How to run Skype on a jailbroken iPhone without crashes

Update: I’m leaving this post here for historical reasons, but there’s a better fix for this issue from the developer of ‘Mobile Substrate’. See the news about the Mobile Substrate update here. Short version: update in Cydia, the new Mobile Substrate will get out of Skype’s way. Great to see a fix so quickly, less than 12 hours since Skype appeared in the app store.

If you’ve jailbroken your iPhone (you miscreant!), you may find that the new Skype for iPhone app crashes within minutes of launch. It appears that this is because you have a hidden application called ‘Mobile Substrate’ installed. ‘Mobile Substrate’, among other things1, makes it possible for apps like VoIPover3G to enable the use of voice-over-IP applications like Fring over cellular data connections.

I don’t know whether Skype is quitting deliberately because it detects ‘Mobile Substrate’, or whether there’s some other bug in the interaction between ‘Mobile Substrate’ and Skype. What I do know is that it is possible for users with jailbroken iPhones to temporarily disable ‘Mobile Substrate’ and thus run the new Skype app without issue, by enabling something called ‘Safe Mode’. This solution has been posted online, but I was a little unclear on the details. Here are the steps I’ve found that work:

  1. Launch the Cydia application installer.
  2. Install an application called ‘SBSettings’.
  3. Exit Cydia, return to the Springboard.
  4. Launch SBSettings (drag a finger across the status bar at the top of the iPhone screen).
  5. Hit the little SBSettings power button to bring up a menu of options.
  6. Choose ‘Safe Mode’ from the menu. Enjoy. Try not to freak out about the hilarious “sad iPhone” background image, or the error message that says Springboard has crashed –that’s just there because Safe Mode normally is only activated when Springboard does crash, it’s a fail-safe mechanism added to jailbroken iPhones to smooth over any instability.

In Pictures:
2
The SBSettings panel. Hit the little red power button.
1-1
Hit the ‘Safe Mode’ button.
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Skypey goodness!

In Safe Mode, your iPhone will look a little different. The time will no longer be displayed in the status bar, which will instead say “Exit Safe Mode”. At this point, you can launch Skype, and it should work. At least, it has yet to quit on me. My friends are all asleep, so I can’t test it on a long voice call, but I’ve been running the app now for about 20 minutes without issue. A call to the skype sound test id ‘echo123’ worked and the audio quality was excellent.

I found the following super-blurry French video helpful when I was attempting to figure out how to use SBSettings and access Safe Mode. Maybe you will too.

Happy Skypeing!

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  1. I know not what other things, I’m a little unclear as to its purpose, actually. []
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