All of you must be familiar with the term ‘jailbreak’. Those of you who’re wondering if it’s a sequel to the insanely popular TV series Prison Break (no, it’s not!), here’s some quick gyaan for you.
Apple has very strict laws for permitting what can be loaded onto your iOS device. Jailbreaking is the process of removing those restrictions so that you can install anything you want on your device.
To make it absolutely clear, it is NOT illegal to jailbreak your device. However, it does mean that your phone will no longer be covered by the Apple warranty.
What are the benefits of jailbreaking, then? And why do people do it? Here are a few reasons:
- New, Experimental Apps
There are a lot of apps out there that don’t pass Apple’s strict quality tests, not because of any security concerns but because they don’t match Apple’s aesthetic standards.
Jailbreaking gives you access to all such apps. They may have a less-than-perfect UI, but the apps in themselves are extremely useful.
How often have you had Android users throw “customization” in your face? Too many times to count, right? Well, now you have a comeback — jailbreaking!
Opening up your phone brings a level of customization that’s almost as deep as Android’s. You can change icons, app animations, lockscreen notifications, even system fonts! You can also download and install interesting themes!
- Access the iOS File Directory
One of the biggest complaints iPhone users have is that their phone cannot be used as an external storage device. It isn’t possible to plug iPhones into a computer and drag and drop files.
With jailbreaking you can. What a relief it is to be able to bypass that annoying iTunes!
Note: A lot of apps nowadays let you do this. Not as completely as using a thumb-drive, but still, this has been made possible to a large extent.
- Other Tweaks and Shortcuts
With jailbreaking you can also add a lot of “tweaks” to your iPhone. You can change the default toggles in the notification bar, for example. Or you can add gesture shortcuts that can launch apps directly from your lockscreen.
Jailbreaking is especially useful for developers. They can open the existing iOS coding framework and write their own codes to add a treasure trove of cool new features.
Once you jailbreak your phone, it becomes less stable because the new codes are not vetted by Apple. Also, you will start receiving updates later than fellow iPhone users who haven’t jailbroken their phone.
The bigger problem is that jailbreaking can potentially open your phone up to a bunch of malicious internet activities. You are susceptible to malware, viruses, and hackers.
Just half-a-decade ago, jailbreaking was an extremely lucrative prospect. People were willing to give up Apple’s certificate of guarantee just to have more control over their iPhones. Now, with major design changes, along with various permission changes in iOS 8 and 9, Apple seems to be moving towards a more open structure.
As a result, jailbreaking is no longer a more viable option to the stock iOS. At the same time, it is slightly regrettable that iOS is not fully open (like Android) yet.
What you have to ask yourself is whether you’re willing to make the effort and take the risks associated with jailbreaking in exchange for the marginal benefits you get from it.
Your call entirely.