Jailbreaking The iPhone
We do not recommend Jailbreaking the iPhone, iPad, or any other iOS device. It’s not something we would do to our own gadgets. But all the while, there’s no point in beating around the bush of political righteousness here: there are indeed very substantial benefits to jailbreaking iOS devices which make this process very tempting for many users.
Since there are also some considerable downsides, we’ll start this article by reviewing those. If you’re planning to do it, please weigh in carefully what you have to gain versus what you may lose.
Why doesn’t everybody Jailbreak their iPhones?
The “Jailbreaking” of iOS devices is not illegal in the US at this time, but it certainly isn’t encouraged. So what is Jailbreaking really all about? It’s a process that releases your iPhone or iPad from a set of security and technical restraints that Apple imposes by default. This is not the same as unlocking the device to allow using it with different carriers; it goes deeper than that into the very soul of your phone. But before considering what you can gain out it, let’s start by pointing out the most glaring disadvantage:
Jailbreaking will void the warranty of your iOS device.
Since Jailbreaking constitutes a transgression of the legitimate intended use of iOS devices, when you do it you immediately waive your rights to any and all commercial support. This is arguably the biggest decision involved in the process: would you rather have on-going legitimate technical support, or do you prefer setting out into the wilderness with an unleashed device availed of increased functionality?
Jailbreaking is NOT a straightforward process.
It’s really not as easy as pushing a button. It’s more like jumping through several loops on an acrobatics course. Jailbreaking is not something that novice or even intermediate users will want to dabble with. Granted, there are service providers out there that will do it for you if you’re so inclined. But even if you hire a “specialist” to do the job, there are always some dangers involved – most notably, your iPhone can turn into a proverbial brick: a stylish piece of plastic and aluminum that won’t have any use whatsoever except maybe as a paper weight.
Why would anyone risk killing their device and losing guarantee?
At this point, you may be wondering just why anyone will want to take the risks brought about by jail-breaking. So here’s the short answer:
Jailbreaking allows bypassing the app store.
Jailbroken devices won’t be constrained only to apps contained in the app store. This means you can install apps developed by independent coders, as well as pirated versions of commercial apps. In simple terms, Jailbreaking opens the doors to app piracy and third party development. All things considered and morality debates aside, this is probably one of the strongest reasons why anybody considers jailbreaking their iPhone. It is a double-edged sword, however.
You see, one of the reasons iOS is so stable and secure is because Apple sets up a myriad of strategies to monitor what can be done with the device. So when you Jailbreak, it’s akin to opening a sort of Pandora’s box. Sure enough, you get access to new and exciting possibilities; but all the same you become exposed to many potential dangers – from identity theft to device hi-jacking to plain simple performance loss.
Other benefits of living outside the box.
When you jailbreak your iPhone, you escape Apple’s “protection” for better and worse. In one hand, your device won’t be constrained such a tight-knit network of security layers and efficiency schemes. On the other hand, you’ll get a chance to really customize your phone and access some useful features that usually are restrained for bureaucratic reasons only. Most notably tethering – the ability to create a virtual hot-spot that allows sharing your iPhone’s Internet connection with other devices. Just the tip of the iceberg too, as you will be able to customize pretty much everything from the look of the UI (user interface) down to installing rogue apps and shortcuts that let you use your phone, your way.
Final thoughts on jailbreaking the iPhone
The gist of the matter: are you an everyday user who values Apple’s fatherly support and security? Then don’t even consider jailbreaking. Also, make sure to read our article featuring all the reasons why the iPhone remains the undisputed king of smartphones. Are you a techie user who loves to tinker about and do things your own way? Then you won’t be fully happy with your iPhone until you jailbreaking – even if only for a matter of principle. It’s your phone, after all!