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Geeks Union | February 24, 2017

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Understanding ‘Jailbreaking’

Understanding ‘Jailbreaking’

“Jailbreaking” is a term you may or may not have heard of.  Before an explanation of what it entails, it should first be noted that we do not recommend Jailbreaking and the post author and owner of this website cannot help anyone who chooses to use such a method in any way, including recovery should something go wrong.

A useful analogy may the comparison to the European automobile – particularly those produced to travel on roads with unrestricted speed limits.  When vehicles are shipped to other countries, the computers are programmed to forbid the car from reaching a certain speed.  In other words, a car with such a limitation may be capable of hitting speeds of 190 mph, for example, but the internal operating system within the car’s computer only allows the driver to reach speeds of 150 mph.  This is solely for the sake of illustration, as what we are talking about has nothing to do with cars…

This is meant to help people understand, in general terms, what the relative risks are when Jailbreaking a cellular or handheld device.  Just like many newer cars, they have operating systems.

In the most basic sense, Jailbreaking can be understood as follows:

“Jailbreaking allows iOS users to gain root access to the operating system, allowing them to download additional applications, extensions, and themes that are unavailable through the official Apple App Store. Jailbreaking is a form of privilege escalation, and the term has been applied to privilege escalation on other computer systems as well. The name refers to breaking the device out of its “jail.” Read more from GeekTech and PCWorld…

Now that you understand that the device you purchased likely contains restrictions, it is easy to appreciate the reasons why someone would want to access capabilities locked within an operating system.  But the risks involved should be taken into consideration before any action is taken.

First, it is possible to lose content that is not backed up using proper precautionary measures.  Second, Apple will not service a device that has been Jailbroken; thus, if a user foresees needing Apple’s help they must take note of this.

With the release of the next iPhone on the horizons, many people will be searching for ways to tap into the devices’ abilities.  For that reason, much is published for the public to read and understand, even from mainstream websites:

“[Although] Jailbreaking an iPhone allows users to gain root access to the device, as well as to install unauthorized applications . . . do not try this if your phone has an unlockable baseband (and you want to keep it that way). Your baseband is unlockable/unlocked if you can use it on any (GSM, or SIM-card-using) network. You do not want to use this method if you either purchased an unlocked iPhone from Apple or unlocked your iPhone using a tool such as Ultrasn0w.

This is a tethered jailbreak, which means that each time you reboot your iOS device, you’ll need to have it connected to a computer running Redsn0w, the jailbreak program. Basically, you won’t be able to reboot the device if you’re not close to your computer, so keep that in mind.

Before you do anything (even update to iOS 5), be sure to back up your device. How you back up depends on what type of data you have on your phone; I had a lot of photos, for instance, so I used Image Capture on my Mac to save all of my pictures to my computer.

When you jailbreak your iOS device, you risk turning your new toy into a paperweight–and if you accidentally brick your iDevice, Apple probably won’t help you out. I’ve never had any problems with jailbreaking, but that doesn’t mean you won’t, so proceed cautiously.” Read More at PCWorld…

A brief reading of the risks and rewards when it comes to jailbreaking a device are easily understood when you accept the fact that yes, you will have the ability to use your device in ways you would otherwise not be able to.  However, say goodbye to Apple support.




4 comments
dremora
dremora

Jailbreaking a device after the warranty period has expired would be a good idea. Proceeding cautiously is the key, or else you risk face the risk of bricking your phone. I had ended up bricking my N78 when I tried to root it.

Kathleen C
Kathleen C

I had overheard the term 'jailbreaking' at a recent sporting event as two guys in front of me were discussing their phones. I didn't want to appear too ignorant, so I just eavesdropped. I picked up enough to know it was something I wanted to watch out for, so this article does help fill in the gap. Thanks for doing such a fine job on it.

bledred
bledred

I had vaguely heard about people 'Jailbreaking' their devices, but I didn't know the intricacies of what it actually is. Thanks to this article, now I know a lot more about it than what I knew 30 minutes back. I guess I should wait for my warranty period to get over before deciding to get my device Jailbroken.

cellophane
cellophane

This is a very detailed, yet to-the-point article. I have a 'Jailbroken' Iphone 4 since the last few months and I can actually feel that it is much more 'closer' to me than it was before. I didn't have the confidence to do it myself, so I got it done from a friend who makes a living out of doing this.