Activator Featured

Activator has been around for a long time, and it’s safe to say that it’s a staple jailbreak app, and probably a little bit under appreciated. While new fangled tweaks seem to get all the shine, Activator, the gesture plumbing that many jailbreak tweaks rely on, keeps on trucking along.

Since the initial 1.7.5 beta release at the beginning of May, Activator has been on the receiving end of a significant overhaul of its structure and inner workings. Perhaps the most exciting of all of the updates happened yesterday, with 1.7.5 beta 6. This new release adds support for per-app launch gestures and icon flick gesture. Think Velox.

In other words, Activator just got a lot more power under the hood, and it’ll be interesting to see what developers and users like you, do with it all. Take a look inside as I dissect these two new features and showcase how they can be used.

If you’ve ever used Velox, or read about Velox, then you’re at least already familiar with the concept of flick icon gestures. Velox allows you to flick down or up on an app icon to launch an enhanced folder of sorts. While Velox surely didn’t invent flick icon gestures, it definitely popularized them.

Starting with 1.7.5 beta 6, Activator contains support for flick icon gestures. These new gestures can be used across all app icons, or can even be assigned to work with only specific app icons on your Home screen. This is an awesome new feature that really opens up some amazing new potential for developers implementing Activator support into their apps, and users in general.

For example, I was able to solo each of the four flick icon gestures — up, down, left, and right — to control my Stock music app. A swipe up on the Music app icon toggles between play and pause, a swipe down opens up MiniPlayer, and a left or right swipe goes to the previous or next track respectively. The swipe gestures on such a tiny icon definitely takes a bit of getting used to, but in the end, it works pretty well. Perhaps the tap zones will be refined some as it nears public release.

Up next is a feature that’s perhaps just as exciting as the flick icon gestures — support for launching actions via an app launch gesture. In basic terms, this means that I can assign an Activator action to execute whenever a specific app is launched. In the example found within the video above, I made the tweet share sheet launch whenever I launched Cydia. No, that doesn’t really make any sense, but it shows off the potential of what’s at work here. Again, I look forward to seeing what developers come up with when using these new gestures.

Getting better with time

From just a high level perspective, I find it mighty admirable that one developer can continue to refine and work on an app year after year. That’s exactly what Petrich has done with Activator, and it’s not like he’s gaining royalties off of its usage. That’s dedication, and it should make all of us respect the developers who continue to pour their efforts into making their releases the absolute best that they can be.

If you want to try out the latest version of Activator, then you’ll need to add Ryan Petrich’s beta repo to your list of Cydia sources. His repo is as follows:

Be sure to share your thoughts and experiences with these new Activator features. Also, feel free touch on any other aspects of the new 1.7.5 beta. As mentioned, this beta has been in development for about a month or so, and has already seen 6 releases that have brought about numerous new fixes, features, and refinements.

  • RarestName

    App Activate is dead :/

  • Willie

    Works great with velox when using the music app or like spotify.

  • Not that I’m complaining but this article is really late

  • Andy

    Doesn’t this kind of decrease the value of Velox in a way?

    • BoxCakeNinja

      I see it as an enhancement for velox. Think about it, if I wanted to quickly switch tracks I could configure the app icon to flick in the relevant direction. But lets say I wanted to quickly scrub through a song or view the album art, that where velox shines.

      • Andy

        I see your point. This isn’t going to completely render Velox useless. Activator can sort of help Velox perform certain tasks in a single gesture serving as an enhancement.

  • Radu

    This is so awesome! Thanks a lot for this post, I’ve been waiting for this forever!

  • Chris Longden

    This is awesome however one thought, how about allowing flick gestures on folders and then being able to customize them as well…. be nice to have a social folder with facebook, twitter etc inside but depending on which way you flick the folder would then open up a tweek sheet or facebook compose window…

  • Andy

    Finally with this I’ll be able to open up the contact list every time I open the phone app instead of it going to dial pad, favorites or recent.

    • Radu

      that’s what I just did! 😀

  • Andy

    Very convenient and works great to compose text, mail, tweet and Facebook posts.. This is definitely a breakthrough for Activator. Can’t wait to see what devs do with this.

  • Hotrod

    Ryan Petrich…mad respect

  • andyr354


  • Malan Raja

    Say hello to increased functionality! Activator is seriously underrated.

  • noracuts

    Doesn’t work for bite-SMS quick compose, not sure why.

    Any thoughts??

  • Zaidan Umar

    Heres what im thinking, Flick up on the music player, and launch miniplayer 😀

  • andyr354

    Trying to think of a way to flick camera icon and automatically take a pic. Ideas?

    • MrShutEmDown

      download quickshootpro

  • christodouluke

    I’ve been using it to set a menu of music apps to a swipe up from the music app, same thing with the camera for camera apps. I really hope it’ll work from the switcher in the future.

  • Mista Bozack

    activator is definitely one of the best tweak or app for jailbroken devices and a must have!!!!

  • Hamu Rabi

    One problem that I can see is with the flick right and left gestures. Half the time it goes to your next springboard page instead of launching your desired app/action.

  • Hamu Rabi

    Flick up on Messages or BiteSMS to compose text; Flip up on Mail to compose email. Great tweak!!!

  • Hamu Rabi

    Flick up on Phone to access your Keypad; Flick down on Phone to access your favorites.

  • SimonReidy

    This is so awesome. I’m using it to hide a lot of lesser used apps in folders, that have something in common with the icons I have set up to flick to launch them. e.g:

    Flipping up on Gmail icon opens the Mail compose sheet. Flicking down launches the Apple Mail app.

    Flicking up on Chrome triggers the NowNow tweak for instant access to Google Now voice search. Flicking down on Chrome launches Safari.

    As long as you remember your triggers, you can use this to create a more minimal springboard layout of your favourite apps, without losing quick access to lesser-used hidden apps (plus obviously increase functionality heaps by launching quick compose sheets for Facebook, BiteSMS and Twitter).

    It’s always been one of the best tweaks, but l think this latest update to Activator makes it the most versatile and useful jailbreak tweak of all time.

  • mav3rick

    Thanks Jeff! Just a whole new world of possibilities for Jailbreak users.

  • Nathan Dalman

    This would be great to set up Guided Access with application launch when the kids wanna use my iPad.
    Is there currently an Activator action for Guided Access?

  • batongxue

    Ryan, we love you.
    From the song Ryan Giggs we love you, 🙂 LOL

  • Andy

    I’ve always wanted to have Camera+ in my homescreen as my default go-to camera. Since it doesn’t have video capabilities I hesitated. Now I just set flick down on Camera+ to launch stock Camera app. Best of both worlds. 🙂

    • Randy Jackson

      You should try kitcam.

      • Andy

        I have that as well, but I prefer Camera+.

  • Justin Thurmond

    Alos the update to the SLIDE OFF SCREEN gestures are DOPE!