What is ‘jailbreaking” and is it a good idea?

locked iphoneMany iOS users are happy with their device as is, and why not? With countless apps and a user-friendly design, your iPhone or iPad probably does everything you want it to. However, Apple heavily regulates what you can and can’t do on your device, and some users feel unduly limited by these restrictions – this is where ‘jailbreaking’ kicks in.

Jailbreaking is the process of removing or bypassing the security software that blocks content not authorised by Apple. Removing these restrictions allows users to modify and customise their device, and provides access to apps that are not available through the Apple store.

Pros and cons of Jailbreaking

There are a number of benefits to jailbreaking your iPhone or iPad, though arguably these advantages are outweighed by the disadvantages.

Pros:

As mentioned, jailbreaking enables users to customise and modify their iOS device in ways that are otherwise impossible under Apple’s regulations. Many users believe that since it is your phone, you should be allowed to do whatever you want with it. Think of it like owning a house, but not being allowed to renovate. Furthermore, there are some features that are accessible only on ‘jailbroken’ devices that enable users to download paid applications for free, to run non-Apple applications or to simply customise the appearance of the device’s interface.

Jailbreaking is legal in Australia, but a word of caution; using it to steal content or download paid applications for free may breach piracy and intellectual property laws.

Cons:

With all the extra features, you may be wondering why everyone isn’t jailbreaking their devices. The answer is simple – it’s just not safe. Apple places restrictions on non-authorised content to protect your device from malicious software. By jailbreaking, you forfeit your only shield and run the risk of having your device hijacked and personal information stolen.

Recently, a malware known as KeyRaider attacked over 225,000 jailbroken iOS device holders across 18 countries, including Australia. This malware stole password information, made purchases on user’s apple accounts and locked users out of their phone until a sum was paid.

Jailbreaking your device may have further unforeseen consequences. You may find that your device runs slower or frequently crashes. There have also been numerous reports of jailbreaking gone wrong, that have left the device’s software corrupt and rendered inoperable.

Apple has a strict policy against jailbreaking, and if you choose to do it anyway, then you void any warranties or repair guarantees attached to your device. This means that if your device is jailbroken and you’re the victim of a malware attack, then you’re on your own. If you think you can simply remove jailbreak before taking your phone to be repaired – think again, Apple employees can tell if your device has ever been jailbroken, so it’s best to just not jailbreak in the first place.

How to remove jailbreak

To remove jailbreak, you must first uninstall all association files, then restore your device to factory settings. There are a number of “how-to” guides available online, though keep in mind that the process may vary depending on the model and IOS of your Apple device.

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