since Android (as far as I know) backgrounds everything where as iOS does stuff freeze-state as you know. The problem with this is that unless a developer specifically alters the way their app behaves in the background any content downloading will stop and any video too (although I think sound backgrounds by default at least music any way)…

      • AndroidSucks!

        Nope android does not 100 background either

      • wadjj

        if you mean for apps that have background support but are subject to 10 minutes limitation, infinitytask is actually a better solution. It will only waive the 10 minutes limitation. When the background taks(usually downloading) finishes, it will still terminate itself. It’s a variation of native background rather than a different mode, so it should be stabler. I haven’t run into any trouble with it and it’s a breeze using it for downcast and everclip

      • AndroidSucks!

        I have that and the flex patch and they do allow functions but the old backgrounder really let everything work in the background

      • bw00ds

        True what you say. I just don’t have much need for downloading in the background. For me, the only time it takes awhile to DL is maybe large PDF files.

        Straying from this thread on an off-topic tangent, I find it strange that on this website, when you just express your opinion, even ones that are not “offensive,” your comment gets rated down. Aside from my original one, see RarestName’s comment below. He’s just stating what he’s observed and he gets two votes down? Don’t get some people.

  • AndroidSucks!

    Nice try but this is not 100% backgrounding i can tell cause when i switch back to a bavkgrounded app it still reloads all the content….

    So i call fail and am still waiting for 100% backgrounding

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

      I didn’t happen for me although I have not tested thoroughly I can confirm that video backgrounding works at least!

    • seyss

      multitasking is one thing, preventing a background app to be killed due to low memory is another

  • AndroidSucks!

    Yeah its not like the old backgrounder

  • AndroidSucks!

    Quasar is the only tweak that truly multitasks but its broken on ios 6

  • AndroidSucks!

    My flex backgrounding patch does more. Than this

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

      Explain! Your comment intrigues me

      • soundmanbrad

        It also intrigues me.

      • AndroidSucks!

        There is a patch on flex that keeps apps running u combine it with insomnia And infinity tast for better backgroundibg but still not 100%

  • Damian W

    Finally, but the tweak still runs into some weird issues: I could not see my notifications on lock screen because the iMessage was running in background and was checking them automatically (the app was actually closed). Could not see badge count of NC banner either; also, sometimes the apps would disappear from the task switcher by itself.

  • http://twitter.com/altrejo Atrejo

    Mehhh I can can wait 1 second for an app to be load…

    • AndroidSucks!

      Dude modern. Computes need to be able. To do multiple things at a time

  • Anne

    I use >>Oubank 2<< on my i5 and BackgroundManager doesn't let me put in my password. I had to kill it in Mobile Substrate Addons and have to wait for an update.

  • http://www.twitter.com/theiblog Oliver Haslam

    Curious what real uses people have for this. Having it launch Tweetbot quicker is fine, but there’s got to be a better use than that.
    Also, having Tweetbot open in the background will have it constantly stream new Tweets won’t it? Got to affect battery life, that.

    • SIS3970

      I use it for Google+. When enabled, all the pictures I take are allways and instantly uploaded to my G+ space. Without the 5 minutes limitation. I now don’t have to keep in mind anymore to regurarely start G+ in order for my pictures to be synced.

      • http://www.twitter.com/theiblog Oliver Haslam

        Just tried doing the same with Dropbox. It doesn’t seem to start uploading in the background.

  • Mista Bozack

    haha true backgrounding!?? and why did this tweak absolutely nothing on my idevice!????

    • David

      It would be you know… helpful? maybe if you actually included some information about what you where using it on/for/what/how?

      Just maybe?

  • SimonReidy

    It seems a few people are confused by this tweak. It works extremly well, but only if you keep the the global settings set to native. Then use the tweak to setup apps individually to override the global settings (using the “Background” setting) if you want a few apps to remain truly backgrounded (mainly for extended downloading or ultra-quick multitasking purposes).

    Don’t set “Background” as the global setting for your device, as otherwise apps will remain fully backgrounded when opened by default, and your device will quickly get sluggish and die from battery drain. Also keep in mind that any app running fully in the background won’t receive push notifications, as as far as the device is concerned, you are still in the app.

    • AndroidSucks!

      Ummm we want the options to work please ….. I want global multitasking and it does not work … Thi tweak is not as powerful as backgrounder was

      • SimonReidy

        I just tried Global set to ‘Background’ and then Global set to ‘Native’ and both options work as intended for me on my iPhone 5 and iPad 3.

        Why you’d want “global” set to ‘background’ I don’t know though, as that forces every app you open to stay fully running in the background, until you manually kill them from the switcher or they drop back to native mode (if set).. It also means most of those apps won’t receive push notifications as the device has no way of knowing the apps in use aren’t in the foreground.

        You’re better off letting the bulk of your apps remain on the default native setting, and just set individual apps you need true backgrounding for under the “Each App” section.

        I’ve found this particularly useful for my banking app, which doesn’t even support iOS’s native fast switching. Setting it to run in the background works perfectly.

  • zachf914

    To me, there is no point in this. This will just drain my battery more.

  • Rigs101

    This doesn’t keep music playing from YouTube once you exit the app like backgrounder use to

    • SIS3970

      For that there is ProTube Extension for YouTube. It comes with a setting to keep audio running when app is closed. And as a bonus, You’ll be able to download your favourites as well.

      • Rigs101

        That app is bi polar over half the time it says it can’t find the video file or something like that I was trying to get music from pro tube last night and every video was giving me that message or something about the video isn’t in mobile format

  • David

    Connecting to free wifi networks (wifi roaming also known as 802.11r or fast roaming). Stuff like that. The list goes on.

    The app “We-Fi” (we as in wedding) works for things like this on android if you have an android phone. But stopped working for iOS after iOS 4.3 i believe dont quote me on that.

  • David

    stay put* sorry about the typo.

  • David Liu

    Got this today and set Cydia app to Background. I assume that upon returning to the Cydia app after running other app, Cydia will not ‘refresh’ or reload — but it did.
    Any thoughts?

  • Gordon Smith

    Hi
    I have purchased Background Manager and am unable to successfully install it.
    After installing in Cydia and pressing the Respring button my device hangs for a minute then attempts to do a reboot then hangs again indefinitely. The only thing I can do is reboot into safe mode and uninstall the package

    If anyone can help I would appreciate it.

  • Namra Muhammad

    Plz someone release tweak where Cydia would not have to be ‘loading.. done.. release gpg.. release package…etc’ everytime i go to Cydia !!!

  • Jade Starr™

    Works cool on my iPhone 5. Sadly a few issues on iPad 2 and iPad mini. Any apps that are not ipad ready and set up using Retinapad crash upon opening and the screen doesn’t register swiping properly. My keyboard was not registering strokes and apps in wiggle mode were extremely hard to move. Screen swiping was fixed after removing it.

  • http://jtarrio.tumblr.com jtarrio

    What this needs is an activator gesture. I don’t want to leave any app configured to be backgrounds by default. I only want to background apps in certain occasions like when starting a download or a sync. I used to do that with Backgrounder and it worked perfect for me. Combined with CardSwitcher, which provides live cards of backgrounded apps, Backgrounder was awesome. This is missing that functionality (the activator gesture). The setting “Minimize at mode change” seemed to indicate this was possible. Bit misleading.

    • http://jtarrio.tumblr.com jtarrio

      I’d also love some kind of indicator than an app is running in the background. Like a badge with Backgrounder.

  • Christopher Reid

    This tweak works great with cardswitcher found in cydia. Also if the app is native background like iPod or pandora don’t use with background manager.

  • janbian

    Mr. Brayden I don’t know if you would see this post after 8 months of last comment you made but I would like to tell you that the app you recommended is unreliable for most needed variety downloads specially vides. you have exaggerated describing it.