Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:June 6th, 2010 13:21 EST
Jailbreaking Your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch:  What Is JailBreaking & Why JailBreak

Jailbreaking Your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch: What Is JailBreaking & Why JailBreak

By Tim Martin

 
What is Jailbreaking?
First off for those that are not sure what "jailbreaking" is; Jailbreaking is a process that allows iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch users to run unofficial code on their devices bypassing Apple`s official distribution.  This requires you downloading software to your computer, hooking up your device, and following the directions.  Some software is really easy to jailbreak your device with, some is a little harder to use.

Why Jailbreak?

Jailbreaking will unlock your device so you can install 3rd party applications on it that are not available in Apple`s iTunes store using an apps store called Cydia.  Some of the popular applications people install once their phone is jailbroken is:

MxTube - Download and save YouTube video on iPhone
NemusSync - Sync iPhone calendar with Google Calendar
iPhoneModem or PDANet  - Let you use iPhone as modem and give your laptop connection to Internet via iPhone
Mame4iPhone - Play arcade game on iPhone
Voicemail Forwarder - Send voice mail messages to an e-mail destination
Categories - Organize springboard apps into folders (Also will be available in the next iPhone OS)
MiVTones Video ringtones - For that special someone, play the video of your choice along with audio
V-Out - Display any iPhone content on your TV.
MCleaner - Caller ID blacklist screener
Adblock - Blocks ads in Mobile Safari.
FindMyi - Tracks your iPhone location in the background.
iBluetooth - Bluetooth file transfer

You can also customize your iPhone to look different and have different themes.  Here are a few pictures using Winterboard (Screen shots from http://www.simonblog.com)


Is jailbreaking worth it?

If you are interested in some of the apps I listed above, then yes its worth it.  The downside is, Apple will not support a device that has been jailbroken.  Also I have seen where some devices become unstable causing crashes and making/receiving calls issues.  I have also seen where a device has been jailbroken and it worked fine.  The good thing is you can always restore your phone to its previous state using iTunes.  Just make sure to do a back up before attempting to jailbreak your phone!!

Is it illegal to jailbreak your device?

Well technically, no.  But in Apple`s end user agreement, they do state:

"Apple strongly cautions against installing any software that hacks the iPhone OS. It is also important to note that unauthorized modification of the iPhone OS is a violation of the iPhone end-user license agreement and because of this, Apple may deny service for an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch that has installed any unauthorized software."

Apple has a support article talking about modifying your iPhone, it can be found here: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3743 

I wouldn`t recommend jailbreaking your device right now since iPhone OS 4 is about to be released to iPhones and iPod Touches (iPads this fall).  When Apple releases an update, usually the jailbreak will not work.  People who jailbreak usually don`t install updates, but I would recommend installing OS 4 since it is full of new features.  OS 4 may have enough new features for you that you may decide to not jailbreak after all.  

Tim Martin is a Technology Specialist, Follow him on Facebook at facebook.com/tsmartin75 or on Twitter @tsmartin. For more of Tim`s news articles and tech radio show, visit tech-rewind.com Do you have a story that needs told? Let Tim know!



Comment on this story, by emailing Judyth Piazza at comment@thesop.org  or join the SOP friend network with your Google, Yahoo, AOL, MSN or one ID account located on the front page of http://www.thesop.org
Subscribe to theSOP's Technology feed.Subscribe to theSOP's Technology audio podcast.
Subscribe to Tim Martin feed.Subscribe to theSOP's Tim Martin audio podcast.