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To Jailbreak Or Not To Jailbreak…That Is The Question

Jailbreaking has come to iOS 7 (though 7.1 looks to have closed some loop holes) but for many new users of Apple devices they may not really know what Jailbreaking is, what the reasons for jailbreaking and against jailbreaking are.

What is Jailbreaking?

Jailbreaking is a way to break the restrictions that Apple has placed on your iOS device. These restrictions allow you greater access to the software at the heart of your device so you can have something more like an Android device (note, Android devices also have restrictions and you can “root” android devices to provide even further customisation to them. However, iOS devices have more restrictions from the start).

I’m sure just from the introduction you can see some reasons for Jailbreaking but just to spell it out. Here are the main reasons to jailbreak your device.

To Change Phone Operator

If you purchased a “locked” phone restricted to a certain phone operator (which the majority of people do) and have a horrible tariff that is difficult to leave (aka you are in America. Seriously, European phone operators are so much kinder to us, I feel sorry for American readers) but you want to leave them, you need to change phone.

Jailbreaking your phone allows you to change operator and keep the phone. Handy.

For Traveling

Likewise, If you travel you might want to pick up a cheaper, local sim card rather than keeping your expensive foreign sim with it’s roving charges. If your phone is locked then jailbreaking it will allow you to swap to a cheaper sim.

[Of course, you could purchase an unlocked iPhone or iPad which will allow you to change sim and remove the need to jailbreak the device.]

More customisation

As I eluded to at the start, Jailbreaking your device gives you more options to customise it. These include changing the keyboard, using a different SMS app, widgets on your home screen, and even different control centers. However, Jailbreak customisation goes beyond the mere appearance of the device. You can now use the finger print scanner to protect more features of an iPhone or add a more windows like file storage system.

Naught Naught activities

By naught naught I mean…illegal. Yes one reasons people jailbreak their phones is to instal apps from unofficial sources, usually for free or reduced rates. Or how about downloading Youtube videos as well.

Of course, these are illegal and when you download free apps from illegal sources your placing your trust that the person is doing this out of “good will” (which apparently means screwing developers) and they haven’t added in any Malware to track your data, sell it to advertisers, spam you or just damage your device.

Why not to jailbreak

But all is not happy in the world of Jailbreaking and there are definitely some reasons not to jailbreak.

Security Risks

In addition to the risk of downloading an unofficial third party app with Malware, when you jailbreak a device you remove the restrictions the device has that help prevent Malware. By removing these restrictions, you open up your device to more attacks.

Warranty

Likewise, when you do something (illegal in America) on your device, you void the warranty. You are using it in a way that Apple hasn’t approved or sanctioned and if it is damaged because of this (or in a way that has nothing to do with this) then you won’t get it repaired as you’ve broken the conditions. It’s like using a pair of scissors to cut metal. It might work and be fine but if they then break and someone asks how you were using them, their not going to say that their poor quality as you used it in a way they didn’t agree.

Not the “Apple Experience”

Jailbreak is also not the “Apple Experience”. Sure you might not want it exactly but Apple think about how the user experience should go and focus on giving you the essentials in a pleasing way. When you tamper with it, you may gain some benefits for you (personally) but you are verging away from the apple experience.

A key example is widgets. I thought it might be a feature that I’d miss but in reality the process of swapping between screens on a home screen is not that dissimilar from pulling down a calendar or opening an app.

You Aren’t Technologically Minded

If you aren’t competent with technology (which is one of the great things about Apple products. They are for the technical and not technical a like), and by that I mean if you have a problem with your device and you go to the local apple store or a friend first, then frankly you just shouldn’t do it. Things can go wrong and you have to know your way around a computer.

If you are thinking of Jailbreaking your device then consider the negatives as well as the positives. You don’t want to ruin your device and blame someone online for not giving you a fair warning. Personally, I don’t have a need for jailbreaking my device. Sure I’d love some of the features you can get but overall I’m happy with my device as stock.

Where do you stand? Do you have a jailbroken device? Why/why not?
[Photo Credit: FHKE via Compfight cc]

About Chris Wilson

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