App switching apps for the iPhone “ those that let you switch between background running apps rapidly on jailbroken iPhones “ are getting better and better. And ProSwitcher is now the best of a good bunch.
I ‘ve been hearing very good things about ProSwitcher “ a brand new and hugely impressive new app-switching app for the iPhone “ from some of the folks beta testing it for a while now. Now the app is out in the Cydia store (for jailbreak users) “ and it is living up to the high expectations I had for it.
ProSwitcher, like Multifl0w before it, uses a Palm Pre style ‘cards ‘ view for background-running apps “ but adds a number of powerful features and options to offer the best app-switching experience yet on the iPhone.
Here are some quick first impressions and things to note about ProSwitcher:
– It requires the removal of Multifl0w if you have it installed, and does this for you as part of the install process in Cydia.
– You set all your preferences and the app ‘s options within the main iPhone Settings app
– Like Multifl0w and Kirikae, ProSwitcher relies on the Backgrounder app to do the actual enabling of background running for your 3rd party apps “ so you need Backgrounder installed.
– Built-in apps that have backgrounding capability by default “ e.g. Mail, Safari, iPod -will always show up in ProSwitcher ‘s card view once you ‘ve launched them. 3rd party apps that you enable backgrounding on will also show there, as mentioned above.
– ProSwitcher offers a big range of options for its Activation Method “ from home button holds and presses or a sleep button hold, to springboard icon pinches and status bar taps or swipes.
I love the fact that you are not forced to use home button presses, and can invoke it via swipes and taps on the screen. I much prefer these methods “ and am finding the double-tap on the status bar works superbly well for me, both to call up and dismiss ProSwitcher.
– When ProSwitcher is launched, it shows you (by default) a ‘card ‘ or screenshot view of each running app, an app icon for each, and the app ‘s name in text as well (you can toggle on/off this last one in its settings)
– Scrolling horizontally between the running apps is very smooth, and quick swipes left or right also work well.
– By default, you double-tap on the screenshot of any running app to switch to it. You can change this to a single tap in settings if you prefer it that way.
– To close a running app, you can tap on the Minus sign in the top-left corner of its screenshot. Or, an even nicer method is to just swipe upwards. This needs to be a sort of press and swipe upwards gesture, rather than a quick swipe upwards.
– The app ‘s settings allow you to toggle on and off: Swipe to Close, Close Button, Show Dock, Dim Background, Application Title, Page Dots, Show Default Apps “ and also set background to transparent or theme, and more
– ProSwitcher does not interfere with SBSettings or mQuickDo “ which is very handy because it means you can still have easy access to a set of 5 favorite apps via mQuickDo ‘s easy swipe methods.
– ProSwitcher is currently in public beta mode.
And here ‘s one a few quick notes about how much the iPhone 3GS is still kicking ass and taking names in terms of speed and performance.
I ‘ve been testing out ProSwitcher with up to 15 apps running in the background “ with this collection of apps:
- Dragon Dictation
- Dragon Search
- Tweetie 2
- RSS Player
- Photoshop Mobile
When I had 10 apps running I still saw around 49MB of free RAM via the Free Memory app. With 15 apps running I still saw 6-10MB of free memory – and climbed back up to 38-40 as I closed a few apps. I saw no slowdowns at all during any of the testing up to 15 apps running at once “ I dictated notes, checked mail, moved back and forth among three open Safari pages, ran searches with Bing, and so on “ and the 3GS didn ‘t seem to break a sweat.
It did sweat a bit in terms of battery life with 15 apps running “ but that is no great surprise and I definitely don ‘t plan to run that many apps at once when not doing it just for testing and kicks
As I ‘ve said before, app switching is probably the single biggest reason for jailbreaking for me “ and it is becoming an even bigger hook as apps like ProSwitcher make the experience easier and better.
ProSwitcher is available now in the Cydia store “ you need to add the following source to see it:
It is a free app but the devs are accepting donations (I just made one).
Thanks to Brian Bothwell (sysrage) for first mentioning this app to me, and to Ron Thompson for his Friendfeed thread on it.