[Tech] Jailbreaking a 4.2.1 iPad

Cydia and pals on my iPad homescreen

Cydia and pals on my iPad homescreen

So after successfully jailbreaking my iPhone, I decided it was high time my iPad got the same treatment. There are fewer apps for jailbroken iPads, and some would say less need to jailbreak a device that doesn’t have the telephony features of the iPhone. There were though, a few features I wanted on my iPad.

Firstly SBSettings, which works so well in the iPhone, is iPad compatible. It’s really good for easily adjusting the screen brightness for late night browsing, for example. I also wanted to restore the old functionality of the lock switch. Like so many iPad users I was annoyed and bemused by Apple’s decision to change the switch from a screen orientation lock to a mute toggle. The hardware switch is so much more convenient than the software alternative, and holding the volume switch down mutes the device anyway. Install NoMute from Cydia and the switch is back doing what it does best.

Perhaps most importantly there were two home media functions I wanted to play with. Firstly I wanted to install the brand new iOS build of XBMC. I’ll write about that separately later. Suffice it to say it’s well worth the jailbreak. Secondly I wanted to play with the screen mirroring possibilities of apps like TVOut2. The app allows the iPad’s display to be mirrored on a TV using the Apple AV out cable. As I don’t have – and can’t get – Sky in my flat I use the iPad app to watch Premier League and Champions League football. It’s great quality on the iPad, but for the ridiculous money Sky charge I reckon I should be able to watch on my telly too. The author of TVOut2 insists the current build supports the Sky app, so I’ve invested in an AV cable and when it arrives I shall tell post the results (with video) here.

Angry Birds... in HD - but it's not Angry Birds HD

Angry Birds... in HD - but it's not Angry Birds HD

As for theming – I’ve had limited success. Winterboard has only recently been updated to support iPad so there aren’t many themes out there yet. I’ve skinned some theme elements, but not the main home screen yet. I’m keen to try the popular Illumine theme on both iPhone and – if I can – on iPad. I’ve sent a donation to the theme’s author (he’s removed it from Cydia), but two day’s on haven’t received a download link – despite the website promising a 24 hour turnaround. Harumph.

Just one more thing. I was thrilled to discover a package on Cydia called ForceFull that makes iPhone-only apps use their full Retina display-compatible resolution on the iPad, instead of that naff pixel doubling effect. It works well with many text based apps (like Facebook), and horribly with others (like Eurogamer). Fortunately its setting page has toggles for every iPhone app on your iPad so you don’t have to keep turning it on and off. Best of all it works so well with Angry Birds that it makes buying the (vastly more expensive) Angry Birds HD completely pointless.

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