We don’t usually do reviews of jailbreak tweaks, but last weekend, Auxo 2 by A3Tweaks, a sequel to a wildly popular jailbreak tweak Auxo, was released, and I was so impressed with it that I absolutely had to do this review. The first was phenomenal, a massive improvement to the traditional Multitasking system of pre-iOS 7 — that is, iOS 5 and iOS 6. And Auxo 2 takes this up a notch higher and improves on something that was already great. Read on to find out my verdict on it…
I remember using the first Auxo. It was, in some ways, similar to the current iOS 7 Multitasking system save for the full page app previews. It still occupied the bottom part of the phone, but instead of showing just the standard app icons in the Multitasking bar, it showed smaller app icons along with the last state of that app in the form of a small card, much like the current iOS 7 system except that it was smaller.
Also, instead of holding on an app icon, waiting for them to jiggle, and pressing the tiny “x” that was the tap target, all one had to do was open up the app switcher, and simply swipe down on the app. And one could close more than one app at one time by using two fingers — again, sounds familiar?
It also had a kill all button, to kill all the current apps, something which Apple’s implementations — in the past and present — sorely lack.
So, how does one improve on that kind of system? Pretty much every feature was, after all, adopted by Apple, whether unintentionally or intentionally (and I wouldn’t rule out it being intentional. Fun fact: the notification banner system was first developed by the jailbreak developer Peter Hajas, who then got poached by Apple to implement it officially). But the developers of Auxo 2 managed to really improve Auxo 2 in revolutionary ways. Let me walk you through the features of Auxo 2.
Multitasking Page Redesign
Note: All the videos will show some flickering in the dock and on some of the blurred elements of iOS 7, for some reason. This does not happen in real world usage; the video recording app somehow is not capturing it completely accurately.
The app switcher now has a redesign, named Multi-Center, which incorporates the Control Centre. There are two modes to this. Firstly, there is the normal mode, which in my opinion is rather messy, as it displays everything from Control Centre. In the video you will see the normal mode, and I switch from that to the Minimal Display. There are several options when setting the Minimal Display for you to toggle, which simply do what they say they will do. You can enable it always, when no media is playing, if AirPlay is undetected, or if AirDrop is off.
You will see that the toggles, AirDrop and AirPlay sections of the Control Centre are now on top, and the quick app launch, track seeker, play, next and previous media buttons, brightness and volume are now at the bottom. Minimal Display changes none of this, but simply hides the AirDrop, AirPlay, brightness, media controls and volume behind the toggles and quick app launch. To get to the hidden sections, you just have to swipe down on the toggles or the quick app launch sections.
Also, you can make the quick launcher auto dismiss under certain conditions, for up to 3, 5 and 8 seconds.
One thing to note is that if you are using CCToggles, it conflicts with Auxo 2. No worries though, because you can simply install CCSettings, as I am doing, and you can customise your toggles to your heart’s content again. If you noticed, I have custom apps configured in the quick app launch section. This does not come with Auxo 2. Instead, it is a jailbreak tweak by the same people, A3Tweaks, named Polus, which is extremely powerful, and they have thankfully added compatibility with Polus into Auxo 2.
Also, while one can tap on an app’s preview to go to it, one can now also drag down on the preview, which is in my opinion more fluid than simply tapping.
Also, there is a beautiful and elegant way to kill all apps now. You simply swipe up on the Home Screen preview, and then select the big “X”. It looks much better than just showing a tappable “X” on the screen the whole time like some tweaks allow one to do, and frankly, probably reduces the chances of accidentally closing all your apps when you don’t want to.
Quick Switcher and Swipe Gestures
The Quick Switcher is the primary innovation in Auxo 2. It basically allows one to switch to apps really quickly. The normal way to switch to another app would be to go to the Multitasking page and tap on the desired preview of the app. The Quick Switcher just requires you to swipe up from the bottom left and then swipe to the right to choose from the most recent apps. Words do not do this justice, so check out the video uploaded for this section.
There are two other swipe gestures. Firstly, you can swipe up from the bottom middle of the screen (this is why the Control Centre had to be combined with the Multitasking page, because the gestures would conflict) to show the Multi-Center.
Secondly, you can swipe up from the bottom right of the screen (or the bottom left, using the setting “Invert Hot Corners”, which sadly disables the Quick Switcher, so I do not recommend it) to minimise an app and return to Home Screen. This is called “Hot Corners”, and you can disable it separately if you don’t want it. But in my opinion, it’s really great once you get used to it, because you never need to touch your home button again. There is something to be said for the virtual buttons in Android; they don’t get spoilt like the iPhone’s home button usually does, and they require far less effort to press than the home button. This is in no way a virtual button, but it uses the touchscreen and completely negates the use of the home button, and for that I am glad.
Album Art in Multitasking
In Multitasking, when you press on the song title at the bottom, as can be seen in the video, the album art of that track will be displayed in full screen, with the colour going underneath the control centre elements, overlaid with the cool iOS blur effect.
You can even swipe to the left to go to the next track, and swipe to the right to go to the previous track. Tapping on the album art removes the album art so you go back to the Multitasking view.
Also, one can seek tracks in iTunes Radio when one uses the new Control Centre. I personally don’t like iTunes Radio (and all radio apps) because I have a very specific taste in music, but for those who use it, this could very well be a godsend.
Ability to Disable Multi-Centre
The Multi-Centre is not exactly everyone’s cup of tea, which is why you are given the option to disable it. This still gives you access to the Quick Switcher and Hot Corners, but swiping up from the bottom middle will give you the regular Control Centre. You do lose the ability to display the album art in Multitasking, and you also don’t get the feature to kill all apps (although you may be able to use another tweak to accomplish this, or an Activator gesture).
One cool feature of disabling the Multi-Centre is that when you access the Quick Switcher and continue dragging up, you will firstly go to the normal Multitasking mode, then as you continue dragging up, the current app’s preview will be dragged up, and continuing further will close the app you are on. Effectively, this means that you can just swipe all the way up from the bottom left, to close an app, in one fluid motion. I really, really wish that this feature were available with Multi-Centre enabled, but sadly it’s one or the other (for now, at least).
You can configure in which apps the swipe gestures are disabled, so that when playing a game or using an app which tends to have conflicting gestures with this, the swipe gestures will not interfere with what you are doing. Also, you can set it such that when you are using the keyboard, it will temporarily disable the swipe gestures so as not to interfere with your typing.
Also, when accessing the Multi-Centre, you can set it such that the last app will show up instead of the current one. For example, if you are on app A, then switch over to app B, then access the Multi-Centre, the app shown in the middle will be app A. I personally didn’t really like this feature, because while it is true that you access the Multitasking page to switch to another app, and not to switch back to the one you are currently on, the merging of Control Centre with Multitasking makes it distracting when you just want to use the Control Centre aspect of the Multi-Centre.
You can also limit the Quick Switcher, to make it display only the latest 6 apps, or display all the app you have open. I personally prefer displaying all my apps, because there are many apps I intend to get back to because I am busy doing other things on other apps, and I don’t want to go into Quick Switcher only to realise the app I want is the 7th last app I used.
Auxo 2 is a really phenomenal tweak that delivers generally great improvements. There are ways to improve it, such as giving more settings to the user to customise the experience a little more. For example, I would not mind having the media controls in Multi-Centre show up all the time like in Normal Mode, but I just don’t like the AirPlay and AirDrop that occupy unnecessary space at the top. So, a cross between Minimal Mode and Normal Mode, or the ability to choose which aspects of the Control Centre to hide, and which to show upfront, would certainly be welcome.
Also, being able to close apps by swiping all the way up from the left, without having to revert to the traditional Multitasking view, would be great.
But, despite these problems, I really am just nitpicking, because overall, this tweak is amazing, and I love it. It makes multitasking so much more fun, fluid, fast and efficient, than the official implementation, and it feels so good using the Quick Switcher function.
If you already own the original version, Auxo 2 will cost you $1.99. If you’re new to the world of Auxo, then prepare to pay $3.99. It is available on Cydia’s BigBoss repo, and it is really worth it, even if you only want some of the features. Currently, only iPhones are supported, but there will be iPad support coming soon.
So try it out if you are interested, and come back here and comment on your experience. Do you think it’s a great tweak? And if you don’t, why?