It’s no secret that the look and feel of iOS for iPhone is modeled after Apple’s Dashboard for Mac. It’s also no secret that the system monitor widget is arguably the Dashboard’s “killer app.” It is consistently one of the top downloads from the Apple website.
So, it’s a little surprising that it has taken this long for an iPhone developer to reproduce that same monitoring functionality and make it available for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Nevertheless, at long last, the wait is over. System Manager for iPhone is here to answer any question you might have about just what is going on behind the polished shell of your iDevice.
The look of this app is polished enough that it could easily be mistaken for a native application. The developer has cleverly mimicked the “rubberized” appearance of the Mac Dashboard as well as the original dock for the iPhone. All appearances aside, System Manager is very good at what it sets out to do: tell you everything about your phone, from memory usage, to processes, battery life, and miscellaneous system details.
These various categories are easily accessible within the app through tabs at the bottom of the screen, and each tab comes with a handy visualization of the data that System Manager has collected. For example, the memory use of the device is displayed as a pie chart, so you can easily see what’s slowing down your performance, or how much disk space you have left. Below the visualization, the app displays an easy-to-read chart of relevant information.
Even with hours and hours of playtime, one of the most common problems users complain about is battery life. You can use this app to track your iPhone’s power usage as well. In the battery tab, you will find a list of how many minutes of usage you can expect to get if you were to use your phone in various ways, from standby mode to 3D gaming, and everything in between.
System Manager strives to be more than a passive data-collection app, however. If you opt to use System Manager while charging your phone, it will attempt to optimize battery life by keeping track of when the battery was last allowed to drain completely. If local notifications are enabled, System Manager will remind the user to run a full battery cycle monthly– a proven technique for getting the most life out of the battery. System Manager can also be used to launch applications that are running in the background.
Unfortunately, this app is missing one key bit of functionality: the ability to force-quit applications that are running in the background and gobbling up the device’s limited memory. This isn’t the fault of the developer, however, as Apple denies App Store passage to any app with a task-killer function. It’s a bit of a shame, and we can only hope that Apple will change this policy.
All in all, System Manager is stable and highly functional. It is essential for anyone who already uses their smartphone as if it were a second computer.