Interested in an alternative to jailbreaking? Then you might be a customer for a newly launched “tweak store” called Extensify. Extensify aims to give iOS users another way to get the benefits of jailbreaking without actually jailbreaking their devices. How? The company will give users an easy way to install some modified versions of third-party apps such as WhatsApp, Vine, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube, among others.
This is not merely an app store for tweaks, however. Instead these “tweaks” can be installed without needing to be tethered to a computer. Extensify will not allow users to modify the iOS operating system itself.
Does this make using Extensify a safer alternative to jailbreaking? Not really, since users still are installing software that is not considered safe by the terms of the App Store. Users should be just as cautious about using Extensify as they are about jailbreaking.
Not a Replacement for Jailbreaking
What Extensify does do is give you another way to take advantage of great tweaks without going full-scale jailbreak.
The relationship between the jailbreaking community and Apple has resulted in a lot of positive changes for Apple users. Apple has picked up on several cues that were popularized by the jailbreaking community, and as a result have introduced widgets, third-party keyboards, battery saving options, Control Center, picture-in-picture mode, split screen mode, interactive notifications, and much more. Its upcoming iOS 9.3 release will also include Night Shift, the Apple version of the popular tweak f.lux.
At the same time, Apple has endeavored to make its operating system tougher to crack. Some believe that the smaller user base of jailbreakers and more people switching to Android have jailbreaking trending downward. Extensify believes that’s why the time is ripe for its own take on jailbreaking.
Developers Majd Alfhaily and Kevin Ko are the founders to Extensify. They were formerly prominent jailbreakrs who have been in the shoes of every person who agonizes over that next-promised jailbreak release. “We don’t treat Extensify as a Jailbreak replacement but our plan is to fill the gap between jailbreak releases,” said Alfhaily.
How it Works
To use Extensify, first you install the app via a configuration profile on your device. Once Extensify is trusted by your device, you can browse the Extensify app store to download tweaks. The app then sends a request to the iTunes App Store, downloads a fresh copy of the host application, repackages the app with the tweaks (called “exos” in Extensify), and sends the request back to the device and sideloads the application.
All the exos hosted by Extensify are made by the Extensify developers except for the Phantom tweak for Snapchat. So far there are over 25 different exos available. Exos only work on free apps, and the tweaked apps can run alongside the originals.
The developers say they do plan to open the Extensify platform to outside developers, but the resulting exos will be safer since they have to go through a submission and vetting process to be accepted into the Extensify store.
Why would you want the tweaked version of official apps? Because something like the Phantom tweak allows you to keep snaps in your feed, mark them as read whenever you want, save media, select more than one contact at a time, and more.
Similarly, the Twitter tweak gives you a video downloader, native Instagram viewer, a tool to view blocked profiles, a way to confirm favorites and other tweaks.
Unfortunately Extensify is not free. The subscription model will charge users $8.99 every 3 months, and introduce other payment tiers for 6 and 12 month subscriptions. Many jailbreakers are very much against charging money for tweaks, so this may be the weakest link in the Extensify plan.
Have you used Extensify? Would you buy a subscription, or do you prefer traditional jailbreaking? Sound off in the comments.