Completely Control Your iPhone’s SMS with biteSMS
While Apple certainly improved on Messages with iOS 5 and iMessages, there are still a lot of limitations to the app that the folks at Cupertino forgot to address. For example, don’t you ever wish you could quick compose messages without leaving the app you’re currently in? Or what about creating templates for texts that you send practically every day? That’s why today on App of the Week, I’m covering biteSMS, a much more robust iPhone/iOS SMS client than Messages/iMessages.
Platform Availability: iOS 4.0 and up. Requires Jailbreak. If you don’t know how, scroll to the end of this page to find out how to jailbreak your version of iOS.
Cost: A biteSMS license costs $9.99, and you can also purchase additional SMS credits from them if you’d like to use the developers’ messaging service (although this is entirely optional. Just search for biteSMS on Cydia – it should be in the BigBoss repository.
What it is: A souped-up SMS iPhone client. Get more control over your texts with a bunch of extra features like Quick Reply, Quick Compose, and so much more! If there’s anything you’ve ever wanted to do related to sending out texts, you can probably do it with biteSMS. The even better thing about biteSMS is that it’s compatible with SMS GV Extension, allowing you to use Google Voice essentially natively (just like you’re sending texts via your carrier) from your phone!
Features: Quick Compose – Why switch to iMessages when you just want to fire off a quick text? With the Activator jailbreak app, you can set any function you want to bring up a Quick Compose window to choose whoever you want to send your message to and whatever it is you want to send. I’ve set my Quick Compose action as swipe left to right on the title bar, and it really does make a world of difference when you don’t have to back out to the springboard or bring up the multitasking window.
Quick Reply – I’m sure you’ve often wanted more options than just the ability to view or close text messages, and biteSMS allows you to do just that. BiteSMS features a great Quick Reply window that gives you just as many options as if you had the actual app open all within a small window that goes away after you send off your response. You can open the app, call your contact, send a message, or dismiss the window. The app even gives you super-fine privacy controls, including whether or not you want to show the contact’s name, the contact’s picture, and even the message itself.
Quick List – If you really hate getting text message notifications pop up but still have to be alerted of when someone’s trying to reach you, biteSMS’ Quick List is just the solution for you. It automatically collects all the texts you don’t read or want to save via the “Later” button. Tap on the icon on the title bar to open up a small window allowing you to view all the texts you missed at your leisure without disturbing whatever you were doing previously. You can even adjust the whether or not texts go into your Quick List when you’re in lock screen vs. unlocked mode.
Templates – Often times, I find I send the same texts to people over and over, like letting them know when I’m outside of their apartment. If you’re tired of typing the same thing every day, save yourself some time and just use templates.
Multiple Send Methods – If you don’t have an unlimited texting plan, biteSMS allows you to track how many texts you’re sending out and alert you when you hit that threshold. BiteSMS can then also automatically switch to biteSMS network pre-allocated texts. If you want to manually choose which sending method to use, just hold the send button and biteSMS switches on the fly!
The Competition: There’s a lot of competition in the App Store trying to grab your SMS dollars.
iMessages – Free – iOS 5 or later – Comes pre-installed on iOS 5
iRealSMS – €9.99 (~$13.62) – iOS 4.0 or later; requires Jailbreak – Search for iRealSMS on Cydia
Why the Featured App is Best: iMessages doesn’t even come close to matching any of the fantastic features biteSMS offers. The only real benefit to iMessages is that you don’t have to jailbreak and it’s free to send messages to other iMessages users. However, those two factors hardly make up for the egregious lack of control iMessages gives you in comparison to biteSMS. iRealSMS is the real contender in iOS SMS supremacy. If you look at its feature list, it’s nearly identical to biteSMS. Where biteSMS has the slight edge is in its developer philosophy. If you compare the biteSMS change log to the iRealSMS change log, you’ll see that biteSMS’s developers work much harder to release updates to fix bugs on a more consistent basis. And while iRealSMS’s developers charge you for major updates, biteSMS’s don’t. Once you purchase a license, you receive all future biteSMS updates for free. Ultimately however, they’re very close. Compare screenshots of biteSMS to iRealSMS and see which one you personally prefer!
Summary: Just like when I covered Camera+, it’s remarkable how much third-party offerings like biteSMS completely trump Apple’s offering. If you want complete control over how you send and receive texts, there’s no better app than biteSMS. Though it requires a jailbreak, once you experience the joy of using such a complete texting app, I think you’ll find that it’s hard to go back to iMessages ever again.
What are your favorite biteSMS features? Are there any SMS apps that you like better than biteSMS? Let us know in the comments!