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Nitrous: My Jailbreak's Killer App

When Google released Chrome for iOS, initial excitement was tempered when users realized that, thanks to Apple’s restrictions, Chrome lacked Google’s V8 JavaScript engine. When you get down to it, Chrome in iOS is just a browsery widget wrapper around iOS UIWebViews.

Worse, because Chrome is not an Apple app, it does not take advantage of the Nitro JavaScript engine that is built into iOS and used by Apple apps like Safari.

Thankfully, jailbreaking iOS users can now add Nitro support to Chrome (and other apps) with the new Nitrous app on the Cydia store.

Nitrous adds a menu to the iOS Settings app, which allows users to selectively flag applications to use Nitro, thus allowing that app’s web views to perform as they do in mobile Safari.

Enabling Nitro on non-Safari web browsers is great enough, but it also allows enabling Nitro on other apps that make use of UIWebViews, such as client apps for Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook.

The following image from this post demonstrates the performance improvement of Nitro in Chrome by running the SunSpider JavaScript performance test:

While it’s not quite the same thing as Chrome being able to include V8 in iOS Chrome, the ability to use Nitro in Chrome takes away one of the two major disadvantages Chrome has on iOS. (The other disadvantage - not being the default browser - can be solved with the Browser Chooser app, allowing users to elevate Chrome to the iOS default browser).

categories: ios