Jailbreaking my iPhone is something I do not regret. It’s legal (despite what you might have heard) and does not void your warranty (in part because you can restore back to a pre-jailbroken state and no one will be the wiser unless you changed your baseband in the process… don’t ask).
Jailbreaking gives the average user access to more customization possibilities than the iPhone currently allows. Some of these are strictly cosmetic, while others can affect the way the phone works.
One of my favorite apps is called Activator. This allowed me to use all my physical buttons (sleep, home, volume up, volume down, mute) in different ways. For example, tapping the Home button still does what it always did – back you out of whatever you were doing.
But with Activator if I double tapped it would bring up my Hipstamatic camera and if I held it down for a full second it would bring up Camerea+, my two favorite camera apps. I had my flashlight and calculator set up to other buttons for quick and easy access (if you need a flashlight you don’t want to fumble about for it). It kind of made my iPhone more like the electronic swiss army knife it already was.
Unfortunately, this came at a high price I wasn’t even aware of until recently. I started to notice I was losing HUGE amounts of battery life even when the phone wasn’t turned on. We’re talking 30-40% overnight with everything shut down.
That’s just nuts.
Turns out it might have been Activator responsible for it. I guess having those buttons ready to respond in their new configurations require them to have a bit of memory and juice at all times. I just removed the app last night, and lost only 1% overnight. However, I also removed my moving clockwork gear theme as well, and it’s possible that had an effect as well. I’m going to experiment over the next couple of days to make sure.
What disappoints me about losing it was that I really enjoyed the benefits Activator had – especially for the camera. Fortunately I also have an app that puts a camera button next to the unlock slider bar. This is a feature that will be added to the next iOS apparently, but this version lets me hook it up to my camera of choice, so at least I still have quick and easy access to my Hipstamatic.
But there is a lesson of balance in all this. Sure you can get a Camero that’s tricked out with the best engine money can buy and add nitros-oxide to the fuel – but when you’re speeding down the highway at 200mph you shouldn’t be surprised if your fuel gauge drops like a rock. Choose your apps wisely, and keep an eye on what knock effects they might have, that’s all I can say.