One of the coolest things about iOS 5 is the Notification Center. It is kind of ripped off Android’s notification system, but that does not make it any less awesome. Still, like all things iPhone, it is limited. I brought this up last week in a piece about expanding the functionality of Siri, and it holds true here. Apple locks down Notification Center, leaving some functionality that it is clearly capable of untapped. It is somewhat annoying, but Apple has always been a company that enjoys simplicity.
I, however, am not a person who enjoys simplicity, and that is why I jailbreak my iPhone. It allows me to take the Notification Center, even though it is not bad on its own, and make it so much better. iOS 5 has not been jailbroken long, and I must say, it is impressive how far the jailbreak community has come with the Notification Center. There are many tweaks out there, but these are three of my favorites.
Each one of these tweaks is available in Cydia, so you will need to install each one separately in order for them to work. Once you install the tweak, you will need to go to Settings > Notifications and scroll to the name of the tweak and enable it. It works just like enabling an app to display notifications. Once you enable it, the tweak will automatically show in your Notification Center.
As you might guess, AppsCenter allows you to launch apps from your Notification Center. By default, it will display all of your apps in a scrolling list. Obviously, this is not practical if you have lots of apps, so you will want to go to Settings and scroll down until you see AppsCenter to tweak this.
From here you can change many settings such as the number of apps it shows at one time, if it shows the apps in pages and whether or not it shows the labels for the apps. You can also set how the applications are sorted from this screen.
If you are like me, and have many apps on your phone, you will want to use the choose apps section to customize which apps are displayed in Notification Center. Personally, I just choose the four applications I use the most, and I am sure you will find a system that works for you.
This is a cool way to take a quick look at your favorite website (which had better be MakeUseOf.com – or else!) right from your Notification Center. It only supports one feed at a time, which makes sense because otherwise Notification Center would be completely bogged down with information.
From the Settings screen on your iPhone, scroll down to RSSWidget and click it. On this screen is where you will enter the feed for the website you would like to see in the Notification Center.
After you enter the URL, open the Notification Center and you should see the most recent article from the website you added. You can swipe left or right over the article to see older or newer ones, and tapping on it directly will open the full article in Safari.
WeeSearch is an awesome little widget that allows you to search YouTube, Google, Wikipedia and a dictionary right from the notifications center. Simply install the package from Cydia and enable WeeSearch in the Notification Center section of Settings, and the little search bar will appear.
To use WeeSearch, you simply type in what you are looking for, tap the service you wish to use and click “Search.” The widget will open Safari and search the proper site automatically. It makes it quick and easy to find whatever you are looking for on the web.
The Notification Center is awesome, and these widgets make it even better. It seems odd that Apple has a weather widget and nothing else, but it is great that the jailbreak community is stepping up and filling in the gaps. As time goes on, more and more cool tweaks will come out for Notification Center; this is just the tip of the iceberg.
What are some cool Notification Center tweaks you have tried? What would you like to see included in the future? Let us know in the comments!