People have different motivations to jailbreak their iPhones. At its core lies the rationale that if you can, you should gain freedom from Apple restrictions. To clarify, jailbreaking is to iPhone what rooting is to Android devices. Simply put, it allows you to become an administrator of your iPhone, removing the shackles of the official iOS operating system. But if it’s so good, why isn’t everyone doing it? The problem isn’t with learning how to jailbreak the iPhone. It’s the risks and malfunctions in the daily use afterward, and we will cover them in-depth in a separate article.
Jailbreaking your iPhone will void the warranty. It is not recommended to do so if you still have a warranty period remaining.
Why do People Jailbreak iPhones?
People have been jailbreaking Apple products for a while. We discussed it in our article on “why jailbreak Apple TV“. For now, let’s answer the question, “why to jailbreak iPhone?“ Here are 9 things in favor of jailbreaking:
1. So you can install unauthorized iOS apps
The first pro of jailbreaking iPhone is to install third-party iOS apps that aren’t on the Apple Store. Some of those are indie video games or apps in testing. Others are alternatives to well-known apps that are superior, whether by adding new features or removing in-app restrictions. Those aren’t necessarily unsafe or buggy, even.
Apple is notorious for rejecting and removing approved apps that don’t meet its standards. Oftentimes, iOS app developers think that Apple takes too high a cut of profits for selling their app. Instead, they offer apps for direct download through their own website. Not all of them are paid, of course. You can use the unofficial iOS app repositories to get free apps for jailbroken iPhones. Check Cydia AppStore for that.
2. To remove default iPhone apps
Removing third-party apps is quick and easy. But what if Apple’s default apps are the ones bothering you? They’re obviously protected from being erased. This ability, combined with the one above allows you to modify the iPhone software to your needs perfectly. A great example of this is removing Apple Watch-related apps, Game Center, Maps, Weather, etc.
3. So you can make your GUI prettier
Many deem default iOS look beautiful and sleek. We used to agree once upon a time, but jailbreaking opened your eyes to new horizons. Being in complete control allows you to change various graphic elements, including icons, wallpaper behavior, elements, fonts, menu items, color patterns, sounds, videos, and images. You don’t have to stop at once – you can a vastly different UI look every day!
4. To add bonus features and tweaks
As you know, the iPad started using its own operating system, and some things look, feel, and work better on it. After a jailbreak, you can apply tweaks extracted from the iPad’s operating system to your iPhone. A great example of this is the Safari browser, multitasking interfaces (side-by-side app view), improved Dock, all of which are superior on the iPad. You can even install apps that originally only work on the iPad. Those who own an Android phone can configure Siri to give them directions using Google Maps instead of Apple’s own Maps. Other tweaks allow you to add incredible functionality such as transferring files from iOS to Android directly.
5. To browse system files
You can use iCloud and built-in file managers to browse and manipulate your storage. But you don’t even realize how many files are missing until you jailbreak the iPhone and install a full file browser such as Filza. This gives you complete root access to hidden system files. One example is adding certain files to enable support for third-party gadgets.
6. So you can use third-party data recovery software
This ties in nicely with the reason above. Apple only allows apps to access a portion of your storage to prevent malware infection or malicious tinkering. But if you suffered a data loss and have no backup prepared, you’d only be able to scratch the surface and barely recover a thing. Jailbreaking removes those limits and unlocks deep scanning of your iPhone storage.
7. To improve security
With the popularity of Virtual Private Networks and data breaches, people have gotten more paranoid. Here are the two obvious ways jailbreaking helps iPhone security:
First, think of the built-in GPS chip. Yes, it’s there to provide correct maps, locate your phone if it gets stolen, or give you weather reports. But it also shows your precise location to anyone – and not everyone has friendly intentions. Jailbreaking allows you to install unofficial apps such as Relocate Reborn or Location Faker. It’s useful in games such as Pokemon Go, and vital in protecting your identity and location a secret.
Bonus anti-theft measures
Find My iPhone is good enough to deter most thieves. However, those that are experienced know of its loopholes. Many jailbroken app alternatives for Find My iPhone add new countermeasures and tricks thieves don’t know about. A great example of this is an app called iCaughtU.
8. To unlock your SIM card
Mobile network carriers across the globe fight for market share dominance and their users suffer as a result. Without jailbreaking, you’d have to go through a lengthy (and often impossible) process of requesting your SIM card be unlocked. And all so you can use the SIM card internationally or insert it into iPhones sold by other carriers. Oftentimes, you can’t use another carrier’s SIM card in an iPhone sold by your carrier. Jailbreaking can also remove carrier network limitations too. This only applies when the software limits you from using GSM, LTE, or CDMA, and not your iPhone hardware.
9. In development. Double-booting Android
This won’t interest everyone, of course. Still, being able to choose between iOS and Android at bootup, similar to switching between Windows and Mac on one computer, is a powerful benefit of jailbreaking. Many developers are working on this (check Project Sandcastle), and one day, Android might fully utilize iPhone hardware.
Risks and Precautions in Jailbreaking Your iPhone
Jailbreaking an iPhone presents a wealth of benefits, as outlined in the points above. But it’s crucial to understand that it also comes with risks and potential pitfalls. This additional section intends to inform you about the precautions and steps you should take if you decide to jailbreak your iPhone.
Potential security risks
While jailbreaking an iPhone can improve security, it also makes your device vulnerable to potential security threats. By nature, jailbreaking involves circumventing Apple’s security mechanisms, potentially opening your device to malware and hacking threats. While the default iOS environment is incredibly secure, jailbreaking may expose your phone to risks you wouldn’t otherwise face.
It’s always essential to stay vigilant about what apps you’re installing, where you’re getting them from, and how they’re impacting your device.
Jailbreaking may lead to system instability issues on your device. While the iOS system is designed to work in harmony with the software and hardware it controls, jailbreaking introduces new elements that may not be as well-tuned. This may lead to random crashes, slower performance, and general software instability.
Jailbreaking and software updates
Another potential pitfall lies with software updates. Apple regularly releases new iOS updates to patch security vulnerabilities, improve performance, and introduce new features. If you jailbreak your iPhone, you won’t be able to update your iOS without potentially losing your jailbreak. There are ways around this, but they involve further modification and can lead to additional risks or malfunctions.
Protecting your data
Before you proceed with jailbreaking, make sure you back up your data. In case something goes wrong during the jailbreaking process or afterward, you may end up having to factory reset your device, which will erase everything on your phone. Having a recent backup of your data will ensure you don’t lose your precious photos, messages, or app data.
Using trusted jailbreak tools
Lastly, ensure that you’re using a trusted jailbreak tool. While there are many available, not all are created equal, and some can come with harmful malware or not work properly. Research the tool you plan to use carefully, and consider waiting a bit after a new jailbreak is released to make sure it’s safe and effective.
Jailbreaking an iPhone can unlock a lot of potentials and allow you to tailor your device to your exact needs. However, it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. Understand the risks, take precautions, and ensure you’re making the best choice for you and your device.