Apple is one of the top leaders in the mobile phone market and has revolutionized countless aspects of our daily lives. Even so there are many complaints against the software limitations and restrictions of Apple products that some users find extremely cumbersome. Unlike Android devices, Apple products are severely constrained when it comes to customization. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be of importance to the Apple. Nevertheless, some Apple customers desire more functionality out of their iOS devices, and are unaware of a free solution to their problem.
Jailbreaking is a simple process which allows the user to bypass Apple’s restrictions, and enable users to ‘tweak’ their devices at their convenience. Currently, there are various options available to those willing to jailbreak their iOS device, except for those who’ve upgraded to iOS 7.1. Whether you have ant iPhone 5s, or an older generation iPhone, it is likely there is a jailbreak tool suitable for you. But, just what can you expect in a jailbroken device?
As shown in the picture above, every jailbroken device is accompanied with a new application called Cydia. This is the sort of marketplace or “App Store” for the jailbreak community. Here, you can purchase tweaks, themes, and applications that are otherwise unavailable on a regular iOS device. You may have noticed that the icons in the above screenshot are a little different than the stock iOS apps, and they are. This is due to a theme (Ayeris) that I have downloaded from Cydia; it changes the look of all your app icons, and not just your stock Apple apps. While these may seem like minor changes, the number of different customization options you have available to you is endless. Take a look at this recently released tweak called ProWidgets.
This tweak allows you to bring interactive widgets to your iPhone, iPod, and iPad. ProWidgets allows you to quickly compose Calendar events, messages, alarms, and various other things. The developer Alan Yip did a fantastic job making the design of these widgets fit the iOS ecosystem, and feel native to the user experience.
These are only a couple of added capabilities that jailbreaking your device can provide. The Jailbreak experience can be summed up in one word: efficiency. These tweaks (as they are called) are meant to enhance (1) your day-to-day use, and (2) your ability to customize your iOS device.
When deciding whether or not to jailbreak there are two words you need to know, they are “tethered” and “untethered.” A tethered jailbreak is like a beta version of the official jailbreak and should only be done by the techno adventurers out there. What does it mean? Basically whenever your phone loses power, restarts or crashes you must plug into your computer and re-run the jailbreak tool to retain all fun customizations you’ve downloaded from Cydia. This is obviously not ideal. Untethered on the other hand is a one time process. Once you run the jailbreak tool you’re phone stays jailbroken regardless of power loss, restart or crash. Unless you don’t mind dealing with the occasional headache wait for an “untethered” jailbreak to be released.
Now, the jailbreak experience is not without it’s pitfalls. Your device may crash more often than usual, but not enough to cause any real annoyance, and is usually fixed by a simple restart. Installing certain tweaks may cause conflict with others that are already installed, although it is typical that the developers responsible for your installed tweaks will push updates to Cydia to resolve any incompatibilities. Some are worried about “bricking” their iPhone (rendering it a beautiful paperweight) once applying the jailbreak, this is a very rare occurrence. In any case, the pros undoubtedly outweigh the cons.
For those interested in jailbreaking your device, you can read up on the process on iDownloadBlog or Lifehacker and easily download the jailbreak tool onto your computer. Be on the lookout for some upcoming articles about our favorite Jailbreak tweaks and Apps!
Note: It is also important to say that anytime a new version of iOS is released, your jailbreak will be lost IF you update. So, if you want to keep your phone jailbroken, make sure to avoid any updates to the latest version of iOS until an untethered jailbreak is released. The above links are a good resource that will help you know when that is.