ProSwitcher – The Mother of All iPhone App-switching Apps

ProSwitcher iPhone app

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

ProSwitcher iPhone app-switching 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.

ProSwitcher iPhone jailbreak app switcher

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
  • Bing
  • Mail
  • Safari
  • Tweetie 2
  • Things
  • Evernote
  • Phone
  • 1Password
  • RSS Player
  • Dropbox
  • Photoshop Mobile
  • Calendar
  • Kindle

ProSwitcher app

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:

http://booleanmagic.com/repo/

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.



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  • http://intensedebate.com/people/donovanwatts donovanwatts

    OK, now I'm closer than ever to jailbreaking. Now I've got to find the link that explains how to jailbreak in 3 (or whatever) easy steps. I'm sure there is a link on your site but wish it was drop dead easy to find.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/patrickj patrickj

      Ha – cool Donovan. I promise I'll do a new post that just covers that topic very soon. For now, here's the gist – go get Blackra1n:
      http://blackra1n.com/
      Connect your iPhone to your PC and run blackra1n.exe.
      End of story.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/donovanwatts donovanwatts

    wow, that was easy. i remember jailbreaking once a long time ago and there were quite a few steps involved. some kind of pineapple logo ended up on my iPhone. worked fine but then something happened and i went back to non-jailbreak land.

    so, now i've run blackra1n and apparantely have a jailbroken iphone. my next puzzle to solve… where the heck is the cydia store? not expecting you to hold my hand here but this is a good point to realize that those of us who are new to jailbreaking really need a drop dead simple how to guide. First do this, then do that. Then, whenever you see a post about a jailbroken app, just go to xxx.com to get it. That kind of thing would be handy. thx.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/patrickj patrickj

      Yup, I will absolutely aim to do a how-to along those lines. Going to jailbreak my daughter's phone for her this avvo and go through the steps etc. In the meantime, to find Cydia just launch the blackra1n app and install it from there.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/patrickj patrickj

      Hey Donovan – have now posted a how-to on jailbreaking with blackra1n. It can be found easily by mousing over the iPhone Tips & Tricks item in our top nav bar, and choosing 'jailbreak app tips' from the sub-items listed. Or just go here:
      http://tinyurl.com/ycqg8qp

  • SparrowHawk

    http:apple.bloks.cat couldn't host unreachable / cache failed and a whole lot of other links too :-(

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/patrickj patrickj

      When doing what? I had no issues when adding that source.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/donovanwatts donovanwatts

    can you explain how to "add the following source"? i see an index page full of files but have no idea what to do with them.

    "ProSwitcher is available now in the Cydia store – you need to add the following source to see it:"

    http://booleanmagic.com/repo/

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/joetomasone joetomasone

      In Cydia, click on the "Manage" tab at the bottom, then Sources, then Edit, then Add.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/donovanwatts donovanwatts

        xlnt. thx joetomasone.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/patrickj patrickj

      Yes sir. In Cydia, go to the 'Manage' tab and choose the 'Sources' item – then tap on Edit, then Add – and enter that URL and hit Add Source.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/joetomasone joetomasone

    I am LOVING this! Pinch for Overboard, spread for ProSwitcher, double-home for Kirikae, down-swipe for mQuickDo!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/patrickj patrickj

      Ah yes – Kirikae can be easily added back into the mix thanks to all the activation options for this one. I'm good with mQuickDo and ProSwitcher for now, but will be keeping that option in mind.

  • Faraz

    Minor error – perhaps other are experiancing it as well.

    When you activate ProSwitch via. your "shortcut" and have those apps running in the background – The error I experiance is that when i chose to "turn off" an app via ProSwitch the ProSwitch functionalitet "goes away" and i have to restart ProSwitch from my short cut.

    Anyone having the same prob?

    Regards
    Faraz

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/patrickj patrickj

      I haven't seen this at all thus far.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/joetomasone joetomasone

        Me either. Closing an app with the "x" or by sliding it up keeps me in ProSwitch.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/patrickj patrickj

      Actually I have seen this now – but only with one app – the Phone app. All others, even built-in apps like Mail / Safari close just fine – but the Phone app seems to take down ProSwitcher with it. Anyone else seeing that?

  • SparrowHawk

    Sorry guys, it works for me now and Im quite happy with it :-D

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/patrickj patrickj

      Cool – glad to hear it.

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  • Mike11

    I think you should have mentioned somewhere that the reason why you have to manually add the source in Cydia is because ProSwitcher is not final yet, it's in public beta!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/patrickj patrickj

      Good point – updated the post to mention it is in public beta. The source will still need to be added regardless of its beta status until it is picked up by one of the default repos included in Cydia.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Shobizz3000 Shobizz3000

    Alright, giving it a shot. Been using Multifl0w…gonna compare and see which I like better.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Shobizz3000 Shobizz3000

    Well that didn't take long. AppSwitcher is EASILY THE WINNER! The added improvements of choice invoking methods, and the ability to have page dots, dock icons at the bottom, and just a more stable feel than multifl0w makes it easily outshine the others! I had read that this one was coming soon…thanks for the post Patrick!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/patrickj patrickj

      Hey Shobizz – cool, glad to hear you're enjoying this one too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/scottb82 Scott Brown

    This is a great app and the developer makes great stuff. Can someone tell me what theme is used in the above screenshot?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/patrickj patrickj

      Yes – it's Glasklart.

  • Bryan

    Really really great. While the beta was buggy for me and I uninstalled it, the 1.0 release works great. Flawless so far. I use this with Quickdo and Kirikae (for Spotlight as I am using Pogoplank). Works brilliantly.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/patrickj patrickj

      Glad to hear you're liking it so much as well.

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  • guest

    Love the app, but it doesn't like to play well with BossPrefs or SBSettings. Too bad, otherwise killer app

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/patrickj patrickj

      I never had any problems with it and SBSettings.