It took Apple a fair while, but having seen some signs in iOS 7 that some attention was being paid to the great tweaks gracing Cydia and the jailbreak scene, it appears that the company has taken more than a fleeting interest this time around. In fact, several of the newly-announced software’s features first appeared through Cydia in one form or another, and here, we look at how the jailbreak scene has been a key influencer of iOS 8.
Third-Party Keyboard Support and Predictive Keyboard
If you haven’t ever jailbreaked before, then you mightn’t have known that the likes of Swype can actually already be installed on iOS, so long as you have that Cydia icon gracing your home screen. Obviously, it’s better that third-party support is now forthcoming, and if you jailbroke your device purely to enjoy an alternative keyboard, you won’t be so desperate for the likes of Evad3rs to come through with another Evasi0n-like tool on iOS 8. Perhaps.
Apart from third-party keyboard support, Apple revealed its brand new QuickType keyboard, which borrows from a lot of SwiftKey like keyboards available in Cydia, such as PredictiveKeyboard.
Quick Reply for Messages
The ability to quickly reply to notifications from the lock screen is one of the primary reasons why folks jailbreak, and with heavy influences from LockInfo, BiteSMS, Couria, Auki etc. and the many other lock screen-based tweaks, Apple has now finally introduced a means through which users can conveniently deal with and respond to notifications without unlocking.
Renaming Messaging Threads
iOS 8 allows users to rename a messaging thread to their liking, something which Apple has also borrowed from tweaks like MessageRenamer.
Siri has long since felt like the beta feature it was announced as back with iOS 5 and the iPhone 4s, but even though iOS 7 brought some notable improvements, jailbreakers always got the better deal.
In the run-up to iOS 8, we knew Siri would be greatly expanded, and as well as becoming a major part of both CarPlay and HomeKit, it’s about to become an always-on service. The jailbreak scene has tried, and largely failed to achieve this, with the likes of OkSiri having attempted to emulate the seamlessness of Google Now, but thanks to Apple, these tweaks are now redundant.
Better Message Integration With Mac
iMessage, which was brought to OS X with Mountain Lion 10.8, meant that users could respond to a large portion of their messages without perpetual checking of their iPhone. The likes of Remote Messages, a tweak that offered SMS support to boot, has managed to expand upon the limitations of iMessage, and now, gratefully, we’re getting official SMS-via-Mac support thanks to the new Continuity feature.
What’s more, it can also make and receive calls on Mac, which once again underlines Apple’s “it just works” stance on everything it tries to create.
Quick Access To Recent Contacts
iOS 8 now allows users to access their recent contacts right from the multitasking pane, which can be accessed by double tapping that hallmark Home button. It’s kind of inspired by a jailbreak tweak named QuickContacts.
But while we do applaud Apple for finally listening to the needs of its users, we’re not as sold by the way it looks in practice, and do wonder if improvements could yet be made in this regard.
Maybe Apple will allow favorite contacts to be pinned to the multitasking window in a later update? Only time will tell.
Photo Editing Options
The stock Photos app hasn’t really been offered any noteworthy enhancement in recent years, with distinct lack of editing forcing users to look at third-party offerings like Photos+ or Snapseed. Those wanting to maintain a native look might have sought the powers of the Rendarya tweak, but now Apple has given point-and-shoot fans something to savor with a fairly decent range of editing options.
It’s certainly not going to stop everyone from using Rendarya, or Snapseed, or Photos+ or any other such alternative for that matter, but nevertheless, the pressure on the jailbreak community has been somewhat alleviated.
Panorama Mode On iPad
Panorama mode has, for some reason, not been available to those on iPad, but while tweaks like Firebreak have tided us over until now, users of the Apple slate will be able to capture in 360 degrees once iOS 8 has been deemed ready for prime time.
Notification Center Widgets
There are literally dozens of tweaks out there – like NCWeather, Social Sharing Widget etc. – enabling jailbroken iOS device users to enjoy a more active Notification Center with numerous widgets, and thanks to yet more third-party support from Apple, App Store developers can now do likewise.
With iOS 8, Apple opened up the Touch ID API to developers, allowing them to implement user authentication via fingerprint in third-party apps. Cydia already had this since January this year, with a number of jailbreak tweaks enabling this functionality system-wide on iOS.
For an extensive list of Touch ID based jailbreak tweaks, check out: