Multifl0w is easily the best multitasking experience I ‘ve seen for the iPhone.
When I first saw a video demo of Multifl0w for the iPhone I thought it looked very promising. Now I know it ‘s much more than that “ it delivers a slick and effective multitasking experience for the iPhone. Better than any others I ‘ve seen so far.
The app was just released tonight on the Rock (jailbreak) app store and I ‘ve been giving it a good run for its money “ and it is hugely impressive to use.
I ‘ve only had the app for a few hours, but here are my early impressions and some more screencaps
I used the Rock store to install Multifl0w, but it ‘s now showing up on Cydia too.
The install ‘s default settings offered to install the Backgrounder app (which is required in order to ‘enable ‘ apps for running in the background and for using Multifl0w) and also to uninstall Kirikae, presumably because Kirikae also uses a double-tap of the home button to launch.
Mutlifl0w works with any app that you enable to run in the background, via the Backgrounder app, as well as the built-in apps that run in the background by default (Mail, Safari, iPod).
Interface / Usage
Once Multifl0w is installed, you use Backgrounder to enable apps to run in the background, and then use a double-tap of the home button to launch Multifl0w. Once it ‘s launched it shows you images (bigger than thumbnails, taking up around half a screen in height) of each running application.
You simply swipe left and right in Multifl0w to scroll the active apps and tap on any of them to switch immediately to it. The images displayed in Multifl0w are of exactly the spot you were at within each app when you last left it, not just an app splash screen or similar.
Swiping to scroll among running apps is very smooth “ and you can also easily use a standard flick motion to move quickly from far left (where the longest open / first opened) app is located to the far right, where the most recently opened app is found.
Everything works smoothly and quickly “ and makes switching between apps faster than any other method I ‘ve seen so far.
Testing out Multifl0w has served as an excellent reminder of just how incredibly solid and powerful the iPhone 3GS is, and how eminently capable of multitasking it is.
I started out running 6-7 apps for a while “ things like Evernote, Things, Tweetie, Newsstand, Mail, 1Password, and Analytics App. Zero noticeable lag, slowdown, or performance hit.
For most of the time I ‘ve been testing, I ‘ve been running 10 to 12 apps at a time “ with most of the above apps in the mix, plus a couple of games (Paper Toss and Scramble 2), the Kindle app, RSS Player, BuddyFeed, and Safari with 4 pages open. And I still saw no slowness or lag, though at the 12 apps mark I did get a few crashes from the Scramble app. The rest of the apps have just kept sailing along “ and are still doing so as I write.
Free memory got down as low as around 4MB at one point, but mostly stayed at just over 10MB. Even with these low levels of available RAM, the system has stayed solid and amazingly also just as speedy as ever. Whether scrolling in the Multifl0w view, or in the speed of the actual app switches, or working within apps, it ‘s just about as fast as ever.
SBSettings and mQuickDo both continue to work with Multifl0w installed, as neither relies on home button presses “ although mQuickDo doesn ‘t work well if invoked while the Multifl0w view is up (which makes sense) and will likely be obsolete for me very soon anyway.
In terms of effect on battery life, I ‘m sure there will be some with all the backgrounding this enables, but haven ‘t been using the app long enough to say much on this. I can say that in the first hour and ten minutes of heavy usage, with 10-12 apps running most of the time, my battery percentage dropped by 15%. That doesn ‘t strike me as outrageous “ but I ‘ll need to use this a lot more to see for sure.
What ‘s Missing?
It ‘s late where I am, so I ‘m not feeling crisp and I ‘m sure I ‘m forgetting some things in this area. For now, my one wish list item for the app is the ability to quit a running app from on the Multifl0w screen (maybe via a press and hold rather than just a press on the app image). This would be easier than using SBSettings, Backgrounder, or the iPhone ‘s force quit mechanism to close apps down and gain some resources back.
Multifl0w is great. I had fairly high expectations for it after seeing the video demo, and it has easily exceeded those. It is a pleasure to use and for me it has taken multitasking to a whole new level on the iPhone.
It has shot straight to the top of my favorite jailbreak apps list, as joint favorite alongside PogoPlank. With PogoPlank giving me the ability to run 170 apps on just one home screen, SBSettings allowing for quick toggling on and off of key services, and now Multifl0w providing real multitasking, my iPhone has never felt better or more powerful.
You can find Multifl0w in the Cydia and Rock jailbreak app stores now. It ‘s available on a (10 day I think) trial initially, and costs $4.99 to purchase.
UPDATE: I’ve used strikethrough above on the text mentioning the app being available in the Cydia store. Apparently the developer has decided to have it out on only the Rock store for now.