iOS has come a long way since version 1.0 and many features that were originally only available via jailbreaking – such as internet tethering customisable wallpapers and even installing third party apps – have since made their way into successive releases of the operating system. But there’s one area that iOS still has miles to catch up in – notifications. The pop-up notifications for new text messages and alerts from third party programs are embarrassingly old-fashioned.
Hopefully Apple overhauls this in iOS 5.0 but there’s no need to wait – there are apps that can replace iOS’s kludgy notifications to something that more closely resembles Android’s notifications.
The catch is that you’ll need to jailbreak your iPhone first. If you haven’t already done it head over to http://greenpois0n.com and download the jailbreak app for Windows Mac or Linux. Greenpois0n can jailbreak iPhones running the 4.2.1 operating system although as yet there’s no carrier unlock available – if you rely on an unlock to get your SIM card working you’ll have to sit this dance out for now.
Once greenpois0n finishes jailbreaking your phone you’ll get a new ‘Loader’ icon on your homescreen. Tap this and it will install Cydia which is the jailbreak version of the iTunes App Store. This is where you’ll find Notified Pro a US$2.99 application that will significantly improve your iPhone’s notification handling abilities.
Once you’ve paid for and installed Notified Pro you’ll need to install the free Notification GriP plug-in from Cydia as well – this will replace the annoying pop-up notifications that appear in iOS with a more subtle bar on the top of the screen that displays the details of the incoming notification. You’ll also have to go into the Notified Pro settings (click on the Notified icon then tap on the Settings button) tap the Manage Alerts option and untick the ‘Show in Lockscreen’ and ‘Show in Springboard’ settings for all the different types of alerts – this switches off the default iOS notification pop-ups.
To take the Android imitation even further install another jailbreak app called Activator. This lets you assign programs settings or system actions to different gestures hardware buttons and even shaking the iPhone. With Activator you can assign the ‘Swipe Down’ action from the Status Bar to launch Notified – the same gesture you would use to access the Notifications window in Android. Once you’ve installed Activator go to your iPhone settings and scroll down to Activator. From there tap on Anywhere scroll down to the Status Bar section and tap on the Swipe Down setting. There you’ll be able to configure the gesture to launch the Notified app.
From the Notified window tapping on any of the notifications will launch the relevant program. By default Notified will cache the last 50 notifications you receive and unfortunately there’s no way to have it automatically delete notifications that you’ve already opened. You can however clear all of the notifications currently there by using the ‘Clear’ command.
If you don’t want to spring the US$2.99 for the app there’s a newer notification replacement app currently in beta called Mobile Notifier that offers many of the same features for free. To download the beta go to Cydia > Manage > Sources tap Edit > Add enter http://phajas.xen.prgmr.com/repo and click ‘Add Source’. You’ll see a ‘peterhajas repo’ under the Entered by User sources and from there you can install MobileNotifier.