Jailbreaking a Phone and Why You Should Avoid it

Jailbreaking a Phone and Why You Should Avoid it

Dennis Snider

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Jailbreaking a phone is making modifications to it so that you can access its complete file system. Once the phone has been jailbroken, you can make changes that aren’t available to users using factory settings.

Theoretically this gives you control over areas the manufacturer or phone company didn’t want you to have, which sounds attractive but certainly has drawbacks, and you should definitely think twice before allowing your phone, tablet or other device to be jailbroken.

There are a number of reasons why people have their phones jailbroken. One of the most popular is so that they can use an app that is otherwise blocked for their device, for example, Apple doesn’t allow certain apps on the App Store, but these can be run on a jailbroken iPhone. You do need to ask yourself though, why did Apple block those apps in the first place?

Another reason for jailbreaking is to get hold of free apps: is fairly simple for a competent hacker to purchase an app, hack it, modify it, and then release it on a jailbroken app store free for anyone who wants it.

Although this is popular, it’s certainly unethical and frequently illegal – if you wouldn’t steal from your neighborhood store, why is it okay to steal from a virtual one?
Customization is another reason people like to jailbreak phones: on the iPhone you are restricted to a limited number of colors and themes, whereas if your iPhone is jailbroken you can customize to your heart’s content. You can also strip out any bits of the operating system you don’t like but that Apple makes it compulsory to keep, such as the Mail app.

The very things that make jailbreaking a phone attractive, i.e., the fact that it will be more open and can use more apps, is also a good reason not to do it. Being open to more apps means being open to more potentially malicious ones that have not been tried and tested by Apple.

Once you’ve jailbroken your iPhone, you’ve also violated the end-user license agreement and invalidated any warranties you may possess.

Jailbreaking a phone isn’t illegal – the Library of Congress Copyright Office ruled this in 2010 – but what you use it for when it’s been jailbroken may be, and just as importantly jailbreaking could allow those who want to undertake illegal activities much easier access to your phone.

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