Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 was a huge day for iDevice enthusiasts and the entire Apple community because iPhone 6, iPhone 6 plus and the first ever smartwatch from Apple (known as the Apple Watch) was unveiled. All these devices add to the number of iDevices already in the market including the iPads, iPhones and iPods.
While this was going on, the jailbreaking community was also busy trying to find a way to crack the iOS 8 platform upon which these devices run.
What is Jailbreaking?
In its simplest terms, jailbreaking refers to the process of removing or bypassing the restrictions put in place by Apple in its devices which hinder you from accessing other third party apps not available in App Store.
Jailbreaking vs. Phone Unlocking
Unlocking on the other hand, refers to freeing your phone so that you can use it with another carrier different from the original carrier you bought it on. Jailbreaking is legal all through 2015 as per the Digital Millennium Copyright Act while the U.S. Library of Congress ruled that it is illegal to unlock a Smartphone bought after January 26th, 2013.
Among the top jailbreaking firms include the German security researcher i0n1c, the Chinese firm Pangu and Evad3rs. At the moment they are working hard to release a jailbreak update for iOS 8.
Is Jailbreaking Beneficial?
Even though it looks and even sounds like a “crime,” the jailbreaking process is beneficial in a way but can also be risky if not handled well.
A jailbroken device gives you an opportunity to install apps not available in iTunes App Store. Once you jailbreak your iPhone or iPad, you can install the Cydia framework which comes with repositories such as Bigboss, Ispazio, ModMyi and AppCake with truckloads of apps many of which are free.
By circumventing Apple restrictions through a jailbreak, you can use your iDevice as a broadband modem to connect to your PC or laptop, a process known as called tethering without incurring any carrier imposed charges.
If you want to customize the feel and look of your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, jailbreaking is the way to go. Cydia Store comes with lots of themes to tweak your wall paper and icons through customization apps such as Winterboard.
Jailbreaking also gives you access to the iOS root system. This is particularly beneficial as it enables you to install a secure shell (SSH) client which safeguards your data when moving it between two devices within a network. You can connect a jailbroken iPhone to a PC in order to fix corrupt files and install some games not available on iTunes App Store.
Jailbreaking is a double edged sword as it voids any warranty that your iDevice carries in addition to opening up your device to malware. This is because jailbreaking results in a fundamental change in the entire operating system. The risks of jailbreaking in this respect can be huge.
Also, in the event of an iOS system update, all your third party apps will be wiped out meaning another jailbreak process is required to re-install the unauthorized apps.
Should You Jailbreak Your iPhone?
Given the above, it’s best to think twice and measure the risks before jailbreaking your iDevice. If you think that you will need the warranty for your iPhone or other iDevice in the future, it may be best to leave it alone. If you find that re-installing apps is a hassle, that might also be a warning sign that jailbreaking is not for you.