HOW TO: Create a Navigation Menu with Activator


Activator, created by Ryan Petrich, is one of the most popular jailbreak tweaks available on Cydia. Not only that but, Activator is also part of the core functionality of many other Cydia tweaks and add-ons. In addition to a comprehensive list of actions that Activator offers by default, Reddit user sarcasmsiempre figured out a way to create a navigation menu for activator:

Personally, I use my iPhone for turn-by-turn directions whenever I’m driving somewhere unfamiliar. Whenever I’m driving back from these unfamiliar places, I’m going to one of two places: my college or my house. So I figured: why not make an Activator menu that gives me instant access to those locations in Maps?

Jump over the break to learn how to create a navigation menu with Activator…


  • Activator (BigBoss or rpetri.ch/repo)
  • Activate Link (BigBoss)
  • iFile (or a .plist editor on your computer)
  • Image editor of choice

Step 1: Getting Your URLs

Apple’s maps application makes use of what’s known as a URL scheme. Basically, if you open any URL that starts with “http://maps.apple.com/?q=,” it will open in the Maps app instead of Safari. What goes after the “q=” is the location that the Maps app will show. So if you wanted the Maps app to open and show 123 Main Street, Anytown, New York, your URL would be: http://maps.apple.com/?q=123+Main+Street+Anytown+NY

Basically, just replace any spaces in your address with + symbols.

If you find yourself constantly getting directions from one specific place to another specific place, you can set up a URL for that too, using “saddr=” and “daddr=” for starting address and destination address, respectively. So a URL to give you directions from Cupertino to San Francisco would look like this: http://maps.apple.com/?saddr=Cupertino&daddr=San+Francisco

Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to specify “use my current location as the starting address” within a Maps URL. Fortunately, all you have to do is tap the driving icon next to the address popup and directions will start from wherever you are.

So, using this URL scheme, formulate your Maps URL for whatever destination(s) you want in your menu.

Step 2: Setting up Activate Link

This is an easy step. Just go into the settings for Activate Link (it comes with its own preference pane) and copy-paste your Maps URLs. Remember which link number corresponds to which destination.

Step 3: Setting Up Your Activator Menu

Now, go into Activator’s settings. Tap on the Menus option, then Add New Menu. Give your menu a title, like “Navigation,” and choose Add. Tap on your new menu to edit it and choose Add Action. From there, add in all of the Activate Link actions that you set up. Then, head back to Activator’s main settings and assign your menu to a gesture/button press/whatever. Personally, mine is triggered by a swipe up on the Maps icon. To do this, tap At Home Screen, then tap Edit in the top right corner.

Optional Step 4: Customizing Your Menu GUI

So, you now have a functional quick-navigation menu! One problem though: every entry has the same icon, and they’re named “Activate Link 1,” “Activate Link 2,” etc. Ugly. Let’s fix that.

Using iFile, DiskAid, iFunBox, or good old SSH, navigate to /Library/Activator/Listeners. In here, you should see folders named “org.rdharris.activatelink.l1,” “org.rdharris.activatelink.l2,” and so on. Inside each folder are three icon files and an Info.plist; these control the icon and name of each of Activate Link’s five entries. So “org.rdharris.activatelink.l1” controls the name and icon of Link #1, “org.rdharris.activatelink.l2” controls Link #2, and so on. This is where it’s important to remember which link corresponds to what destination.

Let’s say, as in my example screenshot above, I want Link #2 to be named “Home.” I simply open the Info.plist in the “org.rdharris.activatelink.l2” folder and change

title = "Activate Link 2";


title = "Home";

then save and respring. Now, when I call up my menu, it’ll show “Home” instead of “Activate Link #2.”

You can also edit the icons for each link so that they’re not all the same. Non-retina icons are 29×29, and retina icons are 58×58. Just overwrite the originals and respring to see your changes. And if you ever want the defaults back, just reinstall Activate Link in Cydia.