If you have an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, you own an Apple device running the iOS mobile operating system. iOS, formerly known as iPhone OS, allows you to run apps from the Apple App Store as well as access the functions of the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, such as WiFi, the Camera and the music player. For the typical user, the features offered by the iOS operating system are more than enough. But for advanced users and compulsive tinkerers, you can get more out of your iOS device through jailbreaking. This article will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about jaiblreaking.
What is jailbreaking?
Jailbreaking is a term that refers to any method that allows you to install unauthorized, third-party software onto your iPhone (or other iOS device), and/or access parts of the file structure that are not typically available to end users. Prior to jailbreaking, iOS users are only able to run apps that come pre-loaded on the device or are downloaded from the Apple App Store. The primary objective of jailbreaking your iOS device is to add a third-party loader or installer that lets you install apps from sources other than the App Store. The vast majority of apps for jailbroken iOS devices come from the Cydia store, which is sort of like an alternate App Store, exlcusive to jailbreakers.
Is jailbreaking illegal?
Jailbreaking is not illegal. The phone or tablet belongs to you, and you have every right to use the device as you please. However, if you alter your phone in such a way that allows you to steal service, content or use software without a license, this may fall into the realm of illegality. Furthermore, jailbreaking your iOS device will void your warranty. Luckily, most jailbreak methods are 100% reversible—if you cause your device to malfunction, you can simply restore it to the factory settings.
Will jailbreaking allow me to get apps for free?
No. Jailbroken phones are able to load third-party apps that aren’t available on the official App Store. Some of these are free, while others are available for purchase. Jailbreaking your phone or iPad or iPod Touch does not alter your access or privileges on the App Store or alter the functionality of official apps—it merely adds more choices.
Can Apple/Verizon/AT&T tell if I jailbroke my phone?
Probably. But they don’t appear to be actively monitoring for jailbroken devices, nor have they been known to “punish” anyone for jailbreaking a device. Note, that if you bring it in for technical support, the technician is likely to restore your device, thereby undoing your jailbroken status.
Can I tether or use my phone as a hotspot with a jailbroken phone?
There are apps available through Cydia that allow you to use your phone as a mobile hotspot or share your connection with another device without paying the monthly fee that the phone companies typically charge for this service. Note, however, that phone companies are cracking down on this behavior, and may add the fee to your bill if they detect that you have been tethering.
Why shouldn’t I jailbreak my phone?
Jailbreaking your phone may make it less stable, since you’ll be adding third-party software that hasn’t been approved and tested by Apple or a registered Apple software developer. But more of an issue is the fact that each time Apple releases an update to the iOS software, it effectively overrides any jailbreaking you’ve done.
How do I jailbreak my iOS device?
There are numerous methods for jailbreaking your iOS device, and it all depends on your current version of the iOS software. The iPhone Dev Team is usually the first to crack the new iOS versions (http://blog.iphone-dev.org/) and http://www.redmondpie.com often has good leads on jailbreaking info.