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Springboard, or Home Screen, is the standard application that manages the iOS home screen. Other tasks include starting WindowServer, launching and bootstrapping applications and setting some of the device's settings on startup.
In 2008, with Apple's release of iPhone OS 1.1.2 and the January App Pack, the Springboard underwent some substantial changes. Holding a finger on any application for a few seconds causes all of the icons to wiggle. From this view, you can rearrange your icons, delete web apps and web clips, and create multiple pages by dragging an application to the side of the screen. If the Home button is pressed, the icons will stop wiggling and apps can be opened again.
In July 2008, third-party applications were introduced with iPhone OS 2.0. These applications are installed through the App Store and deleted with the traditional "wiggle mode" method.
In June 2009, in iPhone OS 3, Spotlight Search was added to the Springboard. This allowed the user to search for applications and other files stored in the iPhone.
In June 2010, in iOS 4, home screen wallpapers were introduced to the Springboard. Folders were introduced as well: dragging an application on top of another application while in "wiggle mode" will result in a folder being created. After that, more applications may be added to that folder by dragging an application on top of the folder. Applications can be removed from a folder by simply dragging it out into the main home screen. Folders can be removed by removing every application from the folder.
On jailbroken devices, unsigned applications (applications installed through Cydia) cannot be deleted by the traditional method of holding a finger on the application and selecting delete. Instead, they need to be removed through Cydia, unless CyDelete is installed, which allows for that method to be used.
Researchers found that on mobile devices users organize icons on their SpringBoards mainly based on usage-frequency and relatedness of the applications, as well as for reasons of usability and aesthetics.
Display of icons
The layout of the Springboard is in XML stored under /Library/SpringBoard/IconState.plist
In iPhone OS/iOS versions before 1.1.3, jailbreaking patched the Springboard for displaying third-party applications.
In iPhone OS/iOS versions 1.1.3 and beyond, patching is no longer required as Springboard natively renders third-party icons. Jailbroken applications are however stored in /Applications, instead of Apple's native third-party application folder of /var/mobile/Applications.
The Springboard on jailbroken devices can also be customized with themes or skins. Themes are applied through WinterBoard, an application from the jailbroken third-party installer Cydia. Applications and user interface elements of Springboard can be manually themed but most users choose to use WinterBoard as it is more stable, easier, and offers features such as being able to enable/disable themes whenever the user chooses. Cydia can be downloaded via third-party applications such as evasi0n or redsn0w.
Themes can have a variety of changes to the appearance of Springboard, mainly on the icon appearance. However themes also change elements of the user interface.
As of late 2009, jailbroken devices can now also replace Springboard's interface using PogoPlank, which uses a wheel of categories rather than the standard pages of icons.
As of iOS 4.3.3, Springboard looks for applications in the /Applications and /var/mobile/Applications directories of the iPhone's filesystem to display on the home screen.
Use in OS X
Mac OS X Lion included a new feature called 'Launchpad". This feature was based on the Springboard feature in iOS software. It included the same features (like folders) but was not made as the home screen, more an extension on the dock (like Dashboard).
Before the Developer Preview of Mac OS X Lion, Springboard was renamed Launchpad. Even though the name displayed in the dock remains the same, the images used to make up Launchpad are still named "Springboard" (or "sb"), and can be found in /System/Library/CoreServices/Dock.app/Contents/Resources.
- Apple - iPod touch features
- Matthias Böhmer, Antonio Krüger. A Study on Icon Arrangement by Smartphone Users. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '13). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2137-2146.
- iPhone 1.1.3 Ready for Official SDK Applications
- Undocumented iPhone preferences relating to Springboard