In the early days, I jailbroke my iPod touch. Jailbreak tweaks accomplish some cool things, but on devices with such restricted specs, they can also wreak havoc. So I decided not to jailbreak anymore, and I was happy.

Then I visited some friends out of town. One of them had jailbroken his iPhone and was going through some of the things he had done. That was enough to make me curious again. I’ve found a number of tweaks I really like, so I thought I’d share my list.

biteSMS (free, but I paid to remove ads) – replaces Messages, and is a good enough reason to jailbreak on its own. Provides Quick Reply and Quick Compose features (pop-up texting), as well as contact pics in-app.

Springtomize 3 for iOS 7 (PAID) – provides a variety of common customization options, all neatly packaged into one app.

f.lux – tints the screen according to the time to reduce eyestrain

iOS 7s theme – provides replacement icons for a few of the really hideous iOS 7 icons (especially the camera icon … ugh)

BatterySafe – automatically turns off battery hogs when you battery reaches a pre-determined level

iCaughtU – takes a picture with the front-facing camera and emails it to you (along with an address and Google Maps link) when someone enters an incorrect passcode

CCSettings – allows me to add a few extra options to the top row of Control Center. If you want more flexibility, check out CCControls. (Springtomize hides sections of Control Center, if you wish.)

ClipShot – provides extra options for screenshots, including whether to save or copy to clipboard or both, whether to show the flash on the screen, whether to make the shutter sound, and whether to save to Photo Stream (you can bet I turned that off right away)

CyDelete7 – delete Cydia apps just like you would an App Store app

TVLocker Pro – cool animation emulating a tube TV turning off when you lock the screen

NoSlowAnimations – seriously speeds up all iOS7 animations, which makes the phone feel a lot snappier

Bloard – black iOS 7 keyboard, all the time

Barrel – animation options for switching between pages of apps



Recently, I noticed that the volume down button on my iPhone 5 stopped working. After looking around for a while, I found the following “fix” (it’s not even close to a proper fix):

Apply twisting pressure to the iPhone at the bottom left and top right corners, meanwhile pressing the button. It should then work.

I then tried just locking the screen and holding the phone in such a twisted position for a while, after which the volume button did work for a while without having to continually hold the phone in this manner. However, I so far have been unable to get it to stay this way. It appears the case has bent just enough to cause a problem.

Unfortunately, I am outside the 1-year warranty that comes with the phone.

For quite some time, I have preferred to buy my music rather than pay for a subscription. However, my friend Andrew recently got married, and the couple used Spotify (she has a Premium subscription) for their reception music. I was extremely impressed at how this worked for them. He and I stayed in a separate room from the bride, and our internet was far less reliable than where she was staying. So it went like this:

  1. Create playlist on Mac at our place.

  2. Set it to sync to iPad at her place.

  3. Pick iPad up when finished.

This meant he was able to work on the playlist from multiple locations as we took care of pre-wedding errands. But by the time we went to pick up the iPad, all the music was ready and waiting. And they didn’t have to buy the tons of music that typically go with a reception.

Mobile Sync Necessary

If I was going to sign up for such a service, I personally wanted to be able to sync music to my phone for offline listening; no way I’m going to stream everything when I share 2GB of LTE data with my dad. So either way, I would be paying. This mostly makes Spotify’s free plan moot (the exception being able to connect with my crazy friends who only use the desktop application).

App Nut

The service’s apps have to be good. And Spotify’s aren’t. They’re dark and boring. It feels less like listening to music and more like looking through a database. Rdio is very different. Their apps place a great deal of attention on album artwork, which I appreciate. The music experience stays alive.


I read somewhere that Spotify has around 11 million songs, whereas Rdio has about 8 million. 3 million is a somewhat significant gap, however, 8 million songs is still a ton, and I haven’t discovered music I want that is unavailable.

All in all, I’ve been very happy with Rdio’s $10/month plan. I’m starting to think about removing most of my iTunes library from the iPhone’s music app. I can just sync tons of music to Rdio’s app. Huge selection, reasonable price, playlists stay in sync. Aside from that, it is more social – playlists can be collaborative, be made public or private, and shared on social media (if that’s your thing; it isn’t mine).

That is what it’s time for, I think. After hearing how a friend had three truckloads of stuff from his one bedroom in his parents’ home (not including bed or bureau), I have decided I need to reduce what I own and keep around.

But there really is more to it than fear of the day I have to move all my stuff – though, not having to move as much junk would definitely be a plus. I stress out much more than I can afford to, even when I don’t realize it. And clutter can increase our stress levels. Sometimes, even when everything has a place, there is too much visual clutter. For example, the top of my bureau used to have two speakers, a vintage stereo receiver, and an iPhone radio dock all neatly arranged on top; but it didn’t make me feel good. Now, the only thing up there is the iPhone dock, and looking at it actually creates a calm feeling in me.

I plan on extending this idea throughout my space. I currently have two desks; I want to reduce to one and find a way to leave as much open space as possible on top. So no collecting papers, having ways to neatly arrange charging electronics and USB devices. My room has two closets; I will consolidate to one closet, take my old clothes to Savers, and use clear plastic bins to organize items on the shelf. (This has an added bonus of making the closet easy to pack and move – everything’s already packed!)

Going through my boxes in the garage may prove to be a challenge. Most of the stuff is unimportant, as the boxes have sat in there for years, untouched. I want to be able to toss or donate most of it, perhaps with the exception of a couple special items that may make for good decorative pieces.

Ultimately, I want an uncluttered room, minimal in appearance, and with much less in it. I think this will be one more step toward less stress.