Apple takes pride in being recognized as the most secure platform for business and personal use. However, new features are added in every iOS update to improve user experience and attract non-iOS market. It might be surprising for you to know that all these features are not originally innovated by Apple itself!
The Jailbreakers Community
Jailbreaking is a process through which iOS users can get access to the software after which they are able to modify it according to their own will. Originally, unauthorized third-party apps are not allowed in iOS but once you jailbreak into the system, those apps are accessible but your device is then vulnerable to attacks.
While this may sound like jailbreaking is a crime, iOS might not have been that great without the jailbreakers community. This is because after jailbreaking, the users added new iOS features in their devices that Apple officially introduced later on. Apparently, Apple also see jailbreakers as the providers of innovative ideas for upcoming iOS features!
iOS Features Taken From Jailbreakers
Following are the features that Apple “stole” from jailbreakers and are now officially a part of the operating system:
- Easy access to low power mode: A highly convenient feature was added to iOS 11 as users no longer had to search for low power mode in the Settings app. Instead, iOS 11 introduced the low power mode option in the Control Center that was first seen in iOS 10 developed by Cole Cabral.
- Notification Center: Back when iOS 10 was released, Apple proudly announced that it modified the Notification Center which now consists of bubble notifications instead of a list. Thomas Finch, a jailbreaker, introduced WatchNotifications before this innovation by Apple and he merged iOS with WatchOS. Hence the bubble notifications were unofficially there in iOS 8 and 9 devices.
- Colorful control center: CP Digital Darkroom created Cream due to which the colorful control toggles were available for iOS 8 and higher version users. Apple, however, officially released the feature in iOS 11. iPhone probably has the best user interface today because of this feature taken from a jailbreaker.
- One-handed keyboard for larger screens: Large screen iPhone was first introduced when iOS 8 was the latest iOS version officially available. However, one-handed keyboard was introduced in iOS 11 by Apple. One-handed keyboard makes it easier for people to type using one hand only instead of two. Realizing this need of users, TheAfricanNerd and SharedRoutine released OneHandWizard into the market allowing people to set the keyboard to the left or right most side of the screen. This was first seen in iOS 8 devices.
- Control Center toggles with 3D touch in iOS 10: While Apple proudly announced this feature of having 3D touch in Control Center options in iOS 10, a lot of users were already using it in previous versions. Apple iOS 9 had the 3D touch option but not in the Control Center so Creatix cashed in on this shortcoming and introduced this feature for jailbroken iPhones.
- Controlling the cursor using 3D touch: One of the most highlighted features of iOS 9 was that users can use the keyboard as trackpad and control the cursor using 3D touch. However, it was not really an excitement for iPhone users because jailbreakers were able to provide this option in iOS 4! With SwipeSelection, users were able to control the cursor by simply swiping on the keyboard which was still more convenient than using the 3D touch. iOS 12, however, do not require 3D touch for this feature.
- Turning cellular data on/off: iPhone users had to go to the settings app to turn cellular data on or off or simply had to activate airplane mode. Identifying the flaw in iOS, SBSettings and CCSettings were introduced by the jailbreakers community and it allowed controlling cellular data from the Control Center. While Apple officially released it in iOS 11, jailbreakers were able to do it iOS 8 onwards.
- 3D touch in widgets: Coming back to 3D touch again, jailbreakers were quick enough to identify that Apple has not yet enabled 3D touch in widgets. Until iOS 10 was released, users were able to have 3D touch-enabled widgets in their iPhone due to Shortcuts by CP Digital Darkroom for iOS 9 and later versions.
- Scanning QR Codes in iOS 11: QR technology is not very recent and Android phones have it since a very long time. While nobody knows why Apple officially introduced the QR code scanning in iOS 11 as it was too late, the good news for people with jailbroken iPhone was that it was already introduced by Evan Swick. Native QR has been there since iOS 6 and it is not very different from Apple’s official Camera app, despite some improvements.
- Accessing screenshots in iOS 11: An added feature on iOS 11 was that when a user took a screenshot, they had to take the longer route to access the screenshot. Since jailbreaker community realized that screenshots are usually needed immediately, DarkMalloc developed Screenshot+ that allowed users to immediately access the screenshot via the thumbnail.
- Translation by Siri in iOS 11: Translation is a very basic need of many people but Apple introduced a reliable translator in iOS 11. In fact, Siri can also dictate the translation for your convenience and to clarify pronunciations. However, CodeThemed introduced Lingual back when iOS 5 was introduced so this added feature was of negligible use.
- GIFs in Photos app: Jerry En, a jailbreaker, introduced GIFViewer back when iOS 7 was released and it serves exactly the same purpose that this new feature in iOS 11 does. Even with iOS 7, users with jailbroken iPhones were able to view GIFs from the Photos app but now it is just official by Apple.
While these are some very recent and basic features added by Apple, this has always been the case. Jailbreakers act as agents for Apple who identify consumer demand and introduce features that Apple simply copies.