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Should You Jailbreak Your iPhone

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IPhone owners around the world seem to be divided into two camps. The first is happy with what Apple has given them: a touchscreen-smartphone with a decent amount of memory, better internet-capabilities than most other phones, and a seemingly-endless supply of applications for nearly any task you can think of; from finding nearby restaurants, to updating any number of social-networking profiles.

The second group, however, isn’t quite as happy with the way things have been going. They’re the users who want something extra; the ones who aren’t happy with carrier-locked phones; who can’t stand the thought of only running programs approved by Apple.

They want the freedom to run any app they want, and they want it now. They want to use their phone with any service-provider they choose, instead of being stuck with AT&T. These are the users who want to run their phones to the fullest potential; the geeks, hackers, and developers who want the freedom to program their phones how they want, instead of how they’re told.

Both sides have many valid points, and both have many downfalls as well.

Limitations Of The iPhone That May Warrant Jailbreaking

The iPhone, while certainly a marvelous phone, isn’t without it’s limitations. It has no native support for Flash, no support for more complex Bluetooth stacks, and doesn’t have expandable memory; if you buy the 8gb iPhone then you’re stuck with 8gb. Therefore, many users choose to jailbreak their phones just so they can gain access to third-party applications that you can’t get on Apple’s AppStore.

What Is Jailbreaking?

Jailbreaking-the process by which a small program is executed at boot on the iPhone to bypass some of Apple’s security measures-is relatively easy to do these days. A user only has to download one of many programs available online that replace the firmware on their phones with a slightly modified version that includes a small program called Cydia. Cydia in itself is just another program; it’s what it allows that becomes important.

Alternatives To Apple’s AppStore

Cydia was developed as a third-party alternative to the AppStore. It allows owners of jailbroken iPhones to browse any number of repositories put online by groups of developers who choose not to submit their applications to Apple. Or, in some cases, were rejected from the AppStore for any number of reasons. These programs are anything from alternatives to the phone’s Google Maps app, to instances of OpenSSH running right on the phone, allowing users to SSH into their phones and modify files that would otherwise be unreachable.

Many users who jailbreak their phones do so to bypass the iPhone’s baseband locks that prevent them from using other carriers. In the US, AT&T currently has exclusive rights to provide service to iPhone users. Some, however, don’t want to be locked into a contract with specific carriers, and may choose to jailbreak their phones, run a program to unlock the phone’s baseband, and then choose any carrier they want.

The Case Against Jailbreaking iPhone

On the opposing team, there are those who are perfectly happy with the product that Apple has made; those that don’t mind having a contract with AT&T. This team far outnumbers the former, but that doesn’t mean that users who jailbreak aren’t on Apple’s radar. Apple has been playing “cat and mouse” with jailbreakers since the first firmware release. Every time they release a new update, groups like the iPhone Dev Team quickly come up with a bypass for the new security measures.

Apple’s stance on jailbreaking is that in modifying their proprietary software, the users are breaking their EULA, and, in turn, voiding their warranties. They are quick to point out that they do not, and will not ever, support jailbreaking and baseband unlocking. Currently, every version of the iPhone are able to be jailbroken.

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