Whenever a new iOS version is released, it is always interesting to reflect on which features Apple added to the software that were already possible by jailbreaking your device. iOS 8 took a lot of people by surprise, with several new major features as opposed to minor refinements. As a result, the software update rendered a lot of jailbreak tweaks obsolete going forward. But it also isn’t all bad news for the jailbreak scene. Read ahead for a list of jailbreak tweaks on the chopping block and more…
Apple did a lot to improve the keyboard in iOS 8, adding QuickType predictive typing and support for third-party keyboards like Swype, SwiftKey and Fleksy. That makes a number of keyboard-related jailbreak tweaks such as HipJot, Octopus and PredictiveKeyboard a lot less needed, since much of the functionality of these extensions is now possible on a stock iOS device.
Quick Reply Tweaks
Apple has added interactive notifications to iOS 8, which lets iPhone and iPad users interact with notifications in real time. The functionality is built into several stock apps, including quick reply for Messages. We’ll also likely see quick reply for apps like WhatsApp, Kik Messenger and Snapchat, as developers can add interactive notifications to third-party apps with the iOS 8 SDK. This largely eliminates the need for tweaks like Auki, BiteSMS and Couria.
Touch ID Tweaks
Apple is opening up Touch ID to developers, allowing developers to integrate the fingerprint scanner in third-party apps. This functionality is something that is currently only possible with jailbreak tweaks like BioLockdown, BioProtect, iTouchSecure and Asphaleia, but we can assume that many of those packages will no longer be necessary once iOS 8 is publicly released in the Fall.
Apple lifted a feature from Google and the Moto X by adding always-on “Hey, Siri” voice recognition functionality to iOS 8. If the phrase sounds familiar, it is because Google uses “OK, Google” for Google Now on Android and Google Glass. If it sounds even more familiar, it is probably because you had a jailbreak tweak called OkSiri installed. With it now being a stock feature, though, this tweak will likely go by the wayside. Note that for Hey, Siri to work, your device needs to be plugged in.
Less than a week ago, I covered a new jailbreak tweak called InCaseOf. The extension adds emergency info to your Lock screen just in case you need it. A mere five days later, Apple announced that it is including this functionality as a stock feature on iOS 8. During its WWDC keynote yesterday afternoon, it showed a slide of 35 new features coming to iOS 8, with one of them being an In Case of Emergency card.
The ability to rename a group conversation is a stock feature on iOS 8, eliminating the need for a jailbreak tweak I covered back in February called MessageRenamer. Like other tweaks, it could still live on for older iOS devices. But its price tag of 99 cents might not seem as attractive anymore, considering that Apple offers the same functionality for free on iOS 8 devices.
Remote Messages is at least partially unneeded as of iOS 8 and Yosemite, as Mac users can now send and receive SMS and MMS messages from the desktop when their iPhone is nearby. But there are several other features that this extension offers, including easy access to the Camera Roll, that could remain useful. Remote Messages is also still useful for those using the service on PC, as pictured in the screenshot above.
iWidgets is not completely obsolete, but Notification Center widgets on iOS 8 might be a reason for jailbreak users to look past the tweak on their device. iWidgets is primarily used for the Home and Lock screens, however, so I imagine this jailbreak tweak is the one least affected by iOS 8 on this list. There is also an older jailbreak tweak for bringing Notification Center widgets to the Lock screen that could live on.
The Good News
Even though a number of tweaks will undoubtedly be less useful because of the iOS 8 software update, that doesn’t mean all hope is lost for the jailbreak scene. There are still plenty of iconic extensions that make jailbreaking worth it: iFile, Activator, Safari Download Manager and Winterboard are perfect examples. Apple is unlikely to ever provide root iOS filesystem access or full theming support, so these tweaks will always be staples in the jailbreaking community.
Apple also neglected to touch the Lock screen much in iOS 8, meaning that jailbreak tweaks like Forecast, IntelliScreenX, LockInfo7 and LockScreen Informer are still worthwhile. On top of that, I’m sure we will see a lot of jailbreak tweaks that take advantage of the new iOS 8 features if the new software version is ever jailbroken. iOS 8 is available now as a beta for developers, to be followed by a public release in the Fall for iPhone 4S, iPad 2 or later.