Stands on the shoulder of Giants

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iOS and Jailbreak

Jailbreaking your iOS devices

I own two iOS devices at the moment. An original iPad and a iPhone 4S device. As a self-proclaimed geek, I jailbroke them. My iPhone runs iOS 5.1.1 and the iPad runs on 5.0.1 version.

I love jailbreaking my iOS devices. They give me tweaks that improve my device capabilities. For instance, I once purchased a tweak that give iPad capability to make a phone call. Jailbreak also make my iPhone more powerful and flexible, and easier to use.

These are my default tweaks installed, you can find the description in a lot of sites:

  1. SBSettings
  2. CyDelete
  3. FolderEnhancer
  4. iFile
  5. IntelliScreenX
  6. DisplayOut (for iPad)
  7. openSSH Server
  8. Springtomize+

Problems in jailbreaking process

Jailbreak process is a double-edged sword. In one side, you will get extra flexibility and power that Apple does not provide. As a power user, you might love this because you can control your device, more than Apple can. Something that Android users proud of than Apple users.

But there is a catch, since jailbreak tweaks sometimes messing around with iOS internal stuff. Stuff like iOS internal plist files and daemon's configuration. It can lead to a serious problem. Your device's performance can be very slow. Or most of the time, your battery suddenly drained faster.

I myself experienced these problems with my iOS devices. With my original iPad, its performance drops till it can not respond to my touch at all. These symptoms occurs when I perform 'Update All' operation in the App Store app. I have to wait for the update operation finished to gain the responsiveness.

I finaly began to investigate the culprit lately. I perform the 'Update All' operation, and so it began. The iPad get slower and slower until I can not interact with it at all. After examining for a little while, I noticed that one of the icon start blinking very fast. Finally I found the culprit! Now I can continue to find the solution.

After doing some research, I found that iOS gives a real-time priority for display related process, including icon drawing. As the icon tries to update all the time, the OS pratically ignores all the input and resulting to a non responsive system.

The fix is relatively simple, I just need to identify the package, and remove it. Since it does not response to my touch, I need to find other way to uninstall. This is the moment that openSSH package comes to rescue. Since an openssh server instance is running in my iPad, I can SSH to it by using terminal in my laptop. And the another important fact thing about Cydia package, they are actually a debian package.

What does it mean? It means, along with the Cydia app, I already have apt and dpkg command in my iPad. I can remove package as easy as managing my Debian server.

But it is still far from over. Unfortunately, I switch the openSSH process off. So, now I have a non-responsive iPad with no way to fix it. The final way is restoring it. This time, I choose not to jailbreak it. The good thing is, the problem now is gone. My iPad keeps its performance, no lag at all.

The other problem is with battery life. I find my iPhone battery is draining so fast, comparing to my brother's iPhone 4. I kow it is not an apple to apple comparison (pun intended), but the numbers showing that there is something wrong with my configuration.

Fortunately, this problem does not force me to restore my iPhone. I found an App, developed by UC Berkeley named Carat. It is a research application aiming to detect energy bugs in your smartphone. At the moment, you can install it in your iOS and Android devices.

Carat is very easy to use. All you need to do is launch the app, and let it monitors your device's energy consumption for few days. The application will give you a notification when it has finished, showing energy bugs application. You can read more on this matter in their website.

Carat's reports show that one of my tweaks consume most of my device's battery. The tweak is Springtomized+. I used it for changing my homescreen layout, my dock and task manager behaviour and the folder appearance. So, it is no wonder why Springtomized+ eats the most. I finally removed it along with some other apps that included in the list.

Conclusion

I have not done another examining about the battery life after Carat's result, but I feel that the battery life is increasing. I will write about it later.

The lesson here is you have to choose your jailbreak tweak carefully. And you mus read the description very carefully before installing it. Jailbreak still provides a lot more tweaking, but with greater power, comes greater responsibility. You must provide emergency plan for fixing the side effect.

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