Should I Jailbreak my iPhone?
If you’re reading this, you’re probably considering if you should join the hundreds of thousands of iPhone, iPad and iPod users that jailbreak their iOS device every year. The answer to “should I jailbreak my iPhone (or iPad)” is not a simple yes or no. As you’ll find below, there are numerous factors to consider when deciding. Lets begin.
What is Jailbreaking?
It’s not just a buzzword thrown around. Jailbreaking your iPhone or iPad is a huge change. Essentially what you are doing is changing the permissions of the iOS root folder to allow access to you and developers. Once that is opened up, any software, good or bad can now be uploaded to your device without Apple’s approval process.
Is it illegal?
Simple answer. No. Not at all. We get asked this constantly and it’s always been the same. It is NOT illegal to jailbreak your device(s). Think of it this way. Is it illegal to customize a car you fully own? Nope. The only time it gets questionable is [dt_tooltip title=”Unlocking”]Unlocking: To change the carrier used on the iPhone.[/dt_tooltip] your device, which is whole other topic.
Now, there is more potential for someone looking to do something illegal to do so — like say download an app without purchasing it, but I wouldn’t say that jailbreaking is created for stealing, as you’ll find in our benefits to jailbreaking below.
Benefits of Jailbreaking
Freedom: Now that you have “rooted” your device, you can now go ahead and start downloading thousands of new apps, tweaks, functions and more to further improve your experience. Thanks the the simplicity of the Cydia community, you don’t need to be a tech wiz to get started either.
Customization: Customizing your iOS is a big allure for jailbreaking. Simply download a jailbreak app named springboard and you’re able to practically change every aspect of the interface. Icons, text, default graphics, layout positioning, etc. The community has released some of the most gorgeous themes. I mean don’t get me wrong, stock iOS7 looks great, but the power of custom themes blow away the stock look. Besides, it’s nice to refresh the look time to time.
New functionality: With a jailbreak you can do things with your device you never even imagined. Change up default toggles in the control panel. Free up memory with the flick of the screen. Text seamlessly from any app. Make gesture shortcuts for anything. And the list goes on and on. It truly makes life easier for me when I add these ”tweaks.”
Tweaks: Usually a modification to the stock functionality, or even a add-on. For instance, I’ve tweaked my lock screen to give me pertinent information such as weather, rss feeds, calendar. I’ve also tweaked the lock to take a picture of anyone that attempts to steal my iPhone by typing in incorrect pins.
Security/Stability: This is double edged sword. With trustworthy tweaks you have the ability to further secure your iOS. Use different lock methods on different apps. Add a firewall or proxy (advanced stuff). Make a more stable environment by downloading a app to monitor resources and kill what you don’t need. Delete cache and left behind ipsw which can potentially free up a few gigs, as it did for me. Will talk about the bad side of this later on.
Issues with Jailbreaking
Piracy: With the power of jailbreaking comes the flood of pirated apps. This is more harmful to the developers, which is the bloodline to the iPhone and iPad. Developers lose money as jailbreaking makes it possible to download nearly every app from the App Store without paying the developer a penny. Last thing we want to do is deter developers from creating more great apps.
Void of warranty:That may sound scary, but remember, a jailbreak is only a software modification. Software can always be removed. So technically, if your device ever did need to go in to the Genius Bar, you’d need to take precaution and restore your iOS device to remove the jailbreak. More of a hassle in my opinion.
Untrustworthy sources: With the removal of Apple’s approval system, any hacker can now upload a malicious app on the Cydia community. Of course these are usually reported and removed quickly, but you don’t want to be the first to step on a land mine. I can tell you from experience that downloading one bad app can brick your device, causing the need for a full restore. Not faun process.
Unable to update: Once you’re on the dark side you can expect a lengthy wait before you’re able to take advantage of newer Apple iOS updates. You can always just update and lose your jailbreak, but you’d be advised to just do a full restore to ensure stability.
Security/Stability: You may have noticed this listed on benefits. As I said it can be a double edged sword. If you download an untrustworthy app, you can open yourselves to all kinds of exploits. I can not speak from experience on data being stolen on an iOS jailbreak app, but the potential is there. More likely you would download unstable apps which brick your device or slow it tremendously. You’d simply uninstall the bad app or worse, you’ll need to restore your device.
So, should I jailbreak?
Well, I’ve provided the pros and cons of jailbreaking for you to make the decision for yourself. If you’re intelligently researching your apps before you download, you should be fine. If you know you’re not the most technical savvy person and you don’t want to be restoring your iPhone every once and awhile (it is a hassle) then maybe you’re better off staying away. Let us know anything we missed in the comments below. Also, let us know your experience, good or bad with jailbreaking.