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Friday, February 18, 2011

Jailbreaking Part II: Should I do it?

So, you're thinking about jailbreaking your iPhone - or you're on the fence. Here are some of the pros and cons to unlocking your iPhone by jailbreaking it.

The pros
Cool apps: Yes, the App Store has many awesome apps, but as I stated in my previous blog, Apple is notorious for blocking certain applications from getting into its store.

Other networks: After jailbreaking, you have access to phone networks other than AT&T  — and now Verizon - such as T-Mobile's GSM network, which can actually work overseas.

Customization: The iPhone's built-in interface allows you to change certain sounds and the set the wallpaper, among a few other tweaks. But, these options are limited. Jailbreaking allows you to go beyond the normal limits of iOS and do things such as add more icons to the dock (at the bottom of the screen) or install the Winterboard app, which gives you much more customization options such as themes and new skins.

The cons
Lost warranty: If you still have time left on your existing warranty, say goodbye to it if you jailbreak your iPhone. Apple has stated that unlocking your iPhone will void your warranty, although you can supposedly reset your iPhone and wipe clean any traces of the jailbreaking. However, this will delete all of your data and preferences in the process.

Bricking: This is one of the biggest cons — the fear of "bricking" your device. Although bricking won't completely ruin your phone, it's a huge hassle. A bricked iPhone is completely useless until a reset is done, at which point you can say bye-bye to all of your data and preferences.

Instability: However tempting it may seem, jailbreaking is still relatively new and not supported by Apple or other major phone manufacturers. Therefore, you get no help from Apple and rely entirely upon the jailbreaking community (blogs, message boards, etc.) for any troubleshooting or assistance. There are also many security holes opened up by jailbreaking your iPhone that can allow hackers to plant bugs, worms or other malware into your phone.

As is the case with any tinkering you may do with electronic gadgets, you do run a risk of ruining your device should you choose to jailbreak your iPhone. This post is intended to give more information on unlocking your iPhone via jailbreaking and should not be taken as an endorsement or rejection of the process and is in no way comprehensive. If you need more information, the Internet is always a good place to start.

Here are some good links for more information:

BTW: In an attempt to be fair, I tried to find more information on what it means to jailbreak from Apple's website, but all I found were links to Thin Lizzy on iTunes.