There is no denying that one of the most commonly used applications on any iPhone will be the default Messages application which ships as part of iOS. The app itself is extremely simple, and whilst it is functional and does everything it needs to do, it has been said that Apple should have maybe added a little bit of additional functionality to it over the years.
One of the biggest issues with creating a messaging application is blending the right mix of form and function. Depending on what type of user you are, you may have hundreds of text conversations in the list at any given time, or you may be like me and delete all SMS conversations after each message. I personally cannot stand having an endless stream of conversations, so after each message is sent I delete the entire thing. No matter which type of user you are, the application needs to contain a powerful set of features without being jam-packed with options and compromising on the user experience.
I would call the native Messages application extremely bare bone, as it is essentially made up of a tabled list, an edit button and a compose option to create a new message. The application has pretty much looked like this way since the first iPhone in 2007, with only the addition to send image attachments being added. Normally, in these circumstances we look to the jailbreak community to provide some additional features or enhancements, but when it comes to deal with text and multimedia messages, developers have generally opted for replacing the application altogether with a custom built piece of software. Applications such as BiteSMS and Messages+ are available on Cydia and contain powerful and premium features, but they achieve this by totally replacing the default application.
So, what if you require a little bit more from your texting experience, but you aren’t quite ready to shell out premium money and radically overhaul the way you use the phone? iOS developer John Coates has you covered with the release of his ‘xMessages’ tweak in Cydia. xMessages exists to provide an enhancement to the native Messages application by allowing timestamps to be added to the conversation, and also the inclusion of thumbnail photographs which are taken from the Contacts application. Both of these settings can be toggled on or off via a new settings entry which is created upon installation of xMessages.
xMessages is a very simple tweak, but is certainly one worth having if you require a little bit more from the native Messages application. Available free of charge from the BigBoss repository and requires iOS 4 or above to work.
You will obviously need to jailbreak your iPhone to install this tweak. For jailbreaking iPhone 4S and iPad 2, you can simply follow our step by step guide posted here to jailbreak iOS 5.0.1 using Absinthe on Windows or Mac. For those of you with iPhone 4, 3GS, iPad 1, and iPod touches can use Redsn0w or Sn0wbreeze to untether jailbreak on iOS 5.0.1.