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Many iPhone users spend absorbent amounts of their time in the Messages app, and that’s not surprising given just how explosively popular text messaging has become over the years. Given that fact, it’s easy to see why someone might desire more customization options with respect to an app they use all the time.
ChatUI wouldn’t be the first jailbreak tweak we’ve featured on iDB that gives the Messages app a fresh coat of paint, but it certainly would be one of the most comprehensive of the sorts. The tweak offers colorization options for both dark and light mode independently of one another and includes a number of other odds and ends that will get users excited.
As you’ll notice in the screenshot examples above, ChatUI provides options for colorizing the chat bubbles in various ways, giving the Messages app a dedicated wallpaper, and so much more. Once installed, the tweak adds a dedicated preference pane to the Settings app where users can configure it to their liking:
Things you can do here include:
Toggle ChatUI on or off on demand
Set UI configurations for light mode
Set UI configurations for dark mode
Adjust global Messages app options
The configurations for light mode and dark mode are exactly the same with respect to the options they provide, however they can be configured independently so that your Messages app looks one way while using light mode and another way while using dark mode. Given that the options are identical, we’ll only go over them once to save your time and ours:
Choose between a dark or a light Status Bar style
Choose between a dark or a light keyboard style
Choose an interaction tint color
Enable or disable gradient colorization for conversation bubbles
Use random gradients
Adjust the gradient offset via a slider
Adjust the gradient saturation via a slider
Adjust the gradient brightness via a slider
Choose a conversation bubble background color (solid if not using a gradient)
Choose a cell sender label color
Choose a cell date label color
Choose a cell summary label color
Enable and select a conversation list background image from the Photo Library
Enable and select a conversation list background color (if not using an image)
Enable and select a chat background image from the Photo Library
Enable and select a chat background color (if not using an image)
Disable the Navigation Bar blur effect
Choose a custom Navigation Bar color
Choose a custom Navigation Bar title color
Choose a custom Navigation Bar button color
Choose a custom Navigation Bar badge text color
Enable gradient colorization for chat bubbles
Choose an incoming chat bubble color
Choose an iMessage bubble color
Choose an SMS bubble color
Choose an attachment bubble color
Enable or disable the chat bubble tails
Enable bubble borders only (removes background fill)
Make bubble corners square instead of round
Choose a color for incoming message text
Choose a color for iMessage text
Choose a color for SMS text
Choose a color for attachment text
Choose a color for incoming message links
Choose a color for incoming iMessage links
Choose a color for incoming SMS links
Choose a color for the iMessage send button
Choose a color for the SMS send button
Choose a chat detail text color
Choose a chat typing dots color
Choose a chat app drawer background color
Choose a chat footer color
Choose a default contact name color
Choose an iMessage contact name color
Choose an SMS contact name color
Choose a typing indicator bubble color
Choose a typing indicator dot color
Choose a pinned conversation name label color
Choose a pinned conversation selection icon color
Disable the compose search bar blur
Choose a compose search bar color
Choose a compose background color
Choose a segmented control background color
Choose a reaction selection background color
And heading back to the primary preference pane, users will find a dedicated cell for global options, which encompass the following options:
Disable group avatars
Disable SMS send progress indicator
Disable the iMessage app drawer
As you’ll notice from the lengthy list of options above, ChatUI offers a comprehensive feature set for all kinds of jailbreakers, regardless of how they use their Messages app. Whether you’re trying to remove unwanted features, colorize the interface, or give it some background scenery with a background image, this tweak offers a little something for everyone.
Those needing a little more of a nudge will be happy to know that ChatUI is a completely free download from the CreatureCoding repository via any package manager of your choosing. The tweak supports jailbroken iOS 14 devices, and iOS 13 support is purportedly coming soon in a future update.
If you aren’t already using CreatureCoding’s repository, then you can add it to your package manager of choice with the following URL:
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It’s fairly rare when the mastermind behind Cydia decides to create his own jailbreak tweak, but when he does, the masses take note. That’s exactly what happened when Cyueue was dropped in Cydia recently. Cyueue is a new jailbreak tweak from Saurik, which adds a new queueing option in the stock Music app.
If you’re throwing a house party, then Cyueue is the perfect answer for you. It allows you to keep the current song playing, while still queueing up the records you’d like to hear next. Take a look inside to see how it works.
As you can see, with Cyueue installed, you get new options to Play Now, Play Next, or Play Last. Play Now works just like the Music app does without Cyueue installed, in that it will immediately stop playing the current song, and go to the song you want to play. Play Next, will queue your song up to play right after the current song is finished. Play Last will place the song you select at the end of your Queue. Once you get used to the way Cyueue works, you can use double tap gestures to quickly enable the Play Now, Play Next, or Play List items.
As you might guess, Cyueue uses a playlist to manage its queue, and this playlist can be seen by venturing over to the Playlist section of the Music app. The difference with the Cyueue playlist when compared to other playlists, is that the Cyueue playlist is totally dynamic. It clears itself out each time you start a new Music listening section; that way, you don’t have old songs from your prior listening session in the same playlist.
Cyueue uses a dynamic playlist to manage your queue
If you’re ever having a party, or even a small social gathering, then Cyueue can help in a major way when it comes to keeping folks entertained. No longer will you have to suffer through the jarring experience of switching to a new song while in the middle of another song. Cyueue can make you a better MC.
Why did Saurik decide to take on this project? He answers via the tweak’s Cydia description:
In April of 2012, iOS 5.1 had been out over a month with no jailbreak in sight. It is at times like this when there is suddenly time to “build new things”.
Usually, I spend that time building new developer tools or working on new features of the Cydia payment backend system, but I got the itch to Substrate.
After doing some research into “what would users actually want to see”, I came across a pattern of users having issues with the iPod/Music application.
In fact, every few weeks, people had been asking for the same extension: a way to queue songs up without having to stop your currently playing song.
Of course, I didn’t actually know much about the iPod/Music app’s internals, so I needed to spend some time first improving my development tools ;P (dusting off my old “Aspective-C”).
Fate, however, was not kind to this project: just before I was able to get it all put together, my time was stolen by the release of Rocky Racoon, the iOS 5.1.1 untether exploit; pulled out of the moment, I never managed to return.
To this day, people ask for this very feature, and it has been burning on my mind (nay, my soul) that I had never released the project: I couldn’t stand it.
Meanwhile, the demand behind this concept has only increased: instead of once every few weeks, I see this idea come up a few times every week.
Of course, in the world of iOS hacks, code often rots; but I found my old designs and prototypes: amazingly, everything was still working on iOS 6.1.
Finishing this project and getting it out was thereby cathartic: extracting a dangling thread from my mind that was bothering me every day for a year.
Some interesting insight into what makes Saurik tick. Whatever your opinions about him are, you certainly can’t deny the guy’s passion for this stuff.
Privacy is a valuable thing, and while iPhones can be secured with a passcode or biometric authentication such as Face ID or Touch ID, many still feel like Apple could do more to improve user privacy — especially for when someone manages to get ahold of your passcode or you hand your unlocked device to another person for one reason or another.
iOS developers Devvix and nicho1asdev wanted to do something about this, and after happening upon a snazzy new concept by @Devy_Design, work ensued and a new jailbreak tweak dubbed Spore was later conceived and is now available to the general public.
To explain Spore in its simplest terms, the tweak lets you hide and protect app(s) so that when someone else has control over you device, that person won’t be able to find or use said apps. Not only are those apps hidden from the Home Screen and from Folders, but they’re also hidden from places like Spotlight search, Siri Suggestions, the App Store, and more. The tweak can even intelligently hide notifications from those apps, preventing the user from seeing them.
Once hidden, those apps are relocated to what’s called the Hidden Space, which can be accessed whenever you need it with a simple pinch gesture on your Home Screen. After you’re in the Hidden Space, you can either tap on the “+” button to add more apps or you can tap on the “x” button to exit it. Please note that you will be prompted to enter a passcode when accessing the Hidden Space, and you can either choose to use your device’s native passcode or a completely custom one that you can set in the tweak’s settings. Alternatively, you can use biometric authentication if your device supports it.
Once installed, Spore adds a dedicated preference pane to the Settings app where users can configure a few different options to their liking:
Things you can do here include:
Toggle Spore on or off on demand
Choose between a light, dark, or adaptive appearance setting
Toggle biometric authentication on or off
Toggle custom passcode on or off
Configure a custom passcode if you’ve chosen to use this instead of your device’s passcode
Respring your device to save all changes you’ve made
A few different things to note here are that Spore is fully compatible with jailbroken iOS 13 and 14 devices. iOS 12 support is expected at a future date, along with detailed usage information and support for Activator gestures to summon the Hidden Space. We especially like that the developers have taken into account all the different places where apps can be accessed, and in addition to that, the tweak supports both dark and light mode — whichever you might prefer.
The developers did request that I take note of a currently known bug where some apps may still appear in the App Store and in Spotlight on some versions of iOS, but they’ve assured me that this will be fixed in a future release.
I’ve long vouched for increasing personal security with app-protection tweaks, since A11 devices (like the iPhone X I use) can be more susceptible to foul play on iOS & iPadOS 14 when jailbroken with checkra1n because they can’t have a passcode or use biometric authentication. Spore offers yet another take on the personal security aspect, and for slightly less money than BioProtect XS at $1.99 instead of $2.99, however each tweak has its own unique feature set and uses.
If you’re interested in giving the new Spore tweak a try, then you may purchase it for $1.99 from the Geometric Store repository via your favorite package manager app. If you’re not already using the Geometric Store repository, then you can add it to your package manager of choice by using the following URL:
The dust is settling on Microsoft’s big Windows 8 launch event, but Microsoft isn’t the only company with news today. Box also had some details to share about its new Windows 8 app.
While Windows 8 is a bold shift for the venerable desktop operating system, the big unveiling was less than impressive. The Microsoft presenters often seemed more nervous and flustered than excited and confident, and the whole thing came off like Microsoft was hosting a QVC infomercial for a plethora of third-party OEM hardware options.
Overall, there wasn’t really anything new unveiled by Microsoft today, especially not in the area that most people seem to be most concerned about—apps. The significance and success of the Windows 8 Start screen—the Modern UI—seems to hinge largely on the apps that are available to provide value.
The Box app integrates smoothly with Windows 8 to give you access to your cloud data.
That’s where Box comes in. Obscured by the Microsoft Windows 8 launch event, Box today officially launched its new Windows 8 app. The Box app is precisely the sort of thing that Windows 8 needs, and arguably should have been spotlighted by Microsoft at the event, along with Skype, Evernote, Netflix, Kindle, and other key apps from major players that have invested the time and effort to embrace the new Windows 8.
Why is the Box app important? Well, it’s important for Microsoft and Windows 8 because many businesses rely on Box for storing and sharing data. The SkyDrive integration in Windows 8 is nice, but companies aren’t going to just abandon Box and migrate their data over to SkyDrive, so it’s important from a productivity standpoint that users are able to access data from Box from within Windows 8 as well.
It’s important to Box, because embracing Windows 8—which is both a desktop OS and a mobile platform depending on your perspective—is a final piece in the puzzle that delivers on the vision of Box. According to the chúng tôi website, “Box was founded on a simple, powerful idea: people should be able to access and share their content from anywhere.”
As with Facebook and Twitter—two services I recently noted are glaringly absent from Windows 8 so far—you could simply log in to chúng tôi using the Web browser. The lack of a native app doesn’t completely preclude someone from using a Web-based service like Box. But, for a touchscreen environment like a Surface RT tablet, a native app designed with touching and swiping in mind makes a huge difference.
The Box app gives seamless access to content stored on Box in a way that’s simple and intuitive from Windows 8—especially using a touchscreen interface like a tablet. For example, when viewing a folder with tons of files and folders, you can pinch-to-zoom and Box transforms to show information in a more organized fashion that helps you more easily find what you’re looking for.
The Box app can be added to the Windows 8 Start screen as a live tile that keeps you updated on activity related to the Box account. You can also pin individual files or folders to the Start screen.
If you’re considering Windows 8, you should check out the Box app. If you plan to use a Windows 8 tablet, you should definitely look more closely at the Box app. Even if you don’t currently use Box, the Box app is a great example of what you should expect from Windows 8 apps, and how a Windows 8 app can provide more functionality and a better experience than using the same service through the Web.
In the age of readily available genetic testing, there are a lot of questions about how—or if—an in-depth test might help or hurt the health of a baby. A small study of newborns at Boston medical facilities examined what happens when you sequence an infant’s genome and tell parents at least some of what you find.
Standard newborn screenings include checks for a small number of diseases, “and the criteria for including diseases is very strict,” says Alan Beggs, the study’s principal coauthor and a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. The reasoning is that telling a family too much could potentially cause massive harm, either by unnecessarily distressing them over risks that may never turn into actual illness or by influencing medical decisions made in their child’s first days of life.
Enrollees came from two Boston hospitals and included a mix of healthy and sick infants as well as their families. Of these, half (159) were chosen at random to have their genomes sequenced. Some of the resulting information—primarily information about genetic diseases that were likely to manifest before the age of 18—went to parents, who also received genetic counseling. The other group received genetic counseling and standard screening.
This was a small study, and the subjects, who were mostly from affluent white families, aren’t representative of the country as a whole, Beggs acknowledges. But it’s a significant first step in actually quantifying the potential benefits and harms of newborn genetic screening in a real-world scenario—something that will likely come to affect all of us in time. Here’s what you need to know about their findings:There were more anomalies than expected
The researchers were surprised by the number of genetic variations they found in the babies’ genomes. Fifteen of the 159 had genetic variations indicating a risk for childhood-onset genetic disease. That 9.4 percent risk is higher than what had been thought based on studies done in adults, Beggs says. Similarly, 88 percent of the newborns were carriers of genetic mutations that could potentially cause disease in their own offspring—a higher number than the researchers expected.
“It’s interesting the percentage of patients with significant findings,” says Cynthia Powell, a University of North Carolina pediatrician and geneticist who was not involved with the current study. “To finally get some hard data about this is really critical to moving forward.”Some of the findings had implications for the parents as well
The screening focused on childhood-onset conditions. “These were infants,” Beggs explains. “They’re not giving consent to the study; their parents are.” As we’ve written before, when it comes to genetic information, it’s possible to know too much. Because of this, informed consent is vital to the ethical decisions clinicians make about what kind of genetic info to give people, and of course, a baby can’t give informed consent. But there were a few instances where the researchers found themselves confronting an ethical question about whether to disclose that a child had genetic evidence of an adult-onset disease. “This illustrates the fact that in genetics it’s not just a one-to-one relationship between a doctor and a patient,” Beggs says.
In the case of a newborn who had a high likelihood of developing breast cancer, something that’s almost certain not to manifest until adulthood, the researchers found themselves in a quandary. Should they disclose this to the family, knowing that one of the parents also had this risk and might not be aware? Or should they not, because the newborn can’t consent to the test? (The newborn can’t consent to any part of the test, of course, but parents make decisions for their children all the time—the difference here is that parents would be using information they otherwise wouldn’t have until their child’s adulthood, when those offspring would likely be making decisions for themselves.) In the end, the researchers asked parents if they wanted to know about things like a strong breast cancer risk. They then built consent for this into their form and went on to have several similar cases. “It was obviously a really upsetting piece of information,” Beggs says. But families appreciated the warning. And he feels that the knowledge also prevents potential harm to the newborn patient, in a way—by preventing the loss of a parent.There are still a ton of questions left to ask
This study is part of a National Institute of Health project called NSIGHT, which currently includes four total projects investigating different ethical, medical, and practical implications of newborn genetic screening. Beggs’s project is only funded by the NIH until the babies are a year old, but he’s seeking support to continue the study.
Both Beggs and Powell say there’s a lot more to learn before we can start talking about changing the standard newborn test. There’s evidence that in the case of unwell babies, genetic testing can help doctors figure out how to make them better, Powell says, but “healthy newborns is an area where we still need to get more information.”
For all that, though, there’s a lot of potential good as well. As an example, Beggs cited a newborn in the study who had a borderline case of biotinidase deficiency, a potentially serious condition that can cause mental impairment. This particular child might never have had noticeable symptoms, he says, and thus never have been diagnosed. Because Beggs’ team was able to establish this borderline case early, however, the newborn’s family chose to start giving them biotin supplements to head off the potential harms of the condition.
“I think there is a very clear case to be made that a subset of children should receive genetic sequencing as soon as possible after birth,” says Beggs. How to define that subset and make decisions about how we treat their genetic information is an ongoing conversation. “It’s important for the public to know still the challenges of doing this,” says Powell.
Android is an obvious choice for people who don’t want the kind of top-down control you get from companies like Apple, where everything is prefabricated to fit into a specific brand identity instead of catering to a user’s specific needs and preferences. Google’s open source software, fortunately, provides plenty of room for developers to customize your OS experience. But that freedom also trickles down to you, meaning you can further personalize your home screen just how you like it.
Personalize your home screen: The basics
There are some simple customizations to personalize your home screen on Android that don’t require that you download any new apps.
First, and most obvious, is the wallpaper you use as a background. You can opt for one of the bundled wallpapers, download some new ones or use your own existing photos.
How to change your wallpaper on Android:
Tap and hold a blank space on your home screen.
Tap on “Wallpapers” at the bottom of the screen.
Choose from the existing wallpapers or use one of your own photos.
Once you’ve made your selection, tap on “Set wallpaper.”
Select whether you want that image as your home screen, lock screen, or both.
Repeat the process if you want different images on your home and lock screen.
Tap and hold an app’s icon.
Drag the app icon you want to hide into one of two places:
The app drawer (represented by an icon in the center-bottom of the screen).
Or to the “x” at the top of the screen labeled “Remove.”
If you want to uninstall the app completely you should see “Uninstall” next to “Remove” at the top of the screen – simply drag the app icon there instead.
How to add app shortcuts to your home screen:
First, open the app drawer.
Tap and hold the app you want and drag it upwards onto your home screen.
Drop it where you want it, and tap and hold to drag it to a different location.
Drag and hold it near the edge of the screen to be taken to the next page.
How to create an app folder:
You can also create app groups on your home screen by combining similar apps into categories, each of which will have its own quick-access folder:
Tap and hold an app
Drag it on top of another app and release.
The two apps should be merged into a shared folder.
Drag any other appropriate apps into the folder.
Tap the folder to open it and rearrange the app order by tap, hold and drag.
Rename the folder to something like “Social,” “Messaging,” “Games,” or whatever.
How to add/remove widgets:
You can also decide which widgets to have on your home screen. The process is almost identical to moving apps on and off your home screen:
Tap and hold a blank space on your home screen.
Tap on “Widgets “at the bottom of the screen.
Pick the widget you want on your home screen.
Tap and hold it.
Drag it to the position you’d like on your Android home screen.
Personalize your home screen: Get a new launcher
Beyond tweaking your home screen using what’s already on your phone, you can also download entirely new launchers, that will change the layout and functionality of your home screen itself. Launchers change the look, feel and behavior of even more parts of the Android OS, allowing you to make it truly your own.
Launchers also let you change your icons, helping you personalize your home screen to affect even the branding of third-party apps. Many launchers support gesture shortcuts and navigation, offer many more widgets and transition effects and can even learn your habits and adapt themselves to your needs throughout the day.
Custom Android launchers worth checking out include:
Evie Launcher (no longer available)
Hola Launcher (no longer available)
Here are some other great options
Have a look at a few launchers and see which fit your personality best. Once you’ve found one you like the look of, install the app, open it and press the Home button. You should see a notification about changing your default launcher. Simply change your default to the new launcher. If you want to change back (or you don’t see the pop-up), go to your Settings and search for “launcher” – you should be able to find the right menu easily enough, then just select the one you want from the list of installed launchers to make it your new default.
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