Although many of you may own an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, you might be largely unfamiliar with the term “jailbreaking”. Yes, it sounds a bit ominous, but it’s really not all that dark and dangerous. Here we are going to attempt to explain exactly what jailbreaking is, it’s advantages and disadvantages and legality. And of course, we’re going to answer the question, should you or shouldn’t you?
What is Jailbreaking?
To sum it up as briefly as possible, jailbreaking is essentially the process of freeing your device from the limitations that are imposed by Apple. While it’s true that the iOS is one of the most stable and secure mobile operating systems around, it can become too restrictive due to Apple’s “closed” mantra. By jailbreaking the user can have read/write access to the iOS operating system which in turn lets them download and install additional apps, extensions and themes that are all unauthorized by Apple and cannot be purchased in the App Store.
Cydia is basically the main reason why you jailbreak your device. If you don’t want to install Cydia, then do not even bother jailbreaking your device. Cydia is a third-party digital distribution platform. Sort of the “other” App Store, if you will, because, all unauthorized apps and tweaks usually end up here.
Benefits of Jailbreaking
One of the best reasons for jailbreaking your device is the wealth of jailbreak tweaks and apps that are available to you through Cydia. Most of these apps and tweaks can not be obtained through the App Store. Some of these applications can merely tweak certain aspects of your device while others completely change the look and feel of your device. Here are some of the greatest jailbreak apps that you can download:
SBSettings — 3G Unrestrictor
Springtomize — BiteSMS, Infinifolders
Jailbreaking allows you to fully customize your iOS device. A jailbreak app called Winterboard allows you to completely change the theme of the iOS or for a more advanced solution, you can try Dreamboard. It’s also possible to customize your lockscreen, Springboard, music player, slide to unlock bar, Notification Center, etc.
Jailbreaking will also allow you to install an app called Installous which lets you download cracked apps for free.
Disadvantages and Risks of Jailbreaking
Now jailbreaking is absolutely legal but any attempt to jailbreak an iDevice will void your warranty. That means that Apple has the right to deny you any service repairs should your device be damaged or malfunction. Solution: Restore your device before taking it to Apple for repairs. They won’t be able to detect it.
Bugs and Glitches
The iOS may be fairly bug-free, but the same can’t be said for jailbroken devices. The act of jailbreaking will make your device less stable. There will be issues like some apps will crash or stop working entirely, faster battery use, slowdowns, freezing, even loss of data and other errors.
Updates Break Jailbreak
A rule of thumb is that if a certain firmware version has been jailbroken, it’s guaranteed that the exploit will be plugged in the next update available. The result is that if you update, you will lose your jailbreak and all your jailbreak tweaks and apps will cease to work. If you’re going to jailbreak, then don’t update your firmware version unless there is an available jailbreak solution for it.
May Compromise Security
Because of its closed nature the iOS is one of the most secure mobile OS available. Jailbreaking, however, does open it up to susceptibility to malicious content such as viruses and malware that can steal personal information and even damage your device.
On July 2010, the U.S. government ruled that the act of jailbreaking and unlocking iPhones is legal.
What you have to do is weigh all the information, taking into consideration the pros and cons, before deciding whether or not you want to jailbreak your device. If it’s worth it to you, then you may proceed without fear of prosecution if discovered.