You might have heard that Android changed its entire look and feel when Apple unveiled the iPhone back in 2007, something that Android fan boys would be really reluctant to admit. However, I am nowhere implying that Android didn’t carry its original elements. In fact, Google’s offering allowed you to perform certain actions that either never reached iOS (alternate keyboards, anyone?), or were too late, like changing wallpapers, and using widgets. In fact, Apple’s implementation of Notification Center widgets was so miserable that I don’t even count them of any use.
Luckily, iOS users have the jailbreak scenario to turn to for assistance, and a new Cydia tweak for jailbroken iPhones, iPod touches and iPads from the famed developer Alan Yip aims to address the lack of widgets problem for good. This wonderful package has been labeled ProWidgets.
To quote the developers exact words, “ProWidgets is revolutionary widget suite and framework for iOS. It brings a groundbreaking and convenient way to perform quick tasks anywhere with multitasking capability on both iPhone and iPad.” The tweak basically comes with a package of pre-available widgets of its own, whilst opening the avenue for third party developers to come up with their own solutions for various common multitasking actions using ProWidgets framework. The widgets themselves resemble Sony’s “small apps” concept for Android, which can be invoked anywhere within an app and used without disrupting normal workflow.
The default array of widgets available when you install ProWidgets includes Event, Reminder, Notes, Browser, Message (quick compose, if I may), Mail, Dictionary, Alarm, and Timer, while a variety of others can be obtained through Cydia. There can be multiple means of invoking the widgets. For instance, they can be added to iOS 7’s control center using CCLoader, or the events widget can be called through the Today view in Notification Center. From lock screen, you can call forth the browser widget, while for all the others, Activator gestures can be used depending on your usage pattern. The whole idea is to put a lot of control in the user’s hands to configure ProWidgets to their liking, rather than imposing anything.
The widgets can me maximized/minimized at any time should you wish to continue doing what you were doing earlier.
Finally, on the configuration front, ProWidgets adds its own settings to the native iOS Settings app, where you can change the look and feel of the widgets using themes (both stock and third-party offerings through Cydia), change which widgets are active, define activation methods and control some other general parameters, including which widget goes where.
Overall, ProWidgets is one of the best and most practical jailbreak packages that I have ever come across. Not only does it bring a much needed functionality to iPhone and iPad, but the ability to expand on that feature set via third party developers makes it infinitely more useful. Add to the mix the customization possibilities and changing look and feel, and you have a winner at your hands. The package is being distributed (officially) through the BigBoss repo in Cydia, and costs $2.99 (it is a commercial package), but is definitely worth the money when you look at what you’re getting. I for one, will stay with iOS 7.0.6 until a further jailbreak is available just for this Cydiia tweak.