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Should you jailbreak an iPhone: Is jailbreaking good for an iPhone or iPad? Is jailbreaking safe? The pros and cons of iOS jailbreaking

Rob Mead-Green | Sept. 7, 2015
For millions of happy users all over the world, the iPhone is fantastic just as it is. It's beautiful, elegant and easy to use, and there are thousands upon thousands of apps and oodles of content for them to choose on the App Store.

5 reasons not to jailbreak your iPhone

1. You'll invalidate your iPhone's warranty. Apple Store employees are unlikely to be sympathetic if something goes wrong.
2. Jailbreaking your iPhone will take you away from the safety of Apple's 'walled garden' and dump you into an exciting, but occasionally dangerous, hinterland filled good apps and bad apps, crashy apps and malware. A bit like being an Android user.
3. Your iPhone "just works" right out of the box. And brilliantly so. That's enough for the overwhelming majority of iPhone users.
4. Jailbreaking your iPhone is a cat and mouse game. Every update to iOS will break your jailbroken phone if you decide to update it. Or you may have to sit out and wait for an updated jailbreak to become available. That may take days, weeks or even months.
5. While being able to mod your iPhone to its very core sounds appealing, doing so can have unforeseen consequences. You may find that your iPhone crashes more often, that certain features and apps no longer work as they should and that your battery life becomes much shorter.

What else should you consider?

One of the biggest things to think about is who actually owns the iPhone you're thinking of jailbreaking. If it's yours, fire away. But what if it's a work perk or has been given to you by your mum and dad or a friend?

In either of those two scenarios it's probably wise to explain what you're planning to do with the iPhone and why you think it's a good idea. Your boss is highly unlikely to be sympathetic to your cause, especially if the jailbroken phone stops work-related apps from running properly. Or there's any doubt about the iPhone's security (on which subject more in a moment), especially if it's being used on work's networks, or to store, send or use business-critical data.

It's a slightly different scenario with friends and family. While you may be able to persuade them, things could get complicated if they're the ones who have to do the jailbreaking and/or fix any problems that may arise if something goes wrong.

Is jailbreaking legal?

We're fairly confident that it is, but it's surprisingly murky territory, with a lack of test cases to establish the matter definitively one way or the other.

Security expert Kenneth van Wyk, focusing on the legal situation in the US, writes:

"Is [jailbreaking] legal? Apparently it is, at least in the US. In 2010, the US Copyright Office declared jailbreaking to be an exception to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. But the situation is not exactly cut and dried. See here for more information, but it seems that jailbreaking an iPhone in the US remains legal, while doing the same to an iPad is not. The bottom line is this: if you're at all concerned about the legality of jailbreaking your device, you're probably well advised to abstain."

 

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