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December 20, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Jailbreaking the iPhone – Worth It Or a Waste of Time?

You have probably been hearing the term “jailbreaking” a lot lately. No, it doesn’t mean busting out of jail and going on the run. It is a technical term applied to network-connected devices, and you can jailbreak anything from a Playstation to an Android.

However, the real debate has come from the jailbreaking of the iPhone, and with the amount of misinformation in the media, many people are wondering whether or not it is worth it.

What Is Jailbreaking?

Jailbreaking an iPhone is the process of selecting some kind of application that will allow you to use unauthorized apps (like games) not bought in the iTunes store.

These could have been made for the Android, or perhaps just created by a third party for Apple products. There are thousands of these on the Internet that are perfectly safe, functional and great to have.

Is Jailbreaking Legal?

Jailbreak

There was a rather epic legal battle from Apple’s side, trying to stop the creation and distribution of all applications that allow third-party software to be installed. But they lost that war and it has officially been announced that jailbreaking is perfectly legal for anyone who has bought a device.

What Applications Allow You to Jailbreak?

There are quite a few. Probably the most popular (and controversial because of the Apple legal battle) is  Jailbreak Me. They manage to keep up with updates to their own software with each new patch release from Apple, so they remain the top option for those looking to jailbreak their phones.

What Are the Cons of Jailbreaking?

Jailbreak

Despite being legal, there are some cons to jailbreaking your iPhone. The biggest one is security. Third-party apps are not always held to the highest safety standards. Therefore, things that you didn’t intend to download might have been attached, the app could be mislabeled, or it could potentially harm your computer, either thrown malware or just bad coding.

Another potential issue is the quality of the application. The App Store has a lot of stupid programs, some barely workable and many pointless. But there is a rating system from both Apple and users that lets you know when something might be of poor quality and not worth downloading. When it comes to third-party apps, you won’t always have that. Which makes it a grab bag.

What Are the Pros of Jailbreaking?

Despite these potential issues, there are also some positives in jailbreaking. For one thing, yo have a much greater collection of applications, many of which are not offered in The App Store. You can also use apps that are specifically created for other platforms, such as Android software. Since Android has a number of applications that are not available in an Apple version, this can be a great plus.

There is also the issue of cost. You can get cheaper (or free) apps that are similar to those being sold by Apple. They can be good alternatives, even if they are not exactly the same.  Many of them will probably be created by small time developers, which is a nice way of supporting non-commercial interests.

Worth It?

In the end, only you know whether it is worth it to jailbreak your iphone. However, there are pros and cons that balance out, so if you are careful with what you select, there is no specific reason why you shouldn’t get what you like. As long as you are willing to take the risk.

Cc licensed flickr photo by James Provost, arugatse, raymaclean

7 Comments

  1. ipod maniac says:

    it is definately worth it

  2. It’s not worth it.

  3. It’s totally worth it.

  4. Not worth it

  5. Kate, you’re making good points. I think the risks are too high. All the mobile operating systems that actually allowed for the type of access that jailbreaking offers ten to die after relatively short period of time. Android might be an exception, but Windows Mobile 5/6, or Nokia’s OS suffered from access that was too forgiving to users.

    I think I would consider getting a different device altogether before I resorted to jailbreaking.

  6. Dominik wrote a post with more details about this topic our readers may wish to see: Do You Prefer an iPhone or an iBrick? Jailbreaking Censorship.

  7. plz tell me is it work for iphone 3gs.i recently downloaded redsnow and iphone firmware plz confirm mr….

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