The Immortal Jailbreak Tweak

OK, so perhaps it might be a little overdramatic to title this post The Immortal Jailbreak Tweak. Such a thing would be a gift from heaven for the jailbreak scene.

What I’m actually about to talk about is probably better described as a jailbreak artefact, but it’s extremely weird nonetheless. What do I mean by “artefact”? I mean my phone is no longer jailbroken, yet it exhibits a subtle behavioural trait that a non-jailbroken phone shouldn’t demonstrate. Let me explain further.

Back when I was running iOS 7, I used a number of jailbreak tweaks on my jailbroken iPhone. One of them was anyBadge Pro. The premise for the tweak is pretty cool: Replace the boring badge counters on apps with customised ones. If you’re a customisation junkie like me this tweak is a lot of fun.

It even lets you show a perpetual badge on an app with a count of “0”. For example, let’s say your Mail app has zero unread messages (I know, I know: Few people ever reach this mythical Utopia), you may want to show a little mail avatar in the normally absent badge icon.

Anyway, jump forward a year and things have changed. I decided that being jailbroken was slowing down my meagre iPhone 4S a little too much, so I backed it up and did a full restore. A full restore involves wiping the phone, reinstalling iOS and then restoring from the backup.

This was followed with an upgrade to iOS 8 and yet another full restore as I attempted to speed up my sluggish phone, which was struggling under Apple’s latest upgrade. So, yes, that’s two full restores and a number of incremental iOS updates since I abandoned my jailbreak.

So, imagine my surprise when I recently enabled the badge counter on one of my favourite apps, Launch Centre Pro, and saw this:

2014-11-29 at 12.37.55

Interestingly, the badge counter now stays stuck like this, even when it should increment and decrement.

I don’t know much about what goes on at the OS level on my iPhone, but I can theorise what’s happening here:

  • When I was jailbroken, I’d used the tweak to add a little rocket emoji to Launch Centre Pro’s badge for when the count was 0.
  • iTunes backed up the content of the badge counter as raw text.
  • When I restored from my backup after removing the jailbreak, the badge counter was restored as raw text, rather than a numerical value representing the count.
  • iOS doesn’t know how to increment or decrement a non-integer, and an emoji is about as far from an integer as you can get.

My suspicion is that if I manually deleted the app from my iPhone, and therefore the app data too, and then re-downloaded it from the app store afresh, I would then discover that the badge returned to normal behaviour. Curious though I am to see if this is the case, I kind of like this little eccentricity I now have on my home screen.

Can anyone provide a definitive answer as to what’s going on here?

Edit: The badge now seems to have disappeared following several push notifications over the last week. Strangely, new notifications don’t cause the badge counter to show at all now. The tweak’s creator plans to look into it: https://twitter.com/Heliomass/status/540949782026403840

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