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Jailbreaking the iPhone

1 rating: 4.0
A process that allows iPhone and iPod Touch users to run any code on their devices, as opposed to only that code authorised by Apple.

Jailbreaking is a process that allows iPhone and iPod Touch users to run any code on their devices, as opposed to only that code authorised by Apple. Once jailbroken, iPhone users are able to download many applications previously unavailable through … see full wiki

Tags: Iphone, Iphone Jailbreak, Jailbreak Apps, Jailbreak, Jailbreaking The Iphone
1 review about Jailbreaking the iPhone

Jailbreaking the iPhone

  • Feb 11, 2010
  • by
Rating:
+4
 Jailbreak - How Is It Done?
If you've been an iPhone user for a while, you may well have heard the term 'jailbreak' or 'jailbreaking'.  What it means is opening up the iPhone to a greater level of file system access than Apple currently permits on a 'stock' (out of the box) iPhone.  This allows you to install applications that extend the capabilities of the iPhone - apps that are not currently allowed past Apple's restrictions in the App Store. 
 
A jailbreak is generally done by using one of various (free to download) applications that are designed to make the process quick and easy.  In the 'old school' days of iPhone firmwares 1.x some of the processes involved in jailbreak could get a little tricky (especially for not very tech-savvy users) - but by now most are extremely simple and painless to use, and the process itself can often take under a minute to complete. 
 
The jailbreak process can vary quite a lot between different iPhone models and firmware (the iPhone operating system) versions.  If you are considering a jailbreak, you'll need to do a little research and remember to look for info specific to your model (3GS, 3G, 2G) and your firmware version.  If you're unsure what firmware version you have go to Settings > General > About - and look at the 'Version' entry.  That's your firmware or OS level - mine is currently 3.1.2.
 
Two of the leading current jailbreaks (as at February 2010) are blackra1n and the Dev Team.   For advice and step-by-step tutorials look to iPhone forum sites and blogs for help. 


 
What Are the Risks of Jailbreak?
Number 1, Apple says you void your warranty by jailbreaking.   Apple has to be able to identify that your iPhone is in fact jailbroken in order for this to have any impact - and most jailbreakers are able to run a normal Restore operation on their iPhone prior to taking it to an Apple store (or sending it off to Apple) for repair.  I've not heard of a single case of a restored iPhone being picked out as jailbroken and turned away though.
 
The fact that jailbreak allows for access to system level areas of the iPhone file system, inherently opens up a greater possibility of something going astray on the iPhone, from small stability issues to potentially serious issues.   The deeper level of access to the file system also potentially makes the iPhone more vulnerable from a security standpoint - viruses and malware can potentially do more harm than on a stock iPhone.
 
My Experience
I've been jailbreaking my iPhone (all three generations) since back in the 1.x days.  I have never ended up with a 'bricked' (unusable / unrecoverable) iPhone, have never hit an issue that wasn't at the very worst fixable via a quick Restore of the iPhone through iTunes. 
 
I have occasionally had  some crashes or general instability caused by jailbreak (or individual jailbreak apps) - but then again, I can say the same about periods during which I ran the iPhone un-jailbroken - as in, even running ti stock I have experienced some instability and crashed when Apple hasn't got all their firmware ducks in a row (anyone recall how buggy OS 2.0 was at launch of it?).
 
The vast majority of the time my jailbroken iPhones have run beautifully.  The iPhone 3GS in particular does not miss a beat while jailbroken.  It is just as fast, every bit as stable, and gets to really stretch its legs and show its real capabilities when jailbroken.  Just as one example of what I mean by that, it handles multitasking like a champion, never breaks a sweat. 
My experience is far from unique by the way.  I know lots of iPhone jailbreak veterans at iPhone forum sites who have very similar histories to mine with jailbreak. 
 
It helps to be a little tech-savvy of course if you want to jailbreak, but I also know many 'novice' level users who are very happy jailbreakers. 

Here's a list I put together of some of the top reasons that jailbreaking is worthwhile:

lunch.com/t/w59
 
I'd love to hear what other 'Lunchers' think of jailbreak and what your experiences are.

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February 11, 2010
Thanks for demystifying this process for me! As I told you before, I've been on the fence about doing this since I'm a bit of a wuss :P Mainly, I just want certain pages to look prettier, and I would like to be able to switch out the SIM card when I travel. I can forgo the latter, but do you know if I can switch out the SIM card without having to jailbreak my phone? Is there a way to just unlock it? I guess I should be asking these questions to my Apple guy :P Thanks for sharing this great review, Patrick!
February 11, 2010
You can definitely make all your pages look prettier, or uglier, or anywhere in between :) On the SIM card issue, I'm really not very knowledgeable. There are software 'unlocks' for the iPhone (unlock meaning let it be used on an unauthorized carrier) but I've never used them. I do know one thing - just about all the paid-for unlock / jailbreak offers you see online are scams. Look to the Dev Team and other free, community driven unlock solutions.
February 16, 2010
I only wanna make my pages look prettier! ;P I saw one of my tweeps post up a screenshot of her pink calender and I was pretty jealous, so I asked her how she did it. That's how I discovered jailbreaking and Cydia.  And thanks for your advice on unlocking my iPhone.  I'm going to need that when I travel overseas so that I don't have to roam!
February 16, 2010
Hmmm - sounds like jailbreak and unlock might be more than you need. Have you considered just using a cheap / pay-as-you-go phone on your travels? And just use the iPhone where there is WiFi / not as a phone?
February 16, 2010
nope jailbreak/unlock is all you need. once thats done you can buy any sim card from wherever you are and pop it in. it will work.
 
February 11, 2010
I haven't had the guts to jailbreak mine yet, but I really would like iPhone tethering so your review may have given me enough courage to try it. I am going to look into it further.
February 11, 2010
Good stuff. It really isn't as scary as people think. Good luck and let me know if you need any help.
 
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