You might have dreamed in the past how you wish iOS was more like OS X, bringing a desktop-like experience to the iPad with the ability to have multiple windows open and work on two different apps side-by-side. A new iOS 7 Cydia tweak takes that dream and makes it a reality.
It’s aptly called OS Experience and it allows users with a jailbroken iPad to bring a bit of OS X over to iOS by letting users switch between apps using an interface similar to OS X’s Mission Control, as well as snapping apps so that you can truly multi-task and use two apps at the same time side-by-side, similar to Windows 8 tablets and Samsung Galaxy tablets.
OS Experience lets you have multiple desktops, where you can add multiple apps to each of those desktops and switch between them, just like in OS X. What’s perhaps the most impressive feature of the tweak is that you can play with each app while it’s its own separate window, even if there are other apps on the desktop; it truly feels like a desktop at your fingertips, just on a smaller screen.
iPad, Meet OS X
OS Experience starts off with a short tutorial on how to use the tweak. It’s a bit vague and doesn’t tell how to do everything, but it shows you enough of the basics that it only takes a few minutes to pick up on other gestures. It also helps that OS Experience mainly relies on four-finger swipes, so if you forget how to go back to a menu or access Mission Control, it’s most likely a four-finger swipe in a given direction.
For example, swiping up with four fingers displays Mission Control. From there you can swipe between different desktops and then swipe down with four fingers to make that desktop full-screen. When you have an app open in full-screen, you can swipe down with four fingers to bring up a small menu bar at the top that will allow you to close the app completely or minimize the app into a window that you can then drag around the desktop or snap it into one of the sides.
A four-finger swipe also lets you hide or unhide the dock. Speaking of the dock, OS Experience relies on it heavily, so if you plan to use the tweak often, be sure to have your most-used apps in the dock. Granted, you can still easily get back to the home screen and open up any app from there, but accessing the dock is quicker and it doesn’t take you out of the OS Experience user interface.
One thing that you might find a bit annoying is that the tweak completely gets rid of the default app switcher, since OS Experience comes with its own app switcher of course, in the form of Mission Control. Double-tapping the Home button will do nothing, since the app switcher is disabled when OS Experience is running.
Control Center is another iOS 7 feature that doesn’t work when OS Experience is enabled, which is a little baffling and we hope support for it gets added in a future update, but right now, that’s a big con to this jailbreak tweak.
Where It Falls Short
Besides the extermination of the default app switcher and Control Center, there are a few aspects where OS Experience isn’t quite what it’s hyped up to be. It’s an amazing jailbreak tweak when you think about all of the neat stuff it can do on an iPad, and it’s definitely a tweak that made my eyes open wide. However, the execution is a bit sloppy and it forces me to think about whether or not a desktop-like experience really is any better on an iPad than the traditional iOS experience.
Having apps side-by-side can be useful, but the iPad mini’s smaller screen certainly doesn’t make that experience worthwhile. It might work better on the iPad Air with the larger 9.7-inch screen, and I’d actually recommend using a full-size iPad for this tweak, but even then it’s pretty iffy. I actually missed the simplicity of iOS while using OS Experience, and it I feel that it adds more complexity than necessary to iOS, but others may find that it adds to the experience.
OS Experience certainly isn’t for everyone, and the $9.99 price tag will surely scare some users away as it’s one of the more expensive jailbreak tweaks available in the Cydia store, but true multitaskers will love this tweak, as it’s a multitasking paradise with Mission Control, snapping windowed apps, and truly being able to use two apps at once.