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Is Jailbreaking Still Worth It?

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While we’re patiently waiting for our friends over at the iPhone Dev-Team to finish up the new jailbreak for iPhone 4, I thought It might be fun to have a look at some of the cool apps available for those willing to crack open their magical devices. Please keep in mind that by jailbreaking your phone you’re totally voiding your warranty, so proceed at your own risk.

If you’re willing to take the chance, modding your phone can really add a lot of new functionality to those little computers we’re all carrying around. Want to quickly create your own Wi-Fi hotspot? There’s an app for that. Would you like to sidestep Apple’s (s aapl) 3G restrictions? There’s an app for that. Ever thought it would be nice to wirelessly sync with iTunes? You get the idea.

Here’s a few I plan on installing once the new jailbreak drops and they’ve all been updated to work with the latest version of iOS.

  • 3G Unrestrictor lets you get around all those draconian restrictions Apple places on how you can use your 3G connection by tricking the phone into thinking it’s on Wi-Fi. Watch high quality videos, download applications or podcasts, maybe even use FaceTime.
  • Wi-Fi sync lets you cut that USB cable and sync your music, apps, photos, contacts, calendars, and more with iTunes over the air at the touch of a button.
  • snes4iphone is an emulator that lets you relive those heady days of Super Nintendo fun right on your phone. F-Zero on your phone? OMG.
  • MyWi creates a Wi-Fi hotspot for connecting laptops or other mobile devices to your iPhone’s internet connection. You can also use it to enable USB and Bluetooth tethering as a bonus.
  • Action Menu adds some additional handy buttons to the usual copy/paste menu you see when selecting text on the phone. Send the text to your Twitter app of choice, look it up in the dictionary, access clipboard history and more.

Jailbreaking your brand new phone is always a risk. You void your warranty and start down a path of SHSH blobs, root passwords, and SSH connections. Oh my! The Dev-Team and app developers have done a great job at making things as easy as possible, but if you’re not willing to spend some time troubleshooting your own issues, you’re probably better servedleaving your phone factory fresh.

Still, I think it’s well worth jumping through all those hoops in order to pick up the kind of added functionality you see above. What do you think, is it worth it? What apps are you looking forward to adding?

44 Responses to “Is Jailbreaking Still Worth It?”

  1. jaibreaking is quite cool, i just jailbreaked my ipad and have got access to many cool unrestricted apps, but cydia is very slow and it is 10 times harder to purchase apps, other than that, you can get pirated apps but that isnt easy, i dont care about proper multitasking, ios4.2 is perfect for me, so i upgraded from 3.2.2 to 4.2, and thats just about it.

    But jailbreaking was a bit boring but for some people i agree that it is fun.

  2. jailbreak what I work on IPhones sometime and this time I recieved a iPhone that’s running 4.0.2. W/baseband of 5/14 something and I have been every where searching including to apples developing site and there’s nothing I found to unlock or jailbreak this iPhone what do know is this the closes I’ve gotten to this os4.0.2 is downgrading to 4.0.1 and still the baseband is still the same as if I’ve done nothing to it I believe if there’s a hack for it it won’t be out until later so officially or not I can say I don’t believe what everyones saying about the new jailbreak working on 4.0.2…. When you can make that statement be ready to back it up’ guy!!!! Have fun because I will not my clients that updated there runs before consulting with me are in for one he’ll of a surprise!!!

  3. Jailbreaking? Why don’t you just install OpenSSH from the repository and log in? Oh.. wait.. you’re on an iPhone, not a real phone like an N900. My bad.

  4. Ricardo Santos

    Besides those:
    – SBSettings.
    – Ability to use my iPhone as a portable disk.

    And, on a personal level:
    Since I believe in free market, it follows that I do not believe in monopolistic practices. Having only one store is a monopolistic market. And A bad precedence. I am glad that people go out of their way to open this system. Since I did paid for my phone is my right to do so. Since I do believe in free market is my moral duty to do so. Otherwise one day all platforms will have only one store with small developers being slaves to the companies that own the store.

    • Hear hear!

      As well as this, and I think what you were also implying is that I don’t like to be told what I can and can’t do with a product I bought and own.

  5. Laura Drew

    i had the iphone 4 and took it back as i could not make a call from my home with it.
    I still have my old iphone 3g and was wondering if I wanted to jailbreak it to have some extra fun and functionality how do I start?

  6. It’s not just about the extra apps and freedom. In my case it’s about using my iPhone on T-Mobile instead of AT&T. I have to jailbreak and unlock it and then I’m good to go!

    Please, no anti t-mobile replies or lack of 3G replies. I can do what I need to do with my iPhone on T-Mobile just fine and at a much lower cost than other carriers. :-)

  7. VLAZ55

    I agree its your phone and you should be able to do what you want with it… but obviously you have a clue what you are doing when you are jailbreaking your phone. I think Apple locks the phone by default to protect the less intelligent users out there who would mess up their phone and then demand Apple to fix it for free. We have many things that are inconvenient for us that are only there to protect the stupid from themselves!

  8. Amazing to me that people have had so much trouble with JB. With my 3GS, it completely changed the experience for the better. Backgrounder, MyWi, My3g, and SBSettings…there were others, but these 3 apps enhanced the usage of the device.

    Now with my iPhone 4, I am reconsidering. I miss MyWi and SBSettings the most, but with native multitasking that works with Skype and Pandora, beginning to wonder if I can get by w/out a JB. Of course I could always JB my iPad and tether my phone to it with MyWi to get my hotspot fix…

    Let’s see what the feedback is from the first round of those who install the new JailBreak…

  9. 2 things missing:

    – SBSettings, I just need it.
    – With a bit of modification to installd (I use AppSync) and to Xcode, you can actually install and debug your own app without a certificate and provisioning profile, which means you don’t have to pay $99 to Apple :p

  10. Even iOS4 doesn’t have proper multitasking. And the folders, well I have probably 20-30 games, stuff having to make multiple folders for just games.
    If jailbreaking is slowing your iPhone down, then you are doing something wrong.

  11. Jailbreaking made a lot of sense back when the iPhone didn’t have native applications. Jailbreaking made some sense when you couldn’t tether. Jailbreaking could, arguably, be interesting before the Android OS became widespread.

    But jailbreaking because you want to be able to multitask playing with your preferences? Count me out.

  12. Michael

    I dont really need to jailbreak because I want to be sure Apple earns there money so they can keep making good products. On top of that, most apps are not that expensive but thats my opinion. I own an 3Gs and an iPod touch and lot of people told me to give my iPod a try since i have an iPhone. Truth is it doesn’t make sense for me since I’m good with all the possibilities I have.

    • Rapscallion

      I don’t think you understand what a jailbreak is. Even if you jailbreak, you can still give Apple (the poor struggling company) your hard earned $. Although you do have the option of pirating software, you don’t have to. In fact as a developer, who understands the work that gets put into any software, I recommend against this. The main reason to JB is to get added functionality that Apple, in their divine wisdom, have decided to not let you have. If you would have read the article you would have understood this.

      As others have already mentioned, the biggest reason for me to JB is for SBSettings. I use this many times during the day. For example;

      – Reading in bed and the iPhone is too bright for my wife. SBSettings allows you to dim the phone without leaving the current app.
      – My carrier app (Rogers) for paying my account, checking usage etc. only works over 3G. With SBSettings turn of WIFI with one click.

      There many more reason, and many more apps that can increase your productivity/fun ;-) without having to pirate software.

      • I agree, the act of jailbreaking your iphone doesn’t give you access to pirated software. There’s still several more hoops to jump through to get pirated apps.

        Jailbreaking gives developers the chance to utilise the whole phone system, not just what Steve allows. That’s why we had copy/paste, folders, and tethering months (years?) before apple released them as “features”.

  13. Just, please – if you jailbreak your iPhone – don’t waste everyone’s time with pages of whining when your critter and the wonderful 3rd-party software you loaded it with don’t work with future iterations of the OS.

    Apple is in business to satisfy most all of their customers. Not just those qualifying for sainthood.

  14. I used Blackra!n to JB my 3Gs, but restored to the walled garden after I became frustrated with the time commitment to tinker. OS updates, defective apps, and just the hassle of culling multiple app stores to find the most effective apps proved to be more of a time commit than I was willing to put in. Performance suffered as a result of some of the apps.

    iOS4 has many of the things I JB for, multitasking, backgrounds etc. And they continue to unlock 3G restrictions. My only regret is Google Voice, the web app is not as good as the GV Voice or native Android/Blackberry apps…

    If you like tinkering and feel obsessed to “have it your way”, JB is great. But for 90% or more of iPhone users, it is out of the question. The numbers seem to back this up as well.

  15. I’ve heard that with tethering and things of that nature that you can get in big trouble with AT&T. I’ve heard if they notice your data usage spike then you can get hit with big fines. Anyone know if that is true or how the AT&T contract is worded with regards to that or if AT&T would even notice? Thanks.

    • Keith Brown

      I’ve been tethering (as have friends of mine) for a long, long time, first with the profile hack on 3.0 and now with MyWi on a jail broken 3.1. Not a peep from AT&T. The iPhone data plan (the old one) is truly unlimited, but my average usage ends up being about 2GB a month. One of my friends uses a whole lot more than that. I doubt they have any real (practical) way to know. That might change with 4.0 but I doubt it. I’ll bet the real reason the new authorized tethering plan counts against total data usage isn’t just greed on their part, but because they don’t have any way to account for it.

  16. Yes…I am also jailbreaking just because of sbsettings. But these other apps are nice additions. I recommend mywi, lockcalendar and the blacklister- and the infomenuicons-app.

  17. TurbineSeaplane

    What an absolutely pathetic article.

    The #1 reason you should be listing for Jailbreaking isn’t even on your LIST!

    It’s all about SBSettings baby!

    • To each his own, I guess. SBSettings is one of the first apps I install when I help somebody jailbreak his iPhone. Ironically, I don’t have an iPhone myself at the moment, but I know I’m going to jailbreak whenever I get my hands on one, if only for SBSettings at first.

  18. Cold Water

    Jailbreaking was nice, but never worth the time and effort it took.

    I dumped my iPhone and bought a Nexus One shortly after it came out. Most of the jailbreak apps and features I used were already baked in, the rest you can download from Android Marketplace. It doesn’t require any dodgy files downloaded from dark corners of the internet, a cabled connection to iTunes when the OS is due for an update, or a repeat of the whole jailbreak process when you make it.

    It’s your phone, you should be able to do whatever you want with it.

    • I am surprised by your comment that “jailbreaking was never worth the time and effort it took”. Jailbreaking is not difficult and if you take care to follow the steps it takes 30 minutes at best. Once you are done you get so much more functionality from your iPhone it is well worth those 30 min.

  19. elasticthreads

    It’s definitely worth it for iPhone 3G and iPod Touch 2G users who can get access to all the iOS 4 features Apple decided the devices were not capable of: native multitasking and rotation lock, bluetooth keyboard access, springboard wallpapers.

    Outside of that, all devices still benefit from all the apps listed here, but also the all important SBSetting panel, which lets you quickly adjust/toggle all kinds of settings you don’t want to switch apps just to deal with (volume, brightness, wifi, data, etc.).

    I use redsn0w 0.95beta with iOS4 on my iPod Touch 2G and find the combo to be the best mobile platform yet.

  20. Jailbreaking was always a hassle, and iOS 4 has finally fulfilled all the reasons I had for Jailbreaking except tethering. But I never really used tethering that much so I no longer jailbreak.

  21. Jailbreaking is not “totally voiding your warranty”. You can restore it to the stock firmware should you ever have to to send it in – with the result that there’s no trace of jailbreaking it at all.

    • Bryan Schuetz

      You may not always be in a position to do a restore before an emergency lands you at the genius bar. Also, what you do to the phone once it’s been jailbroken and how you choose to restore, can impact to varying degrees what someone at the genius bar running a diagnostic on the phone might be able to discern.

      I’m just saying, buyer beware.

    • Bryan Schuetz

      @jeff I said what I meant. Jailbreaking your iPhone does void your warranty. Whether or not Apple employees are able to tell that you voided your warranty is another question.

  22. inflatablenerd

    Everyone should jailbreak at least once.

    I recently jailbroke my iPad while traveling, and while I was itching to get back inside Apple’s walled garden almost immediately, I don’t regret trying the experience out for myself. Spirit made my device slower and buggier. I had to jump through hoops to get it working (downgrading to iTunes 9.1 on OSX). But at least I learnt that for myself. Uncle Steve was right to try and keep me in, but I wasn’t going to blindly follow his wishes without at least trying out what it was like on the other side.

  23. george hasbun

    it is so worth it you can make your iphone work like its made to work not how apple wants it to work it the best to jailbreak your iphone its just boring without the jailbreak