So you’ve had your iPhone or iPod Touch for a while now but you still haven’t done anything to it that Apple didn’t want you to. Why should you jailbreak your iPhone or iPod Touch? I will go over some of the advantages and disadvantages of jailbreaking as well as some of the potential pitfalls.
*UPDATED* 7 of the latest reasons to Jailbreak on 3.1 Firmware
This is probably how your iPhone or iPod Touch looks without jailbreaking. There’s a generic black background that makes sure it doesn’t stand out from the millions of iPhones out there. The only time you see your wallpaper is the unlock screen for a split second before you actually start using your iPhone. Winterboard is perhaps the most popular reason people jailbreak their iPhones! The iPhone jailbreak will allow you to customize your springboard through the jailbreak-only app Winterboard! You can download themes (there are tons of them out there) to make your iPhone look completely different.
You can change everything from the sounds to the unlock screen sliders to the keyboard itself but only if you jailbreak the iPhone or iPod Touch! A definite Advantage.
The possibilities are pretty endless here.
If you’ve had your iPhone for a while, it can get pretty messy. Your apps are all out there on your springboard and you will have to sift through the various icons to find the app you need. With the Categories app, you can organize all your apps into folders!
The advantages of categories is that it can clear up the app clutter on your springboard and make it easier to find the apps that you need.
Backgrounding is a highly anticipated update feature that has yet to be added by Apple. Steve Jobs has stated that they are working on implementing it but they would like to get it right the first time so it wasn’t part of the firmware 2.2 update. Luckily, if you jailbreak your iPhone or iPod Touch you have access to the backgrounder which will provide the service. The disadvantage to this app is that you will have to watch which apps you have running or else you can slow your iPhone or iPod Touch significantly. This service is especially useful for instant messenging apps like AIM.
Ever wanted to use your iPhone‘s 3G connection on your laptop? You won’t be able to download torrents but you can definitely get some work done with the modem app. The name is iPhonemodem and it makes tethering a reality. We’ve had some trouble getting the 3G to work but there are some people out there who have successfully tethered their iPhone‘s 3G connection to their computers. Once again, another advantage to jailbreak!
Jailbreaking your iPhone or iPod Touch will open up a new world of games. Developers who have become fed up with Apple’s draconian app store rules brought their talent into the third party arena and there are some wonderful games available. The NES emulator will enable play of old school NES games. There’s also a Playstation emulator and tons of ported games like Doom!
If you wish to unlock your iPhone (for use with other carriers besides AT&T here in the U.S) some time in the future when the iPhone-dev team release their soft unlock, you will have to jailbreak your iPhone 3G first. Remember though, don’t update to firmware 2.2 if you want to unlock!
update: As of January 2nd 2009, the iPhone Dev team have released an iPhone 3G unlock and it actually only works with firmware 2.2 so ignore this unlock warning! Check out the iPhone 3G unlock tutorial.
Update: Here is the iPhone 3GS unlock tutorial.
We get a lot of people asking us the disadvantages to jailbreaking the iPhone or iPod Touch. After all, it seems too good to be true? There is a very very slim chance that you can brick your iPhone or iPod Touch (which basically means rendering it unresponsive). But those are usually fixed by doing a reset (press and hold the home and sleep buttons at the same time). You can then reinstall firmware 2.2 and try again. Doing the research might set you back 20 minutes or so and the whole process might take another 15 minutes. If you ever take it back to Apple for warranty, you probably don’t want them to see that you’ve jailbroken it so you might spend another 10 minutes doing a firmware restore through iTunes to set your iPhone or iPod Touch back to its original settings.
In the end, the advantages far exceed the disadvantages and jailbreaking is a very useful process. In a sense, jailbreaking will untie the hands of your iPhone or iPod Touch and allow it to be used to its full capabilities. It also opens up a whole new world of functionality. Do the research and see if its right for you, we definitely think it is! Check back next week when we will go over the entire process step by step. It should be noted that jailbreaking the iPod Touch and jailbreaking the iPhone are similar processes which achieve most of the same goals. Check out the iPhone vs iPod Touch article to determine which one is best for you!