Multitasking is an important feature on modern smartphones and tablets, not only because we demand more and more out of our apps at any one given time, but also because we want to be able to do more than one thing at once to save time. Multitasking has come a long way on the iOS platform over the years, but one fact remains true: the jailbreak community continues to have of the best multitasking concepts that Apple still has yet to incorporate out of the box.
Astrid by iOS developer MTAC is the latest of such multitasking concepts to come to fruition in the form of a jailbreak tweak as of late. Astrid aims to be a no-BS interface for simply accessing your most recently-used apps in a jiffy. Best of all, it includes creature comfort features that the standard App Switcher doesn’t.
In the screenshot examples above, you’ll see that Astrid’s user interface is both simplistic and deep. It doesn’t waste any screen real estate by displaying app preview cards, but instead takes a throwback approach to the early days of iOS by displaying only the app icons in the switcher. As throwbackish as it is, it’s still a far cry from a head-on backtrack to ye olde days of iOS, but instead attempts to introduce a new multitasking experience to the iOS platform.
You’ll notice that Astrid comes with a new UI style complete with colors and blurs, both of which are entirely customizable. The icons can be configured to display rounded notifications badges, notification labels, or both with relevant notification information about the app in question and haptic feedback can be employed to give you a more pleasant user experience while interfacing with Astrid.
Astrid can be activated one of two different ways, including a double-tap or long-press on the Home Screen. Deactivating Astrid can be achieved by repeating the same gestures, or by using a swipe-right gesture in the interface. Conversely, swiping left when Astrid is open lets you force-close the currently displayed app.
In addition to being a better App Switcher, Astrid also incorporates app-specific features for power users. For example:
- The Music card lets you: play, pause, skip, or rewind tracks and view album artwork & song information
- The Settings card lets you: view battery percentage and Wi-Fi IP address
- The Weather card lets you: view current weather conditions outside in your current location
- The Astrid card lets you: Respring, toggle Safe Mode, lock device, or force-quit all apps
All options can be configured from the preference pane after installation:
Here, you can:
- Toggle Astrid on or off on demand
- Choose between Compact, Expanded, or List-styled views
- Configure the Astrid interface’s style
- Configure the Astrid interface’s elements
- Configure the Astrid interface’s haptics
- Configure Astrid’s activation
- Configure Astrid’s Quick Actions
- Configure Other Astrid options
- And more…
We’ll discuss some of the tweak’s other options in depth below:
In the Style preference pane, you can:
- Choose a switcher blur style
- Choose a card blur style
- Toggle and configure a custom switcher color
- Toggle and configure a custom card color
- Enable and configure the size and corner radius of app icons
- Choose between dark, light, and auto app card details
- Choose between dark, light, and auto quick toggles
- Configure a title label font size
- Configure a notification label font size
In the Elements preference pane, you can:
- Add a rounded badge to app icons
- Add a badge label to app icons
In the Haptics preference pane, you can:
- Toggle haptic feedback on or off on demand
- Choose between soft, light, medium, and heavy haptic feedback
In the Activation preference pane, you can:
- Choose between a double-tap or long-press on the Home Screen to activate Astrid
- Choose between a double-tap, long-press, or swipe right to dismiss Astrid
In the Quick Actions preference pane, you can:
- Add an action to force-quit apps
In the Other preference pane, you can:
- Toggle showing Now Playing track in the interface
- Toggle showing Now Playing artwork in the interface
- Choose a Quick Action:
- Safe Mode
- Lock device
- Force-quit all apps
- Do nothing
- Enable battery percentage on the Settings card
- Enable Wi-Fi IP address on the Settings card
- Enable weather conditions on the Weather card
A special blue button for saving your changes appears at the bottom-right of the preference pane at all times.
For those wondering, the developer says that support for Activator will be coming soon in a future update. This will allow users to invoke the Astrid interface using any other method they want.
If you’re looking for a truly unique multitasking experience that incorporates useful functionality into what might be considered an App Switcher replacement, then Astrid might be for you. The tweak is available for $1.99 from the Twickd repository via your favorite package manager and supports jailbroken iOS 13 devices.
Will you be trying Astrid, or are you happy with the native App Switcher? Discuss in the comments section below.