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Why Should I Jailbreak My iPhone?

March 24, 2009
With my recent How To articles, I have been asked WHY someone should jailbreak their iPhone. But when it comes down to it, I did it because I wanted access to all the functionality possible with this device. The technology included in this phone has great possibilities. My iPhone has more options and apps than all of my previous mobile phones combined. However, there are still some areas where apple could improve the functionality of the iPhone. I would truly like this phone to replace all of my daily gadgets. The GPS in my car has turn by turn navigation, my digital camera has a video recording option and my net book allows copy and paste. These are just some of the software based functionality that Apple has refused to include in the current firmware for the iPhone. Apparently others feel the same way I do and they have created apps to add this functionality to the iPhone. But, given the strictness of the App Store, all of the apps with these options have been turned down by apple. The reason for jailbreaking your iPhone is pure and simple - to have the ability to install 3rd party apps not sold in the App Store. I know there are thousands of apps available in the app store, but apple has been very restrictive with their rules regarding which apps can be made available to users. A few of the functions that jailbreaking can supply include, video recording, tethering, multi-format video playback, copy/paste, turn by turn talking GPS navigation, Bluetooth file transfers, power management, MMS, Voip over 3G, instant messenger in the background, brighter flashlight, customized menus, and stolen phone recovery. I will add a list at the end of the article detailing which apps can be used for each type of functionality. After all the Apple bashing I may do in this article, I have to admit, the iPhone has the potential to become the best possible phone on the market. And Jailbreaking brings the iPhone out as the leader of the pack. If jailbreaking is so great, why doesn't everyone do it? Well, in a world of OS X and Windows, we are used to using non-customizable and unstable computer environments. Given these issues with computers, we all fear our devices crashing, so we try never to fiddle with it too much. But instead of just telling you that the iPhone is different, why don't we go over the most common reasons I hear on why people do not jailbreak their iPhone.

1. I don't like to break the warranty.

While jailbreaking your iPhone does break the software licensing agreement, it does not break the warranty of the phone. And technically once it is restored back to it's standard configuration (unjailbreaking), you are no longer invalidating any agreements. If you ever have any hardware issues, just unjailbreak your phone and send it in. As of yet, jailbreaking your phone is not illegal.

2. I'm afraid it will kill my phone and lose all of my information

As for jailbreaking being the cause of a bricked phone, I have found less than a dozen instances of people having unrecoverable issues and they happened with older jailbreaking methods. From the research I have done, even the worst jailbreak failures can be easily fixed by putting the phone in recovery mode and recovering with iTunes. Then you just re-jailbreak. Regarding information loss, you should always backup your contacts through iTunes or through Gmail.

3. It is only for people who want to be different

Jailbreaking is not only for people that want to be different and personalize their phone. While it offers many options to customize your menu and tailor it to your personality, there are many apps that offer basic functionalities. I do not think that being able to record video, copy/paste, or talking turn by turn navigation is a matter of trying to be different.

4. It's only for people with too much time on their hands

Jailbreaking is not for people with too much time on their hands. Once you have jailbroken your phone and you have it set up, it takes the same amount of time to install an app from Cydia as it does from the app store.

5. Only total tech savvy hackers can jailbreak without help

To be honest, jailbreaking is extremely simple. If you have a newer computer and a high speed internet connection, it takes a half hour to do the whole process. Most of that time is waiting and the instructions in the jailbreaking programs are extremely simple to follow. My mother was able to jailbreak her phone in no time by following the instructions. With the new options coming to us in iPhone firmware 3.0, a few of the jailbreaking perks are obsolete, however there are many options to personalize your phone that will never be included by apple. Here are a few examples of functionality that can be added by jailbreaking and apps that will add this functionality.
Functions Apps
Video Recording Cycorder
Tethering PDANet, iPhone modem
All Format Video Playback VLC for iPhone
Copy/Paste CopiercIN
Turn by Turn GPS xGPS
Bluetooth file transfers ibluetooth
Power Management SBSettings
Voip over 3G VoipOver3G
Run Programs in the Background backgrounder
Brighter Flashlight Flashlight by bigboss
Stolen Phone Rcovery iLocalis, findmyi
Themes Manager Winterboard
These are not the only functions that can be added with jailbreaking. These are merely the most popular replies I have been given when I ask why people jailbreak their iPhones. These are also not the only apps available, just the ones I personally use. I hope I have shown you why you should jailbreak your iPhone and have alleviated your worries as to why you should not. This phone has the potential to take over the job of multiple daily used techno-gadgets. My iPhone has made my life more connected and jailbreaking has given me the chance to customize my phone to work best for me. I hope you can now see that compared to the minimal risk involved, jailbreaking offers many improvements to the stock counterpart.

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