Six iOS 8 features inspired by Jailbreak Apps and Tweaks

BY Gautam Prabhu

Published 3 Jun 2014

iOS 8 logo

After several months of rumors and speculations, Apple unveiled iOS 8, the next generation mobile operating system for iPhone and iPad at the WWDC 2014 Keynote on Monday.

Every year Apple adds new features that have been inspired by jailbreak apps and tweaks, and this year hasn’t been any different. We take a look at the jailbreak inspired features Apple has included in iOS 8.

1. Interactive Notifications

One of the major reason users jailbreak their device is for the Quick Reply feature offered by jailbreak apps and tweaks like biteSMS and auki 2. The jailbreak tweaks allow users to quickly respond to a message without leaving the app you’re in.

Apple has addressed this by adding Interactive Notifications in iOS 8, which will allow users to respond to banner notifications or notifications in the Lock screen or Notification Center without leaving the app you’re in. In fact, iOS 8 is quick reply on steroids as it not only allows you to reply to text messages, but it also allows you to take action on texts, email, calendar invitations, reminders, and even messages from apps like Facebook right from their notification banners — without leaving the app you’re in.

The ability to interact with notifications in the lock screen is quite similar to the functionality long offered by popular lock screen tweak LockInfo.

However, jailbreakers still have the advantage of being able to quickly compose text messages without leaving the app you’re in with the Quick Compose feature offered by these tweaks, which is not available in iOS 8.

iOS 8 Interactive Notifications

2. Widgets

When Apple introduced the Notification Center in iOS 5, we all got very excited because it included Weather and Stocks widgets. We were expecting Apple to allow app developers to create widgets for their apps. However, that did not happen, so the jailbreak community stepped up the plate and released several custom widgets for Notification Center.

However, with iOS 8, app developers will be able to add widgets to Notification Center that update you on package deliveries, the latest surf reports, or breaking stories from your favorite news app.

iOS 8 Notification Center Widgets

3. Third-Party Keyboards

One of the features that I really liked about Android is the ability to install feature rich third-party keyboard like SwiftKey, Swype etc. Jailbreaking made it possible to bring third-party keyboards such as Fleksy, Hipjot to iOS users.

Apple has finally listened. It will allow third-party keyboards apps in the App Store that can be downloaded and used systemwide. The good news is that Swype and SwiftKey, two of the most popular third-party keyboards on Android have already confirmed that they will be releasing their keyboard apps in the App Store. It will be interesting to see if developers of popular keyboard tweaks such as SwipeSelection will also release their apps in the App Store. It is a refreshing change, especially when you consider that Apple introduced the QuickType feature in iOS 8, which makes typing easier by suggesting contextually appropriate words to complete your sentences.

iOS 8 Third-party Keyboards

4. Touch ID and Third-Party Integration

One of my favorite features of iPhone 5s is the Touch ID fingerprint scanner. If you had a horrible experience with fingerprint scanners on laptops like I did, it is almost “magical” how well Touch ID works. It isn’t perfect, but it works almost 100% of the time, and Apple continues to improve its performance and reliability.

However, one of my biggest gripes with Touch ID on the iPhone 5s has been its limited utility. You can currently use it only to unlock your iPhone and purchase items from iTunes.

Cydia developers quickly pounced on this opportunity and have released Touch ID tweaks such as iTouchSecure that allow you to autofill passwords anywhere with Touch ID, authenticate with Touch ID for any password entry, and also tweaks like Aspheleia, BioLockdown, BioProtect that allow you to lock apps with Touch ID.


Apple has added new Touch ID APIs in iOS 8 which will allow developers to add Touch ID functionality to their apps. So users will be able to use Touch ID to sign in to third-party apps without the need to enter a password. Apple has also clarified that the fingerprint data is protected and is never accessed by iOS or other apps, so it should be very secure.

5. QuickType

PredictiveKeyboard, a jailbreak tweak released in 2013, adds an additional row to the iOS keyboard, and displays real-time predictions. It can learn words as well as phrases.

As mentioned earlier, iOS 8 includes a new keyboard called QuickType, which makes typing easier by suggesting contextually appropriate words to complete your sentences. It can learn the way you communicate, get to know your favorite phrases, and suggest a logical next word.



6. Hey, Siri

iOS 8 brings a number of improvements to Siri. One of them is “Hey, Siri” which allows you to activate Siri completely hands-free, which will be extremely useful while driving. It works quite similar to the jailbreak tweak OkSiri, which was released recently.

iOS 8 - Siri features

Some other minor features inspired by jailbreak apps and tweaks as follows:

  • One of the iOS 8 features for Messages is the ability to rename the conversation, which is similar to the functionality offered by jailbreak tweak MessageRenamer.
  • iOS 8 includes a feature that will allow you to add the last photo taken. It is not clear how the feature will work, but I’m assuming it will be similar to the jailbreak tweak LastPic.
  • It looks like iOS 8 feature, In Case of Emergency Card is quite similar to the jailbreak tweak InCaseOf, which is in the works.

These are some of the features I could think that seem to be inspired from jailbreak apps and tweaks, please let me know if I’ve missed any feature. While this means that there will be fewer reasons to jailbreak your iOS device when iOS 8 is released later this fall, I doubt it will stop users from jailbreaking their device. I will cover that in a separate topic soon.

Do you plan to jailbreak your device after upgrading to iOS 8? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.