When iOS 4 was introduced a little under a year ago it brought with it a feature that many users of iOS devices was looking for, namely multitasking, and more importantly fast app switching.
While the theory of fast app switching was good Apple’s first attempt didn’t quite meet all the requirements. Activating the native task switcher is a double click of the Home button and a stream of all the active applications is presented along the bottom of the screen. From here you can swipe to the left to view the icons and then select the one you want to activate.
This is all well and good but what about if you want a little more from your task switching, what if you want to be able to see the whole app that you want to switch between? Well, for those of you who jailbreak their iPhone / iPad have some options, most notably with PhySwitch ($1.99) and Multifl0w ($4.99) which over two alternatives to switch between your active tasks.
Both are simple installs via cydia and while neither will appear as new apps on your home screen Multifl0w will appear in your settings while PhySwitch will simply need to be given an activation method via Activator.
The recommended activation method for PhhySwitch is holding down both volume buttons. This has two benefits, one is that it’s difficult to activate on accident and the second being is that because you can scroll through the active apps using the volume buttons your fingers will already be in the right place.
That being said though it does take some practice to get them both pressed at the same time so you may want to persevere or set a different activation method. Once activated your active applications show up as a card taking up 80% of the screen and you can scroll through them using the + and – volume buttons, alternatively you can just swipe the screen.
Tapping the screen will activate the selected application and you can get straight back to working in that application. There is also a close icon on each of the applications so that you can easily close any applications you don’t need taking up valuable memory anymore.
At $4.99, over twice the price of PhySwitch, you would expect Multifl0w to have more bells and whistles and you’d be right. The major difference with Multifl0w is the two different styles of app switching, one is Expose while the other is Cards.
Cards mimic the card view that PhySwitch uses although rather than scrolling vertically the cards can be scrolled horizontally. Apps can also be closed using the close button at the top left of each card.
Expose mode places all open apps on the same page up to a maximum of 9. This can provide you with a quick overview of all your open apps on a single screen, although it goes without saying that the more you have open smaller each card is in Expose view.
Expose also offers a few other features such as being able to rearrange the tabs in expose mode and change the wallpaper when Multif0w is active which helps justify the additional cost.
Out of the two PhySwitch will satisfy the needs of most users looking for a more robust app switching tool, where-as my preference is for Multifl0w and it’s additional feature set.