How to get the most out of your Apple device.
Jailbreaking is a cutesy term to describe hacking your Apple device. When you jailbreak your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch, you can run programs on the device that the powers that be in Apple wouldn’t normally let you run. In a nutshell, jailbreaking your iPhone gives you far more control over what you can do with your phone, the kinds of software you can run, and how the device works.
Pros and cons
The advantages of jailbreaking your iPhone include having complete control over the device’s user interface, and gaining access to thousands of third-party apps (not to mention sticking it to the man). There are disadvantages, however. Jailbroken iPhones are less secure than non-jailbroken iPhones: security breaches led to phones in Australia being infected with a worm that replaced their wallpaper with a picture of Rick Astley. The software used on jailbroken iPhone can also be more unstable than Apple’s iOS, which could cause your phone to crash or slow down its processing time.
You should jailbreak if…
You’re tired of Apple’s restrictions on developers and users and want to let your iPhone roam free, fulfill its potential and be the device it was meant to be. Also, if you’re in Australia and quite like Rick Astley.
You shouldn’t jailbreak if…
You value your warranty. Contrary to popular belief, jailbreaking is legal (in the iOS sense, anyway), however for understandable reasons the folks at Apple don’t like it. You won’t be covered by Apple’s warranty if something goes wrong with your device’s hardware or software. If the issue is a software bug, you can restore your device using iTunes and Apple will never know. If something has gone woefully awry, however, and you’ve bricked your device, you will have to shell out hundreds of dollars for a new one.
How to jailbreak
If you’ve decided to free your iPhone from the shackles of Apple’s boring restrictions, here’s a step-by-step guide:
- Connect your device to your computer and open up iTunes.
- Back up all data on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. This is important incase anything goes wrong during the jailbreak process or you want to restore your device back to the iOS later.
- Choose a jailbreak tool. Popular tools include Redsn0w, Absinthe and Spirit.
- Follow the tool’s instructions to complete the jailbreak process. Don’t touch your device or your computer during the process to avoid interrupting the service or provoking any crashes.
- When your device has restarted, you will see an app called Cydia or Installer added to your homepage. This is the app store for jailbroken devices, so take a look around and enjoy.
Now that you’ve jailbroken your device, you can start downloading apps and gain full control over your iPhone. To jazz up your iPhone’s appearance, try installing Winterboard to get your hands on different themes, change your iPhone’s font, and alter text colors. Activator allows you to create button shortcuts for certain apps – such as using the volume down button to open your mail. iBlacklist provides a welcome solution to sales calls and persistant exes by enabling you to block certain callers or anyone using a withheld number. On a geekier level, apps like openSSH allow you to transfer files from your computer to your device using an SSH server.
As discussed, if you decide to return to the comfortable familiarity of Apple’s iOS, or need to correct major software crashes, you can restore your device to its former state by performing a restore. This will delete all data on your device, so make sure you back up everything first. Once complete, however, it will be as though your jailbreaking experience never happened.