Jailbreaking Apple Devices: Pros and Contras

Sooner or later any Apple device owner fiddles with the idea of jailbreaking. In other words – breaking the severe restrictions Apple puts on the operating system and taking full control of the device. Thus you shall lose your warranty and will have to pay your own money to fix the device if it faults. On the brighter side, you won’t be prosecuted for jailbreaking the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Apple TV, because it is completely legal in the U.S. But the consequences are all yours. If you’re OK to face them, there’re some great advantages to gain form jailbreaking.

Jailbreaking Apple Devices: Pros and Contras

First, you’re free from the iTunes shackles. Not all good apps make it to the App Store. The best non-Apple framework for finding and adding unauthorized apps, such as games and networking tools is Cydia. For instance, MyWi, available through Cydia, turns your iPhone or cellular-enabled iPad into a broadband modem, or a Wi-Fi hotspot, to connect your laptop to the Internet. This way you can also avoid extra charge for “tethering”, as many carriers often make the subscribers pay for it or include the service as part of high-priced plans.

You can also customize the jailbroken device to your liking with the app called WinterBoard that allows you to change your icons, wallpaper, dock, status and sounds.

Yet, there’s more to the jailbreaking than just an opportunity to install the lovely kittens wallpaper you love. Jailbreaking exposes the inner workings of an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch to the user, which can be very handy. Nobody would like to have a car with the hood welded shut. With a jailbreak you’ve got an opportunity to open this hood whenever you like and have a look at the engine. For instance, the secure shell (SSH) client is much more useful for everyday life. It provides secure migration of your data between two devices on a network. Through SSH, a jailbroken iPhone can be connected to the computer to fix corrupted files, or install games that aren’t available in the iTunes App Store.

Talking again about carriers, jailbreaking solves the trouble with the locked devices. According to the law, the carriers have to unlock a phone as long as the phone is fully paid for and the account is in good standing (that is, the contract or payment plan is completed and you have nothing else to pay). Yet, in reality the major carriers pursue various policies. Verizon locks almost none of its handsets, and none of its iPhones, but AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile do. As a rule, the accurate and timely payments is the obligatory requirements for unlocking the device, but the carrier may unlock it for international travel or deployment (if the owner is in the U.S. Army).

But what are the contras?

Obviously, the contras mirror the pro arguments. Take the unlocking issue. You’ll have to face the troubles with catching the network, especially if your handset is old.

The older Sprint or Verizon iPhones or iPads, such as the non-LTE iPhone 4 and earlier, that use CDMA wireless standard, should be brought to the desired carrier’s retail store for a technician to “flash” its firmware to the new network. Which the technician will do if he or she can.

Things get even more complicated with the iPhone 4s and the iPhone 5, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s. iPhone 4s can use either GSM or CDMA, but the CDMA radio is switched off on GSM devices and vice versa. Starting with the iPhone 6, every mobile is compatible with both CDMA and GSM, although LTE bands may still vary among regional models. To know for sure which radio is turned off and whether it can be activated or not, you have to ask the carrier. And to tell the truth, most carriers frown upon the unlocked handsets. So, you see, you have to realize very clearly, which radio bands your device supports and if your carrier can help you along with flashing them. Flashing cannot be done by the home computer or tools, you have to get a special equipment only carrier technicians get.

But the critical issue is the security of the jailbroken devices. Coming back to the car metaphor, any culprit can open the car hood and tamper with the engine. Most of Apple devices which suffered the malware attacks were jailbroken. The untouched iOS provides the in-built system of security; Apple also sees to it that all the apps from iTunes meet the highest security standards.

The issue is aggravated by the fact, that the only iOS antivirus for now – Kaspersky Security – requires the clean system to be installed upon. There’s no way to tell how this program will work with the jailbroken iPhone or iPad. And any other program for that matter. To say nothing of the iOS updates. It’ll be a bit like a hack-a-mole every time you update your mobile.

So after jailbreaking your device you should be twice as careful as you were before. A baggy software can ‘brick’ your iPhone before you can say “apples”. And brick means… well, a brick. There’s no way back more than often. The last but not the least problem is selling your Apple handset. Jailbroken devices may go cheaper than the safe ones.

Yet, there’s a way to remove the jailbreak if you aren’t happy with your handset performance. See the text How to Remove Jailbreak Safely and Restore Your iPhone or iPad.


  • Sell your old Apple device and save money for the new one: We pay top dollar for your old electronics – Sell old Apple product now!


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