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If one of my IT consultancy clients were to ask me whether they should attempt to jailbreak their iPhone (or other ...
If one of my IT consultancy clients were to ask me whether they should attempt to jailbreak their iPhone (or other iDevice), my answer would be a resounding “no!” The fact that you’re reading this article, however, suggests that you are at least considering it, so let me explain the process.
What IS Jailbreaking?
Jailbreaking an iPhone involves cracking though Apple’s (rather strong) built-in security and bypassing Apple’s media and app ecosystem. It’s something of a “dark art,” and usually the preserve of technical enthusiasts, especially those who wish to use unofficial apps or customise their devices beyond the restrictions that Apple puts in place.
How is it done?
Jailbreaking usually involves connecting your iPhone to a computer and using some kind of specialist software to break through the device’s built-in security.
The jailbreaking solution of choice at the time of writing seems to be evasi0n 7, which is available for both Mac and PC. You are advised to back up your iPhone first, then update your device using the software.
Once the process is complete, which involves several reboots of your phone, you should have access to Cydia, an unofficial app that provides access to a wealth of unendorsed tools and apps to use on your jailbroken device.
As I stated in the introduction, I’m not personally in favour of jailbreaking Apple devices. It’s not something I would do myself; I paid a lot of money for my iPhone, and am quite happy paying for my apps and media through Apple’s official stores.
Jailbreaking might appeal to you, however, if:
You wish to customise your phone more than Apple allow
You wish to sync and access media files that you wouldn’t be able to using Apple’s standard tools. For many, this means illegitimate or pirated media (something neither Apple nor eProfits advocates!)
You have an old Apple device and wish to play around with functionality that Apple doesn’t allow you to access.
Jailbreaking an iPhone isn’t without its risks, which is why it’s something best left to the enthusiasts. If you count yourself within this demographic, then by all means give it a try, but do consider the following:
A future Apple update could disable your phone; Apple does all it can to make life difficult for “jailbreakers.”
If the process goes wrong, you could end up with a “bricked” iPhone. If this happens, don’t expect the people in the Apple Store to help you repair the damage.
Jailbreaking means turning your back on the Apple way of doing things. You should be very sure you want to do this, and that you don’t intend to go back on your decision!
Jailbreaking is sometimes something that criminals try to do to re-enable devices that have been disabled following theft. If you’re offered a jailbroken iPhone second hand, there’s a chance it’s stolen.
Techies have always loved to harness the full power of their devices, and jailbreaking iPhones is a way of doing it. But it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. If you’re really determined to do it, consider trying out the process on an old iPod Touch rather than your brand new iPhone 5S!