Jailbreaking an iPhone sounds like a daunting task. After all, how exactly does one break their phone free from the restrictions that the manufacturer placed on the device? More importantly, why are these restrictions on the iPhone in the first place? We’ll take a look at these topics, plus discuss the pros and cons of jailbreaking your favorite phone. Finally, we’ll talk about how you can jailbreak your iPhone so that you can enjoy the most that your phone has to offer – Apple supported or not.
What is iPhone Jailbreaking?
Jailbreaking an iPhone, simply put, is removing the abritrary and sometimes self-serving restrictions that Apple has placed on it’s phone. Apple sometimes blocks applications or features which they feel don’t represent the integrity or quality of the iPhone. Their argument is that by keeping better control over their own hardware, they are able to offer a better user experience. Therefore, straight out of the factory, the phone is very limited in what it can and cannot do.
For example, let’s say John buys an iPhone and actives his phone cellular service. Apple works with AT&T to provide phone service, but some consumers – like John – decide they don’t want to use AT&T. Hence, the phone must be altered to work with other service providers. Once John has jailbroken his iPhone, he is now free to unlock his iPhone and choose a different cellular provider. Out of the factory, the phone is configured to only work with AT&T which is one of the manufacturer restrictons we mentioned above.
Over the years, certain developers and crafty individuals have found a way to circumvent these restrictions by cleverly changing kernels in the operating system itself. As a result, the term ‘iOS Jailbreaking’ or simply ‘Jailbreaking’ was coined.
An iPhone that is jailbroken is capable of much more than Apple intended and allows you to run a wide variety of new, interesting and helpful apps – as well as choose your own service carrier. However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows as iOS jailbreaking has it’s fair share of pros and cons.
The Pros of Jailbreaking an iPhone
Gives a Sense of Freedom – Who doesn’t enjoy the feeling of freedom? There’s a certain satisfaction that comes along with breaking the iPhone OS to do what you what it to do – whether it goes with Apple’s design philosophy or not. Everyone likes to feel empowered and in control, and for some, Jailbreaking is a way to “stick it to the man”.
Choosing Your Own Cellular Provider – One of the biggest reasons why consumers jailbreak their iPhone is because they simply don’t want to use AT&T as their service provider. Once your phone is unlocked, you are free to choose your own carrier – and for most people, this is reason enough to go against Apple’s wishes.
Access to 3rd Party Applications – Apple is well known for it’s tenacity in declining or rejecting apps from developers. They will not allow these developers to put their apps up for sale in Apple’s official iPhone store. This is because these 3rd party apps perform functions that Apple would rather not let you have. For example, running your phone on a different network than AT&T or allowing the iPhone to look or function or in a different way than Apple intended. Don’t worry too much though, you are still free to use Apple’s supported applications, even with a jailbroken iPhone.
Total Appearance Customization – Want to set your background image as that crazy party from Saturday night? Perhaps a picture from your vacation last summer? With a jailbroken iPhone, there is a plethora of different apps that will allow you to do almost anything with the appearance of your OS. Reskin, change default system sounds, and arrange icons until your heart is content.
The Cons of Jailbreaking an iPhone
Voids your Warranty – This probably goes without saying, but jailbreaking your phone will void your manufacturer warranty. You will get no support from Apple from any technical problems that arise from a jailbroken phone. However, in most cases, you can revert the phone back to it’s locked state and Apple will be none the wiser about your little adventure.
Official Updates can Break Jailbreaks – Sometimes official updates to the OS from Apple itself can break your jailbreak. In other words, your unsupported apps may not work properly. Most jailbreak developers are pretty good at fixing any broken apps quickly, so it’s not too much to worry about. Just don’t expect everything to run smooth at the launch of new OS updates.
Security Issues – If you choose to run jailbreak apps that use OpenSSH (wireless communication between computer and phone), you run the risk of exposing your personal data to anyone who happens to get into your network. It’s really no different than using a wireless router on your home computer, so just make sure you keep your password secure, change it often, and you will be fine.
Jailbreaking your iPhone
Ready to jailbreak your iPhone or another Apple device such as a iPod Touch or iPad? We know it sounds complicated, but it’s not nearly as hard as you’d imagine. You don’t have to dig through a maze of scary code or jump through hoops to get the most out of your phone. You don’t even have to know anything about how the phone works! In fact, there’s software that does it for you.
When you’re ready to get started, we highly recommend the following Jailbreak software: