Is there an app (normal, jailbreak) that will keep my iPhone (3GS, OS 4.x) screen on, indefinitely, when it is plugged in, regardless of what app is running in the foreground?

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    As per @MisterEd's answer and comment, it is important to know if you'd want an automated form to switch behaviours when plugging in/out or not. Seems like it's implied you do want that. Answers will vary based on that. – cregox May 6 '14 at 19:56

An unexplained downvote brought to my attention this old post, so I decided to update it.

I don't have an iPhone any longer, but my iPad screen simply stays on, whenever plugged in or not, if my setting to Auto Lock is set to Never. On iOS 7+ it is that simple.

Set Auto Lock to Never!

Now, if you want to automatically change it back (which is a completely different question), once you plug it out, you'll need to jailbreak. But since it's complicated and I haven't tried, I'll just give one pointer that seems to do it: get Tasker (found on lifehacker).

I personally rather just manually switch it on and off, until apple decides to have some kind of NFC. It should be just around the corner, if not with NFC, then with iBeacon.

Old answer (jailbreak only, iOS 4 or less)

First, I just tried on my iphone and even calculator stays active after 1 minute, even if the screen dims out. So maybe your question is really just about keeping the screen on.

Anyway, I can think of two solutions: kirikae with backgrounder might do the trick as a side effect. If not, you can use SBSettings with Autolock toggle to do it manually and temporarily set the auto-lock to never. All of them you should find in Cydia.

edit: as none of the above actually worked, here's some update.

Some custom toggles on SBSettings seem to just not work indeed. It's probably due to getting outdated or conflicting with something else, two common problems we find on cydia apps. BigBoss is kind of similar to SBSettings and also have an Autolock toggle. You could use it along with some multitasking, leave it on the background and use it as needed. It hardly have any conflicting issue.

Unfortunately I can't find many more ideas to this.

Only thing I can assure you is that I just tried SBSettings's Autolock toggle on my iOS 3.1.3 and it works. It also says it's updated to 4, so most likely it's either problem with 4.1 or conflicting with something else you've got installed. And believe me, there are conflicts from the least expected things (look at the comments).

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  • Yes I meant "screen on". I just realized that the OS allows "never" as an autolock option without jailbreak, but the SBSettings will make it easy to just do this when I want, not all the time. I think I'll delete the question, as it is just part of the OS... – user588 Dec 24 '10 at 16:45
  • @mankoff don't you dare to ever delete relevant questions just because after they're answered they look like it was "obvious"! ;) – cregox Jan 4 '11 at 17:25
  • OK. As you can see I haven't :). I think it didn't let me? Anyway, AutoLock Toggle (SBSettings) sounded great but doesn't seem to work. Still looking for a solution... – user588 Jan 4 '11 at 17:29
  • @mankoff that's sad news. :( I'll update the answer and try to help. :( – cregox Jan 4 '11 at 18:13

The have moved the Auto-Lock option from General in iOS 10 (and possibly above):

Settings > Display & Brightness > Auto-Lock

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I use iTunes. As long as you have a song playing the screen will dim, but it won't go black and it won't lock. If you don't want to have music playing you can download a track that's just silence, then put it on repeat.

EDIT: I should note that my IOS version is 7.1.0 - can't make any promises about other versions...

EDIT: I should also note that the behavior described above only applies when the phone is on external power, that is, iTunes will not keep the phone unlocked when on battery power.

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  • Why not simply setting Auto Lock to Never? – cregox May 6 '14 at 18:05
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    @cawas Because the Auto Lock setting doesn't differentiate between battery and external power. In other words, I have to remember to switch Auto Lock back to my preferred on-battery setting of 1 min or risk stuffing my phone in my pocket after forgetting to lock it, and then having a dead battery in a couple hours (or worse, losing my phone and having it lying on the street unlocked). iTunes, on the other hand, will only keep the phone unlocked on battery power. If you're good about remembering to manually lock your phone, then Auto Lock might work for you. – MisterEd May 6 '14 at 19:13
  • Ooooh... You've got a point there! :D – cregox May 6 '14 at 19:53

The Gentle Alarm keeps the screen active when it is plugged in, but I guess that is a feature that each app has to implement, not something that you install to keep the screen active for all apps.

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I use Kensington's Nightstand every night. Sure beats having a separate alarm clock by the bed. And no, you don't actually have to use (or even own) their charger.

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