Many have wondered at the thought of Jailbreaking their Apple devices, but often choose a quaint existence within the walls of what is becoming known as “The Apple Garden”. They do this based largely on fear, fear of destroying their beloved iPod or otherwise voiding their warranty. Often, very little actual research is even done on the subject and many users do not even know of the Jailbreak Community at all or what it has to offer…
So, let’s dig into this a bit.
“What is a Jailbreak?”
Think of it like this: Let’s say you have a top of the line computer, and you want to run a brand new game on it… just then, someone at Microsoft jumps out and says that you can’t do that. Why would they say this? It’s not their computer, where do they get off telling you what you can (and cannot) do with your own hardware? If your computer is capable of running that game, why shouldn’t it be allowed to do so?
Well my friends, this is very similar to what Apple does to you when they sell you a shiny new piece of their proprietary technology. Don’t get me wrong! I LOVE all of my Apple devices, I have everything that is currently on the market (I know.. I know..) and I have every intention of grabbing up the next tasty morsel that they toss out there as well! But at the same time, I don’t buy into this whole “No you can’t” mentality either.
By Jailbreaking your device, you take away many of those limitations. Want a custom theme based on a popular TV show? Sure! How about video wallpapers like some of those new Android smartphones out there? Absolutely! Need to use your iPhone with a more reliable and less expensive Carrier? Hmmm, how about a resounding YES YOU CAN! Honestly, it would be far easier to list the things that you CANNOT do with a Jailbreak, rather than try to attempt a list of the thousands of things that you CAN do with it!
“Ok, so I’ve decided to Jailbreak, will it void my warranty?”
Simple answer is yes, but don’t stop reading!!! It will only void your warranty in a Jailbroken state. That means if it starts acting up, or you need to take it to Apple for some reason, simply restore your device with iTunes and in a blink you have restored your warranty as well! Yes, it really is that simple! As of right now, there is nothing in the Jailbreak that is detected after a restore, therefore your warranty worries are over! Let’s review. Will it void the warranty? Yes. Permanently void the warranty? No way, Jose!
“Sounds good but how hard is it, I’m kinda scared I might mess it up?”
It really is so easy that a caveman could do it. Well, almost 🙂
There are many sites out there that are eager to help you, as well as many of the Developers of the Jailbreak Community themselves. Personally, I like iClarified.com. It is the most exhaustive compilation of detailed steps to Jailbreak any iDevice that I have found, complete with download links, step by step instruction and screenshots. And most importantly… IT’S FREE! As for “bricking” your iDevice, or somehow messing it up, well those days are simply in our past. With todays Jailbreaks, it is almost impossible (if not absolutely impossible) to cause any permanent damage that could not be repaired with a simple Restore in iTunes. Don’t be intimidated! It is a very simple process and requires very little user input. The hardest step is getting the device into DFU mode (brain-dead simple, by the way) but that is for another day. Type out a quick Google search if you are curious.
“I took the plunge, so where do I start?”
Start by punching the ole’ Cydia icon that you now have on your “Springboard” after your successful Jailbreak. Watch as an entirely new world opens before your very eyes. The wondrous sights, the dazzling abilities, all of the tweaking… Ok, so maybe not quite that glamorous but it is still pretty great! First of all, SAVE YOUR SHSH BLOBS. See that handy little link of the front page of Cydia? “Make my life easier”? Yes it will, yes you should. Do it, enough said. In a separate post I will discuss why this is so important but for those of you with any common sense at all, just Google it and know that it is entirely in your best interest to do this! 😉 Browsing Cydia is similar to the AppStore, just laid out a little differently. Push the Sections tab and find ringtones, wallpapers, custom themes, lockscreens, tweaks, utilities, oh the wonderful goodness that is right there for the taking! While most of the things on Cydia are in fact free, some do cost a little cold hard cash but are almost always worth it. Toy around in there a little bit, and try to get used to the “Reloading Data”.
“Hey, I heard you can get every app available on the AppStore for free, is that true?”
Here I hit a sensitive subject. A very sensitive subject indeed. I personally never condone piracy. If you are reading this article just to glean this juicy tidbit of knowledge from me, you will be sadly disappointed and should stop reading now. Yes, to quickly answer the question, it is possible. However, it is illegal, and is largely frowned upon by the Jailbreak Community. Many devs will not even speak of it, nor respond to any type of support or questions on stolen apps. And for a very good reason. Do you have any idea how long it takes to 1) Come up with a great idea for an app? 2) Map out your idea 3) Code it, ouch! 4) Publish it with Apple 5) Actually make it through their review process 6) Actually find your app high enough on the list to actually ever be seen by human eyes?
And so on and so on and so on…. Let’s just say its not that easy and leave it at that.
Please do not Jailbreak your iDevice simply to gain free apps! Come on now, you just shelled out a couple hundred bucks for this toy, can’t you afford to support the devs that worked very hard to give you that wonderful sense of ecstasy that you find in a brand new app? And don’t give me that crap of “I just downloaded it to see if I would like it…”. Piracy is stealing and stealing is wrong, even if you think that excuse sounds good, trust me it just doesn’t.
In subsequent posts I will cover many other topics. I for one am looking forward to a simple comparison of “With iOS 5.0 right around the corner, will I still have enough to gain from Jailbreaking to be worth the hassle?”. This is bound to be fun…
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