It’s a little early for spring cleaning but, hey, I was running out of space. I did a hard reset over the weekend and completely wiped out all of my previous settings and all of the local data because I was convinced that something had gone wrong during on of my iTunes syncs. The “other” […]
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Weekend iPhone Spring[board] Cleaning [iPhone Jailbreak]

It’s a little early for spring cleaning but, hey, I was running out of space. I did a hard reset over the weekend and completely wiped out all of my previous settings and all of the local data because I was convinced that something had gone wrong during on of my iTunes syncs. The “other” data was up to 724 MB and my Apps had ballooned to 1.74 GB. I tried to do some basic addition with a calculator based on the numbers that iTunes was giving me, and I should really have had only 800 MB worth of app data on my device (and that was including the 100MB from my local Evernote notebook storage). Something was wrong, and so, in true Canadian fashion, I used a nuclear warhead on my device and started from scratch.
My shiny new ideal this time around was to craft a more “minimal” iPhone experience. I’ve been reading too much Minimal Mac, and I’ve also taken a lot from the experience I’ve had on my MacBook Pro. I like to keep the menu bar and dock as empty as possible on my Mac, and I was trying to apply that same idea to my iPhone setup. Was trying. I’m not trying that hard any more, and it’s only been two days since I reset.
As it turns out, there are far too many jailbreak comforts that I’ve come to love. The Winterboard theme “Tenuitas” adds a fantastic look to the lockscreen and makes it “tap to unlock” instead of the irritating “slide to unlock”. Pro Switcher is also a real godsend for when I review apps, since I can quickly and easily alt-tab out to Simplenote or Evernote, add a few quick remarks, and then switch back to the app I’m actively reviewing. There are really far too many intertwined thoughts in my head right now for me to write very clearly about what kind of setup I’ll settle on, but I can talk about a few solid things I’ve learned from this weekend.

Preserving App Store app data
I thought I was being clever by finding the iPhone /User/Applications folder via SSH and copying the folders of select apps that held their data locally. I copied Minigore (my scores!), Momento (my moments!), and MoneyBook (cha ching!) in the hopes of pasting the data right back onto the iPhone when everything was set up again. I wasn’t using the iTunes backup because it would just add the clutter (1.7GB apps and 700MB of “Other” data) I was trying to get rid of, so copying a few app folders was the only way I figured I could preserve my settings and data. It didn’t turn out quite like I had hoped.
Minigore’s data seems to have transferred perfectly. The game knows that I paid an extra $0.99 to unlock Gangster Gore, and it even has my kill count updated correctly. MoneyBook also seemed to work, but I ended up deleting the data and starting from scratch for fear that it would end up like Momento. Momento seemed to work, and it displayed my data perfectly, but whenever I tried to add a new moment, the app would simply crash. Reboots and resprings did nothing – my journal was essentially slamming shut on my fingers every time I tried to turn the page and add something new. Long story short: simply copying and pasting app data from the relevant folders on your iPhone is not a fool-proof way of preserving your data. Sticking with Cloudy or Partly Cloudy apps like Evernote seems like the best solution to guard against data loss on your device. All you need is a valid login and all of your info comes streaming back.

Winterboard theme stuck on your icons? Nuke the icon cache!
One of the first decisions I made for this iPhone setup was that I would forego the use of Winterboard icon themes. I can get a little too obsessed with those pretty little .png’s – especially when confronted with the horror of certain App Store icons (PushGmail, Stanza).
This time around the icon cache made the decision for me, though. At one point during setup I had accidentally activated an icon theme and skinned most of the icons on my home screen. I say “most” because the theme didn’t have .png’s for all of my apps, and suddenly my Springboard was home two groups of rectangles: the gorgeous skinned apps, and the gigantic, awkward looking default apps.
That’s easy, I thought: I’ll just turn the theme off and keep things nice and simple. I don’t like the default Springboard look, but at least I don’t have to work to keep it looking uniform. However, in this instance, nothing I did would clear the theme from my system. Most apps went back to normal, but a few of my essential apps stayed small and very good looking. I tried resetting, respringing, and even re-applying the theme, unapplying it, and then deleting it. After much gnashing of teeth I decided to google the problem and found the solution over on the iPod Touch Fans forum: all I had to do was clear the icon cache by deleting the file in /User/Library/Caches/. After that it was just a matter of respringing and breathing a sigh of relief.

Cydia sucks, Rock rocks
In a totally unsurprising turn of events, Cydia is now even worse than it was before. Once again I would like to say that I appreciate the work that Saurik has done to get the place up, but I would also like to scream and rip my hair out over how ridiculously slow the app has become. It now consistently takes over a minute to even load the thing up over wi-fi, and the only reason I ever go in there now is for the initial purchase of an application in the Cydia store. For everything else Jailbreak-related, I use Rock Your Phone. I’ve stated in previous posts that I think that Rock is much faster, simpler, and better than Cydia in almost every way, but it’s gotten even better with the latest update. Rock can now detect Cydia store licenses for my device, so once I’ve bought something on Cydia, I can always re-download or update it through Rock. What’s more – the app takes mere seconds to load up. It’s even faster than the App Store sometimes.

Free Space
As of the writing of this piece, I have 1.8GB of free space simply ripe for media and apps. I can fit several TV episodes or a couple of movies onto the iPhone without having to plan for it, and that’s just so geekily delicious it makes me smile.  All in all I’m happy with the new state of my device, but maybe I’m just trying to console myself for all the hours that this weekend lost to miniscule details like app settings and my home screen setup. In fact, I’m going to stop thinking about this altogether before I start feeling terribly guilty about it all.

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