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.
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 here, then yes it’s 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.