Jailbreaking is becoming increasingly popular with iPhone users who want more from their phone than the App store is currently offering. The process gives you access to an endless supply of apps not available on the App Store and allows you to change almost any aspect of the phone’s internal software. It might sound good at first, but it does come with risks. It’s important to get the full picture before making your decision, so here are a few of the dangers that jailbreaking poses.
One of Apple’s greatest achievements is its security. Every app available on the App Store has been rigorously tested and approved, meaning there is practically no risk of downloading any unwanted viruses or malware. Apps available to jailbroken phones are not approved or tested. A lot of the time, this is not an issue, as Apple’s guidelines are pretty strict and many app developers with perfectly good, useful apps do not receive the stamp of approval for some technical reason. Other developers are simply unwilling to pay the fee to get their app added to the store.
Similarly, any unlicensed apps you may install, including the jailbreak software itself may have a detrimental effect on your phone’s performance. Some users have experienced slower performance speed, spontaneous reboots and reduced battery life when using certain jailbreaking software. There is even a small chance that your phone will be rendered completely unusable, or in other words “bricked”.
The jailbreak is reversible. With that in mind, if your phone is damaged to the point where you cannot even use it, whilst the jailbreak is in effect your warranty is void. Though there are no laws or regulations against jailbreaking itself, it will violate the terms of your warranty so you will be responsible for any repairs or replacements. Assuming your phone isn’t “bricked” then you can reverse the jailbreak by connecting to iTunes and restoring the device to its factory settings.
This should remove any malware, fix any problems caused by bad software and revalidate your warranty. Even if the damage is not due to any changes made by the jailbreak, your warranty will still be invalid if they find the software on your phone. So, if you jailbreak your phone and drop it in water, you’re in trouble.
These are the worst case scenario risks and will not affect everyone. It’s also important to bear in mind that there are reputable software stores available for jailbroken phone users. Cydia for example has a veritable plethora of apps available, all of which have user reviews that you can read through before committing.
Still, it is always worth being extra careful when downloading jailbreak software just in case. Always try to find reviews from users and do your homework before downloading.
If you’re happy with the risks and want to go ahead, it can be very rewarding. There are some incredibly useful apps only available to jailbroken phones. You can read about some of the benefits of successful jailbreaking in my other article here.