Should You Jailbreak Your iDevice?

Should You Jailbreak Your iDevice?

Range Govindan
Mar 23, 2011

Jailbreaking: the term itself reminds us of the show Prison Break and escaped convicts for obvious reasons. Jailbreaking, the process that allows iOS users to run any code on their devices, as opposed to only that code authorized by Apple out of the box, is an option for all iDevices, including iPod Touches, iPhones, iPads and even Apple TV. But should you do it? Jailbreaking will allow you to unlock all of those goodies that Apple doesn't want you to have access to, but there are some caveats. Here are some pros and cons that come with making a prison break....

First off, there is a difference between SIM unlocking your device and jailbreaking it. SIM unlocking or buying a SIM-unlocked iPhone from Canada or the UK allows you to pick and choose which carrier you want to use. This allows you to no longer rely upon the carriers that sell the iPhone.

Jailbreaking an iOS device allows you to run system modifications and programs that haven't been sanctioned by Apple and their App Store process. The process of jailbreaking liberates your iDevice, allowing for a wider range of customaization options that otherwise wouldn't be at your disposal, in essence, operating much like a PC. But don't worry, it's a process that can be undone and is legal, so you won't actually land in jail for jailbreaking an iPhone. But Apple states that the warranty of the device in question is voided when you jailbreak it and frowns on the practice.

The process is relatively safe and it works on all iDevices, from iPod Touches to iPads, including Apple TVs. With a Jailbroken device, you can still use iTunes and the App Store. It's akin to rooting an Android phone. The tool to get this done is called Spirit, and it's available here.

Pros
1. Ability to install unsanctioned programs, without restrictions
2. Customize your iDevice, empower it to do much more than Apple allowed you to do
3. Jailbreaking can be undone to revert your iDevice to iOS if you change your mind
4. Multitasking, tethering are all withing reach

Cons
1. Possibility of 'bricking' your device, meaning that you can actually break it and it needs to be replaced at your cost since the process isn't covered by Apple's warranty
2. Jailbroken iDevices aren't covered by Apple's warranty
3. Could be a complicated process for people unfamiliar with computers and some programming

(Images: Flickr member Azrobbo licensed for use under Creative Commons, Flickr member Patrick H. Lauke licensed for use under Creative Commons, Flickr member Lars Plougmann licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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