Activator is an awesome jailbreak tweak by Ryan Petrich that you probably already know about. For those who’re new to jailbreaking, Activator lets you assign various actions that get called when a certain event, selected by you, occurs. The trigger can be a gesture, a tap on a specific area, the press of a button, a change of charging state or a bunch of other options. The “actions” list is equally diverse, letting you launch apps, toggle settings and is extensible via tweaks on Cydia.
In this post, I tell you how I use Activator to make my day to day tasks on the iPhone a lot quicker and easier.
Slide up from bottom
I’ve assigned this gesture to bring up the multitasking tray, letting me avoid double tapping the home button, which I find a bit tedious. Besides, I’m still scared of overusing my home button and making it unresponsive like I did on my iPhone 4. The setup isn’t as perfect as Zephyr, but it works for me despite the occasional accidental trigger.
Long tap on status bar
Google’s search app has an excellent voice search component, which trumps Siri in a number of areas. Siri, however, has a lot of advantages by virtue of being built into the OS, one of which is the ease with which you can summon her. Thankfully, a jailbreak tweak by the name of NowNow lets you easily summon Google Voice search as well, through any Activator trigger. I’ve assigned it to the “long tap on status bar” event, mostly because I couldn’t find a better trigger.
Slide from left
A few weeks ago, I came across an awesome jailbreak tweak called “LastApp” that makes switching back and forth between apps a lot easier. Just like NowNow, this tweak can be activated through an Activator gesture. I found the “slide in from right edge” within Applications gesture perfect for this, since it makes it seem as if I’m pushing the current app into the background, and getting the last opened app into the foreground. This would override other in-app slide-from-right gestures, but if you don’t want that, you can set up a Blacklist of apps in which Activator won’t listen for triggers.
Three finger pinch
I love the multitasking gestures on the iPad. To copy that on to the iPhone, I’m using the “Three Finger Pinch” gesture in applications to tell iOS to simulate a home button press, which brings me back to the home screen.
Status bar corners
Additionally, you can configure Activator to launch frequently used apps on tapping and holding extreme ends of the status bar. I’ve set up Settings that way, because despite all the toggles I see in SBSettings, NCSettings or Auxo, there are some things that can be done only in the Settings app. Activator in fact lets you even set where in the Settings app you’d like to arrive at. So if you change the Equaliser settings quite frequently, you can directly go into that sub-menu.
Hardware Volume Buttons
If you listen to a lot of music on your iOS device, you can set the volume up and down buttons to act as next and previous track controls. If you don’t want to forgo the ability of changing the volume using these buttons, you can tell activator to change tracks only on “Short Hold.”
Broken home buttons
Back when I had an iPhone 4, I used activator gestures to compensate for the lack of a functional home button. Here are the triggers I had set up along with their respective actions. You might find some of these useful even on iPhones that have no problems with the home button.
- Volume down button -> simulate single Home button press
- Long press power button -> voice control
- Double tap clock on lockscreen -> present now playing controls
- Press both volume buttons simultaneously -> take screenshot
These are just a few of the infinitely many things that can be done using Activator. We’d love to hear how you use it in the comments section below.
Update: Since writing this post, I’ve added a trigger for switching on the LED flash on the iPhone. I’ve set it up to activate on simultaneous press of the two volume buttons, but you could use triple tap home button or double tap power button, as a few folks have suggested in the comments.