Jailbreaking Your iPhone: To Do Or Not To Do?

By | February 7, 2017
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ios jailbreak pros and cons

 

There is a lot of buzz about TeamPangu working on a stable Pangu10 jailbreak tool for devices upgraded to iOS 10.2.1. The Yalu jailbreak tool – launched by Luca Todesco – is also currently available for download. While the announcements of these tools have met with a fair share of eagerness among iPhone/iPad users – the general level of interest in jailbreaking iDevices seems to be on the wane (a #win for Apple). A survey found that the overall percentage of jailbroken Apple devices had fallen to less than 10%, and was sliding further down each quarter. The reason for this is two-fold: firstly, Apple has been ‘opening up’ its mobile platform (not to the extent of Android though), helping people to customize their phones without necessarily going for jailbreak. The lack of proper information and myths about jailbreaking also play an important role. In today’s discourse, we will take a tour through 6 points why you should jailbreak your iPhone and 6 points why you should not:

  • Jailbreak ‘YAY’ #1 – It’s legal

    Unlike ‘iPhone unlocking’ (the act of breaching phone contract to bring in multi-network availability), jailbreaking an iPhone does not come with any probable legal repercussions. Doing a jailbreak is all about getting more access to the phone software, and making more customization options available. If you do a jailbreak and start downloading apps from third-party sources (i.e. other than the App Store), you are not going to be charged or fined!

  • Jailbreak ‘NAY’ #1 – License and guarantee nullified

    There might not be any legal connotations of jailbreaking your iDevice, but Apple sure does not like you trying to make tweaks to its native platform. Keep in mind that all End User License Agreements, along with guarantees, are rendered null and void when you jailbreak an iPhone. It won’t be serviceable at Apple Stores in future (unless restored to original state) either. There might be certain security-related issues as well, and not all jailbreak tools are equally trustworthy. Think about your jailbreaking requirements carefully, and then take a call.

  • Jailbreak ‘YAY’ #2 – Wider tethering opportunities

    A jailbroken iPhone can be easily paired (tethered) to a wide range of compatible devices – phones, tablets and computer systems. This, in turn, can pull up the overall utility of your iDevice significantly – particularly when it is free of the ‘mobile hotspot restrictions’ placed by the network. Generally, the tethering done after doing a jailbreak is secure enough.

  • Jailbreak ‘NAY’ #2 – Risk of shady apps:

    With all due respect to the merits of jailbreaking, the process is akin to opening the security gates of Apple – leaving the platform susceptible to bad applications. Mobile app developers have cited many cases where installing a malicious piece of software has resulted in iPhones getting ‘bricked’. The problem is compounded by the fact that, such harmful apps can be uploaded by any hacker – and there are chances of some of them not being found and reported soon enough. After jailbreaking, you have to watch what you download on your phone. At every step.

  • Jailbreak ‘YAY’ #3 – Excellent customization

    From graphics and text, to skins, background images and of course more apps – there are loads of ‘new features’ to be enjoyed in a safely jailbroken iPhone. The stock look of iOS is impressive enough and has several options, but in a ‘rooted’ device, the alternatives are much wider. You can give the whole display and layout of your handset a makeover from time to time. Certain native iPhone apps (which you hardly use) can be removed too. Why stick with a ‘good but boring’ display?

  • Jailbreak ‘NAY’ #3 – Jailbreak after every update

    Jailbreaking your iPhone is not a one-shot game. After every iOS update Apple releases, users have to re-jailbreak their phones (provided that they have installed the update). The task is not as simple as it sounds – since updated jailbreaks do not become available immediately (as was the case with iOS 10, the waiting period can roll into several weeks). If you are going for a semi-tethered jailbreaking option, you will have to do the jailbreak each time you restart your phone.

  • Jailbreak ‘YAY’ #4 – Greater functionality

    If you know your way about handling a jailbroken phone, you can certainly make it more useful (and even secure) than before. There are interesting little ‘tweaks’ available, to free up storage space, change things in the control panel, add information to the lock screen and provide handy gesture shortcuts. Reliable third-party firewalls and proxies can be installed as well.

  • Jailbreak ‘NAY’ #4 – Potentially damaging for developers

    If you want iPhone app developers to do the hard work and come up with engaging new applications on a regular basis – you will probably think twice before jailbreaking. When you venture beyond the ‘walled garden’ of Apple, and there are hundreds of ‘pirated apps’ that become available for download at external app stores. The developers do not get any revenue whatsoever from such pirated resources – and widespread piracy discourages them from continuing to make high-quality apps. In a nutshell, piracy results in considerable financial loss for developers.

  • Jailbreak ‘YAY’ #5 – The gaming factor

    There is a fairly large number of emulator ROMs available – and you can download them on your iPhone only after the latter has been jailbroken. These emulator applications – when of the desired quality – can transform your device to a full-blown PlayStation 4 or Nintendo console, enabling you to check out the latest games (before custom versions are released in App Store). Do remember that installing and using the third-party emulator ROMs are likely to result in violation of copyright clauses.

  • Jailbreak ‘NAY’ #5 – Uncertainty about performance

    Theoretically, jailbreaking can improve the performance of an iDevice, but there is no way of ensuring from beforehand that things will go as planned. Even if you are extremely careful while doing the jailbreak, it might well happen that certain apps and widgets become non-functional in the ‘tweaked iPhone’. What’s more – there have been reports of users experiencing lower battery performances, increased frequency of screen freezes, crashes and lags, and a greater overall instability, following an iOS jailbreak. On average, 90%-95% users are happy with the ‘out of the box’ features that Apple provides, and there are valid reasons for that.

  • Jailbreak ‘YAY’ #6 – Thinking beyond Mail and Safari

    Jailbreak tools help you move beyond the default Apple apps installed on your handset. For example, you can specify web pages to open on Firefox, instead of the Safari browser. The Sparrow email client can be used as a substitute of the native Mail app. In fact, these third-party tools can be set as the default in a jailbroken phone, bypassing the native apps altogether. A properly done jailbreak allows you to interact with your iPhone in a more personalized manner.

  • Jailbreak ‘NAY’ #6 – Loss of data, maybe?

    In 2015, more than 225000 Apple accounts were hacked into by the KeyRaider malware. According to mobile security and app development experts around the globe, jailbreaking an iPhone exposes the device to similar such attacks and security threats. Even if you don’t chance upon a malware, there can be bad applications that affect the speed of your device, hog a lot of memory and bandwidth – and as a result, have to be uninstalled soon enough. Jailbreaking is risky, there are no two ways about it.

To sum up our discussion, there are plenty of apparent advantages when you jailbreak your iPhone. The restrictions and safety-nets put on by Apple disappear, and you can install any type of apps, from any source (while ensuring that they are reliable, of course), change the look and feel of the device, and even enhance its functionality. However, you will also be bidding adieu to the phone warranties, and will be making the handset open to security-related issues. The final decision is yours to take – and you need to consider both the pros and the cons of iPhone jailbreak closely, before taking a stand.

 

 

(Note: Please note that, at Teksmobile, we do not recommend jailbreaking in any way. No one in our team has a jailbroken iDevice. This article only tries to help you decide whether it will be worth jailbreaking your device).

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
Hussain Fakhruddin
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