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Tlert – Pop-up SMS Notifications For Jailbroken iPhones


I’ve found another jailbreak gem! As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I’m relatively new to the iPhone jailbreaking world, and am constantly hearing about or finding new jailbreak apps that are just amazing.

This time, it’s a little app called Tlert. Tlert ties in with the existing Messages app to provide a less intrusive texting experience, even while in the middle of using another app.

With the built-in Messages app, when you receive a text message, a pop-up appears with a preview of the text. You either have to close the alert to continue with what you were doing, or if you decide to reply to the message, your current app is closed out and the Messages app launched, taking another 5-10 seconds.

Tlert functions the way SMS on the iPhone should. When you receive a new text message, regardless of what app you’re in, rather than a large alert message covering the screen, a small iChat-like message bubble (with customizable colors and font-size) will slide out from the left side of the screen for a few seconds.

If you decide you want to respond, just tap the chat bubble, and another one will slide out from the right side of the screen ready for you to type into, and a keyboard will slide up from the bottom. Type whatever response you desire, and then tap Send. Both chat bubbles slide away, and your text message is sent in the background while you resume interacting with your app.

All this occurs without closing out your app. In fact, you can even continue to interact with your app behind the chat bubbles. I was able to scroll and tap on buttons in Twitterrific while pondering what to say in a reply text.

If you decide not to reply, either just wait a moment, or tap a small red close orb (like closing a window on a Mac) and the chat bubble slides out of the way, and Tlert places a notification icon (a chat bubble with an exclamation point) in the status bar next to the battery meter.

Because Tlert is simply an interface, and not a replacement, for the built-in Messages app, all your sent and received texts are still stored in the Messages app and can be accessed any time. If you do ignore a Tlert alert by tapping the red close orb, you can still access the text message by just opening the iPhone Messages app like normal.

Tlert is smart enough to realize when you are viewing a conversation in the Messages app, and receive a reply; it won’t display the Tlert chat bubbles if the current conversation is open.

You can also rotate the screen and Tlert will rotate to a landscape keyboard for easier typing (though for some reason, I’m actually more proficient on the regular keyboard than the wider version…go figure). And if you hold down on the Tlert message bubble for one second, it will call the person back.

It always seems like I receive a text message while I’m right in the middle of doing something else on my iPhone. But since text messages are usually responded to immediately, I end up closing out of whatever I was doing to take care of the message. Then I have to re-launch the app I was in, and try to remember where I was or what I was doing. Or I would simply close out the alert, and then later forget about the text and not respond.

Tlert makes the process of responding to text messages in real-time as streamlined as possible. Tlert is a very small, lightweight app, and so doesn’t slow down the iPhone or the normal Messages app at all. I’ve found the app to be very stable, and have not experienced a crash or other issue with it as of yet (knock on wood).

Tlert can be downloaded from the Rock installer, or via Cydia in the Rock Your Phone repository. It usually retails for $7.99, but is on sale for only $4.99 for an undetermined time. There is also a one-week preview period, so you can try it out and see if it works for you.

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  • Woods

    Nice review. Check out BiteSMS which has a similar function called Quick Reply. You can also "Quick Compose" while any app is open by clicking the volume ringer. This is the primary reason why I jailbreak – pain free text messaging.

  • HELLO… APPLE…… THIS SHOULD BE A FEATURE OF THE PHONE… IT'S YOUR MESSAGING APP. As such, background operation of the SMS reply function wouldn't be accessed by an outside programmer.

  • Jeremy

    I use iRealQuickSMS from Cydia. It works equally as well but will also allow you to initiate a message in several ways including pressing a volume key and then tapping the volume icon on the screen. From here you can both text and call people. Also works from lockscreen if desired.

  • It's apps like this that make me want to jailbreak. I am too unlucky to try and jailbreak my phone. Something would go wrong…..

    • It actually isn't that hard if you follow the instructions. If you've already installed 3.1, you need to wait. When I jailbroke, the hardest part was getting the device into DFU mode (Device Firmware Upgrade). Timing issues. But lack of functionality of the platform (Appleitarianism) is the reason why people jailbreak. Something as simple as letting me install my own SMS tones. Turn wifi on and off without having to go thru the settings (SBSettings). Sooner or later, the Warden will have to work with his charges. Or people will keep trying to escape.

  • @ssschmidt but is it not true jailbreaking slows the performace such as speed & overall performance. But on the other hand, I have read on Just Another iPhone Blog that it has run smoothly for them. I agree just customizing SMS tones is worth it. Don't know…. Anybody else think I should jailbreak???

    • With regards to speed – When I had winterboard installed (Think Themes for iphone), things did run slower. Also, I have heard that applications that allow programs to run in the background (one such application is "Backgrounder", you can take a speed hit. Also, it is possible to run out of system usable memory if you put too many gadgets in. Read up on any apps that you think you would like (Google search, or here), or ask if there's a specific application. As far as should you? I believe that there is a standard "disclaimer" on jailbreaking programs. But too many people do it for it to be too dangerous. "Insert standard disclaimer here".
      And again, if you updated to 3.1, you will have to wait until the new version comes out. It will probably be posted here.