For the vast majority of people, their iPhones are fantastic the way they are right now. It’s easy to use, has thousands of apps available and more.
But there is a small group of people who aren’t happy about it. They talk about the limitations that the iPhone has or how Apple has limited us by forcing us to use specific apps. And for many of those people, they wish there was some kind of alternative.
After all, on desktops, there are many apps that can replace Apple’s Mail and Safari platforms. So why not smartphones?
Well there is. It’s call jailbreaking. But before you get too excited about the prospect, you have to recognize this process is risky. So if you are in the camp that does want to jailbreak your phone, here are some considerations.
What Is Jailbreaking?
For the record, every smartphone has the potential to be jailbroken. The only difference is how as well as the term being used. For example Windows “jailbreaking” is called developer unlocking. Jailbreaking is the more common term since iPhones are in the pockets of many people. In the US alone, there are 100 million iPhone users, covering 45 smartphone users in the US.
But getting into what it is, it’s the act of changing the software you have and removing restrictions and limitations that Apple has on the device. The biggest limitation is that Apple only allows apps from it’s own App Store to be downloaded. So by jailbreaking your phone, you could get access to other apps.
Do note that this is different from unlocking a phone. Whenever you buy a phone from a company, that phone will have a SIM card connected to that company’s network. iPhone unlocking is the act of having it work on any network. Because of this, when you do this, this is a breach of the mobile phone contract you signed.
So Why Avoid Doing This?
Whether you’re frustrated with Apple or you want to be getting more access to better apps, there are some reasons to pause and consider before jailbreaking your iPhone.
Jailbreaking Is Frowned Upon
While jailbreaking a phone is completely legal, you’re getting into grey areas when you go ahead with it. At the time of writing this, it is legal to jailbreak your phone – though not an iPad – in the US. There’s also no rulings for UK citizens to get sent to jail for jailbreaking phones either.
That being said, many other people would think differently about this situation. After all this isn’t something that most Apple users are happy about. That can’t be said about Window’s phone users who have a slider in the default settings to switch to developer mode – the phones version of jailbreaking – in Window’s 10 phones and above.
Looked Down By Apple & It’s Staff
Expanding on what I said above, you’ll find a lot of Apple staff to be less accommodating after you jailbreak your phone. For one, jailbreaking your phone will invalidate your iPhone’s warranty. As a result, the employees are going to be unlikely to help you or show any sympathy.
It’s also made pretty clear that Apple doesn’t want people to jailbreak their phones. You can see that whenever they send out updates. While the average user won’t think twice about updating their phones when a patch comes out, jailbroken phone users will have to think twice.
Because whenever a jailbroken phone is updated, the update will bring it back to it’s locked state. So if you are to update your phone, you’d need to wait for another updated jailbreak to emerge. This could take weeks or months.
Opening To Malware & Crashes
For the average user, you rarely have to get Apple support. As a result, it might be easy to think if you jailbreak your phone your phone is going to be better and you’re still not going to need help.
It really makes the previous point kind of a moot point right? Not quite.
When you jailbreak your phone, you do lose some key things. First off, you lose a lot of Apple’s security and oversight on apps. And while you do get access to a lot of exciting apps, a lot of those apps are also dangerous.
As a result, getting those apps can do all kinds of things to your phone. From crashing apps to crashing your phone and getting malware. You’re iPhone has more or less transformed into an Android phone by this point where there’s a lot of potential, but a lot of risk.
As a result, if you’re not careful and you run into a problem with your phone, there is good odds that you’re going to be stuck. Unless you know your way around repairing a phone.
More Glitches & Shorter Battery Life
Another consideration to avoid jailbreaking is your phone performance won’t be as good. I already mentioned crashes in apps and on the phone itself. But also certain apps won’t work as intended or cease to function entirely.
Another aspect is that your battery life will be shorter too. This is worse these days since a lot of battery life on our phones are short as is.
The Costs Outweigh The Benefits
I’ve talked about some of the benefits of jailbreaking your phone but there are some others:
- There is a sense of being independence. This is your phone and you can do what you want with it.
- The alternatives to default apps in iOS have more functionality.
- Can customize your phone’s look more.
- Ability to tether your Mac to your iPhone to bypass networks’ Mobile Hotspot feature. A feature that can be restrictive and/or expensive.
Overall, you’re removing a lot of the limitations and are opening yourself up to plenty of security threats and crashes. That and you’ll also be removing yourself from official technical support whenever you need it.
All of these things sound like a tinkerers dream come true, but to the average person, I see the costs outweighing the benefits. At the cost of less security and more errors that require technical assistance – unless you have tech skills yourself – you’ll get more customizable options, and more apps that might or might not ruin your phone.
There Are Limitations But They Work As Is
The other thing to keep in mind is that while the iPhone does have limitations, it’s important to remember that the iPhone works smoothly the way it is now. The system that Apple has established has:
- Pushed app-developers to create strong apps that don’t crash frequently and that have been tested.
- Protected users from plenty of attacks compared to those who have jailbroken their phones. A solid example is the KeyRaider attack in 2015 which hit 225,000 jailbreakers.
- And continue to release phones with more functions, while maintaining the same level of quality.
While there are some drawbacks to Apple, there is a lot of good that Apple has done that one must consider. And it’s hard to disagree that what they have produced thus far is still solid, and secure.
To Jailbreak Or Not? That Is The Question
With more breaches occurring in the world, I feel that jailbreaking isn’t the smartest option for many people. You’re placing yourself at higher personal risk all so you can get access to apps before they come into the App Store or objectively better apps, and more customization.
For the average person it’s difficult to say yes to this, as not only do you need to learn how to repair your phone yourself, but you’ll have to be ever-vigilant of attacks and threats. This is why doing this is risky and for many not worth it at all.