The Week in iPhone Apps: Essential Jailbreak AppsS

Apple just today declared jailbreaking illegal. So, in outlaw style, it's a good day to take a break from the App Store to peruse the naughty treasures available to jailbreakers via Cydia.

As you're well aware by now, Apple's official SDK limits apps from doing lots of things, like cut and paste, video capture, and dubiously legal things like NES emulation. All of the apps listed here do something Apple doesn't approve of, and they can be found by searching Cydia, an installer that automatically appears on your iPhone once you've successfully complete jailbreaking your phone. We're not going to run through that process here (Quickpwn and Pwnage Tool are your friends), but suffice it to say, Apple doesn't condone the practice, and there are certain risks to messing up your iPhone when you jailbreak or install any unauthorized apps. Be forewarned. Here's what we've safely tested:

The Week in iPhone Apps: Essential Jailbreak Apps

WinterBoard - The essential change-my-appearance app for the iPhone since the days before the App Store, it's been known by other seasons before (SummerBoard, for example), but it's essentially the same: You download themes, and can use this app to apply them system-wide. It also gives you other appearance controls like "Dim Wallpaper" and "Solid Status Bar."

The Week in iPhone Apps: Essential Jailbreak Apps

BossPrefs - An insanely useful utility for making one-tap system adjustments like toggling 3G, EDGE, wi-fi or Bluetooth. You can turn your mail on and off fast too. I like the "Hide Icons" feature, where you can go in and take certain apps off of your home screens without taking them entirely off your iPhone.

The Week in iPhone Apps: Essential Jailbreak Apps

Search - An amazing app for searching everything on your iPhone, including MAIL! It's a lot like the Sherlock of old—type a search term, hit enter, and it starts digging through Contacts, SMS, Notes, Events, Safari Bookmarks and Safari History. Tap any search result, and you go straight to that app. (We also tried Searcher, which does all of the above but does not search mail).

The Week in iPhone Apps: Essential Jailbreak Apps

Cycorder - The semi-answer to iPhone's lack of video recording, Cycorder does motion JPEG recording (now with audio). It looks as good as you can expect with that camera. The only catch is, in order to pull video files off of the damn phone, you have to use SSH or something else that can access the file structure. Nobody said bootleg app use was a cakewalk.

The Week in iPhone Apps: Essential Jailbreak AppsS

Snapture - An example of a for-profit jailbreak app, Snapture gives you basic controls for free for 20 tries, but then asks for $8, and in return gives you access to albums and all sorts of stuff. It's risky considering any jailbroken app may not work the next time you update your iPhone's software, but in this case, it's at least a well designed app, giving you lots of camera controls (timers, auto-rotation, color mode, an on-screen level) plus a shutter button that is the entire screen, so it's easier to take pictures with one semi-steady hand.

The Week in iPhone Apps: Essential Jailbreak Apps

xGPS - This GPS program made a name for itself the other day by saying that, by February 20, it would have turn-by-turn speech navigation. While you wait for that, you can check out the nominal version available now, which is mostly just Google Maps with some extra tools like GPS tracking.

The Week in iPhone Apps: Essential Jailbreak AppsS

Clippy - Copy and paste really do work on an iPhone, and it's system-wide. However, there are limitations. Once you've installed this utility from Cydia, you get to it by going to the number keys on the pop-up keyboard. As you can see, it appears above the standard numbers. As you might guess from that, you can only copy or paste when you have access to the keyboard. So copying an address off of a website is not doable, even though you would be able to paste any address into maps once you had it. There are new features that just popped up which I haven't explored yet—maybe you know about them.

The Week in iPhone Apps: Essential Jailbreak Apps

NES.app - An NES emulator that keeps getting better. If you can handle the touch controls, it'll handle most of your ROMs at near full speed. And this is certainly something you won't find in the App Store at any time in the future.

There are a lot of multimedia apps, like TuneWiki, which gives you lyrics to your iTunes songs, Shuffle, which does Pandora-like smart shuffling of your library based on what you like and don't like, and MxTube, which lets you save YouTube videos. While those are all nifty, they're not as essential as the ones above. If you feel that we've missed something really truly essential, then by all means let us know. As usual, with so many iPhone apps out there, this is in no way a complete listing.

Oh, and as for that iPhone Modem icon in the image you may have noticed? It's the only way you can tether your iPhone, and we'll have even more on that in tomorrow's Saturday How-To. Check it!

This Week's App News On Giz:

The 25 Best iPhone Apps For Outdoor Adventurers

WhatTheFont For iPhone IDs Fonts From Text in Snapped Photos

Turn-By-Turn Voice Navigation Comes to Jailbroken iPhones

31 Fart Apps In 90 Seconds

ServersMan App Turns the iPhone Into an All-Out Web Server

For even more app coverage: see our previous weekly roundups here, and check out our Favorite iPhone Apps Directory and our original iPhone App Review Marathon. Have a good weekend everybody.