Tips For Supercharging Your iPhone With Activator

activator iphoneActivator 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.

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  • Damian W

    I would recommend to you and all users out there to use QuickDo. It is something like Activator but on steroids. It has way better gesture support and it feels very iOS6.

    • Chris

      I like quickdo a lot.

    • iPhoneHacks

      It seems like a rip-off of Activator.

      • Damian W

        No no, not at all. Here you are very wrong. QuickDO advances where Activator falls short. As a matter of fact, it looks like Activator had some gestures added that QuickDo already had for years. Btw, multi finger gestures in Activaator suck, whereas in QuickDo they work better than apple gestures :p

        On top of this, QuickDo adds its own “SBSettings” window, own switcher, and icon bar on lock screen.

        Overall, it is one of the most complete tweak on Cydia I have ever seen. I always start jailbreakring my idevices with QuickDo, LI5, ISX or BiteSMS.

        • iPhoneHacks

          Interesting, slipped my radar. Thanks for pointing it out.

          • Damian W

            Of course Activator has so many activation methods by now that it is hard to compete with this amount. QuickDo is just a quality tweak.

      • Wamian D

        I agree. And its price is a rip-off as well. Activator for the WIN!!

      • genXhippie

        In addition, it’s pricey too. :/ Whereas, Activator is the best price, FREE of course. ;)

    • Wei Jie Goh

      Can QuickDo be installed together with Activator ?

      • Damian W

        yes of course. There used to be two versions of quickDo. One was tagged as activator version and the other was not. The other version would uninstall activator. Try to install QuickDo (Activator) version.

  • PasserBy

    Swipe from bottom with Auxo is a fantastic method of switching to / closing background apps.

    Can avoid the swipe from left feature you are using and Auxo does app switcher brilliantly.

    I can no longer go back.

  • jeremyejackson

    Thank you for the tips!

    As you are home button paranoid already… I find three home clicks vital to start flashlight. Last thing I want to do in the dark is fool around with unlocking my phone and finding the flashlight app. Pull out the phone, three home clicks and I’m not longer in the dark!

    • Rounak Jain

      Yeah nice idea, I should try that out.

    • Mr. Dumb

      I use the ‘Press power button twice’ to do the same and yes i am home button paranoid cause i am using iPhone 4

      • ThisGuy46

        I found pressing both volume buttons at the same time to bit a bit more useful as you won’t accidentally lock your idevice.

        • ThisGuy46


    • genXhippie

      I have the flashlight set on pressing the power button twice, so there is no fiddling around.

  • genXhippie

    Another, great instructional write-up. Keep up the good work, thanks.

    • Rounak Jain


  • Rish

    Great article, Rounak.