Back in the day, there was a jailbreak tweak called Backgrounder, which brought true app backgrounding to users before iOS even had native multitasking. That tweak no longer works for the latest firmware, but a new tweak called Watchdog aims to make true app backgrounding available today on iOS 8.
Watchdog is a beta tweak that’s available via developer Allan Kerr’s third-party repo. In this post, I’ll show you how you can get Watchdog on your jailbroken device, and share a few use case scenarios.
By now, there’s absolutely no excuse for an app not to support Fast App Switching, the iPhone’s form of multitasking. It’s been about six months since iOS 4 appeared on the scene, an update in which we finally received native multitasking on our iPhones.
Understandably, not all of our apps flew out of the gate with multitasking support built in; slowly but surely, they were updated to add support for such a critical feature. Sadly, there remain apps that have been neglected; apps that have yet to taste the sweet nectar of multitasking.
This is where jailbreaking comes in handy. Jailbreak apps like Backgrounder have provided an incredible workaround for these neglected apps. Go Native! adds yet another option to the playing field, but can it compete with Backgrounder?
We’ve talked about Multifl0w before, one the first jailbreak apps to give a multitasking UI to the iPhone. At the time, I wasn’t really a fan because I thought that ProSwitcher was a much better application. Things have changed a lot since then. Apple developed their own multitasking feature, and ProSwitcher was left for dead by its developer who recently said he will not update it.
>When it comes to multitasking, the Apple line of iDevices falls short. Very short. Apple’s claims are more or less valid; multitasking drains the battery. While this may be true in some cases, it doesn’t completely hold up to that claim. There are millions of people who jailbreak their devices just so they can multitask.
As of this writing, all generations of the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch cannot multitask applications that are not part of the stock firmware. This means that you cannot download applications from iTunes App Store and minimize it (run it in the background). Have you ever become frustrated that you can’t listen to Pandora radio and surf the web with Mobile Safari? Yeah? So have many of us.
Rumors are piling up that Apple will finally allow these 3rd party applications to run in the background. On white paper, this means you can run applications such as Pandora and play games simultaneously at the expense of a generous battery tax. At least the choice would exist. We own the devices after all.
The intriguing part of the iPhone is the fact that there is only one main button. Equally as important is the power button and the volume controls. This opens up new questions as to how to activate backgrounded applications. It’s clear that Apple invents but it’s also clear that Apple sometimes “borrows” code from the open source projects.
Enter Activator. A free and open source library and Mobile Subtract extension, developed by Ryan Petrich (better known as @rpetrich on Twitter), available to any developer to include with their development projects. That’s great for developers. What about the average user?
To the average user, the only catch is Activator is a forbidden fruit and only available for jailbroken devices and only available in the Cydia Store. Anyone using Overboard and/or Snappy is already familiar with the library since Activator is a required library for both applications and is automatically downloaded and installed when either application is installed. It can also be installed as a stand alone application so there is no obligation to install anything else. Just do a search for “Activator” in Cydia and install. Then go to Settings.app and scroll down to your jailbreak settings table and configure your gestures.
Activator installs a handful of gestures, or activation methods, that can be assigned to any application, even applications from the App Store. How cool is that? This allows users to quickly access, or activate, background processes by simply swiping a finger or quickly tapping the home button. Of course, this genius developer also included support for using the volume buttons and the power button.
Assuming all said rumors of multitasking are true, what are your thoughts on handling backgrounded applications? Will Apple develop their own gesture code or “borrow” and close the doors? Activator is there… in all its glory. Free and open. One thing is certain; the current gesture API will need to be updated because one home button cannot do all the work.
I can’t remember the last time I was so excited about a jailbreak app. Maybe it was for Action Menu, or for mQuickDo? I’m not sure, but what I know is that ProSwitcher has radically changed the way I use my iPhone.
ProSwitcher is a multitasking app for the iPhone that kinda replicates the Palm Pre “cards” feature by adding a very nice UI to Backrounder, the jailbreak app that allows you to run apps in the background.
I never was a fan of Backgrounder. Having to close the app to launch another one kinda defeated the purpose. But ProSwitcher makes app switching seamless, and I have to say, with a certain style.
9 to 5 Mac gives a pretty good description of how it works:
You can trigger the cards view by opening the application from home-screen, touching the status bar, or by double clicking the home button. To add an application to the Cards view, you simple have to launch the app, then hold down the home button for about one to two seconds. To remove an app from the “Cards” view click the close button on the top left of the card, to swipe the card up the screen.
I ran ProSwitcher on my 3GS for a few hours with up to 10 apps open at once. It didn’t crash, it didn’t lag and the battery didn’t seem to take a big hit from it. Obviously your mileage may vary…
What I like the best about ProSwitcher is how you can smoothly switch between apps without having to close/reopen them. Actually no! What I like the best about ProSwitcher is that it is free on Cydia via the BigBoss repo. Yes it’s free, so grab it until the dev realizes that he should make you pay 10 bucks for it.
ProSwitcher is one of this application that should be implemented in the next iPhone OS and honestly, I really believe (and predict) that Apple is already stripping down the code of this app and trying to make it its own for iPhone OS 4.0.
Have you tried ProSwitcher yet? How do you like it?
MultiFl0w is a new application that brings multitasking to the iPhone. MultiFl0w is not really an app per say, it’s more of a mod that gives a nice UI to Backgrounder, the application that lets your run apps in the background.
I’m still in Australia with limited internet connection and I’d love to try MultiFl0w for myself but, the lack of wifi and the poor 3G signal won’t allow me to, so I am just here reading reviews of it.
My friend Patrick wrote a rave review of MultiFl0w that I suggest you to read for more info about this app. This is in short what Patrick has to say about MultiFl0w:
Multifl0w is easily the best multitasking experience I’ve seen for the iPhone.
In the meantime, here is a video demo of MultiFl0w in action.
MultiFl0w is available to jailbroken iPhones only. If you haven’t yet, that should give you yet another reason to jailbreak your iPhone. You can download MultiFlow from Cydia and Rock for $4.99 after a 10-day trial.
If unlike me you are able to download MultiFlow, please try it out and let me know what you think by leaving a comment.
I love Categories and use it to organize my apps on my iPhone but it takes forever to load a folder, especially when it contains a lot of apps. Two recent application upgrades have really helped with this problem.
Backgrounder allows you to run processes in the background and the new version of Categories(2.2) takes advantage of this new functionality. By using the Background feature, you can set up folder by folder background loading. This makes it lightning fast to open folders. In normal iPhone mode, open the folder you want to speed up. Press and hold the menu button until you see the message, “Backgrounding Enabled”. It will exit the folder but opening it again will be really fast. Press and hold the menu button again while the folder is opened to turn it off.