David, meet Goliath. iPhone Jailbreak, meet Apple Inc.
The struggle to free iPhone’s software from proprietary Apple restrictions, by way of the process dubbed “iPhone Jailbreak,” is often described as a cat and mouse game. And for good reason.
Each time Apple releases an iPhone update, the iPhone dev team scrambles to crack it. Each time the hackers find a new way to Jailbreak, Apple scrambles to develop the next best way to block them.
This back-and-forth between Apple and the Jailbreak team has been ongoing since day one, and it’s all because people want the right to do what they want with their iPhones. For example, iPhone Jailbreak lets you:
- Change the look and feel of your iPhone
- Download and save YouTube videos on your iPhone
- Record video using iPhone’s camera lens (for non-3GS users)
- Tether your iPhone to your laptop
- Set SMS privacy levels using the Kate app
- Unlock your iPhone for use on other carriers
Lofty is the list of things you can do with a Jailbroken iPhone. Loftier still is the number of complaints about the Jailbreak process on the comment thread of one of my old iPhone Jailbreak guides.
The problem is that confusion over Jailbreak software and iPhone versions makes iPhone Jailbreak impractical.
Whether an iPhone can be Jailbroken depends on its “baseband,” and if you have the wrong baseband for the Jailbreak software that you’re using, it could cause you some trouble.
In principle, I would love the freedom to modify my iPhone without restrictions, and I agree that an open iPhone is a better iPhone; but in practice I find myself too uninformed, too busy or too worried to Jailbreak my iPhone.
Is iPhone Jailbreak Worth the Trouble?
At the moment, I can’t Jailbreak my iPhone 3GS because I installed the official iPhone 3.1 update. As of this writing, you can Jailbreak an iPhone 3GS only if it runs the 3.0 software, which means you miss out on all the new augmented reality apps that are all the buzz.
The truth is I haven’t Jailbroken my iPhone lately because it’s just too complicated to keep up with all the updates, from both Apple and the iPhone Jailbreak team.
Worse, Jailbreak voids your iPhone warranty. So if your Jailbroken iPhone breaks because of a problem that was Apple’s fault, well good luck with that, because the Geniuses ain’t gonna help you — not for free anyway.
Do You Play the Cat & Mouse Game?
Do you Jailbreak your iPhone? Are the benefits of Jailbreak worth the risks? Please share your opinion in the comments.