Jailbreaking your iPhone is a bit like having an affair. At first, you know you loved her. But the limitations the relationship puts on you – and the thrill of the unknown – are too strong to ignore. And with the one-click solution of JailBreakMe.com – well, no one would ever know.
I took the plunge and decided to jailbreak. Here are my experiences: some good, some bad – one particularly ugly.
To jailbreak to my phone, it couldn’t have been easier. Simply navigate Safari to JailBreakMe.com and then rub the “slide to begin” link to activate the jailbreak. While the first two attempts proved in vain (the server was overloaded, by philanders like myself), the third attempt worked perfectly – quickly, even. It was perhaps too easy; my phone was jailbroken within six minutes. I had done it. I was free of Apple’s shackles. Now what?
Taking Advantage of Jail Breaking
I decided to make full use of my jailbroken phone. The plan was to set-up tethering for free, which would save me around £10/month. This was not as easy as it sounded. First, a tethering app need to be download, for which MyFi recommended. It cost money, however, and there was surely no point in jailbreaking a phone to avoid paying money legitimately, to then pay moeny elsewhere.
It does come with an eight-day free trial, however, so it was downloaded. Using the Cydia App Store, you can view various categories or search for apps – and it was listed there. Even with the trial, it didn’t seem to work for me. My computer couldn’t get an IP address through the phone.
Then I tried another one – PDANet. It worked perfectly. It’s a little less-friendly to set-up, as you have to set-up an ad-hoc Wi-Fi connection on your computer first. Once that is done, however, simply connect the PDANet app to it and you can browse away using your iPhone. Once you get the hang of it, it is an extremely quick and efficient process. It is, however, against most service plans terms of service. While Jailbreaking is legal now (at least in the US), the descent into contract-breaking begins here.
Taking Advantage of Developers
I decided, in the interests of this article, to try and install some unpaid for applications. Using the app Installous (available from Cydia) I browsed for applications and tried to download some. It was as unreliable as MyWi.
This whole jailbreak experience has added unreliability to my iPhone experience, something that had never occurred when staying within Apple’s constraints.
After 10 mis-downloaded apps, I finally managed to get one that worked: Cannabalt. It felt great to play the classic game on my phone. Then it felt bad to steal from the developers who gave me the pleasure.
Luckily, connecting to my iTunes rectified this. If you sync your apps to your iTunes, any illegally downloaded apps will automatically be deleted. Thank you, iTunes, for being my conscience.
The Legal Highs
It would be a lie to say that jailbreaking is simply a trip to the dark side. In my travels through that free-world, I did come across some useful apps, all denied their liberty by Apple. One is called Cyntacts, which displays the pictures of contacts next to their name on the contact list. Kind of like how the Skype app does.
Another useful addition to my phone was SBSettings. This lets the user swipe along the top of the screen to see a menu of easy-to-change settings. Use it to turn off Wi-Fi, 3G, Data, adjust the brightness or even hide applications. It comes in particularly useful for anyone who changes their settings a lot, or who has a secret double life.
I don’t know whether it was the Manga downloading software or the Unlimited Movies for Free app – maybe it was the SNES emulator. But something pushed my iPhone over the edge. It was never in danger of breaking permanently, however it did have to operate in Safe Mode – which disables all your jailbroken apps.
To fix it, you can either delete the app causing the program (I tried all of them, none worked), or plug the handset into iTunes and restore the whole system. This returns the phone to exactly how you got it – no pictures, no music, no personalisation.
After the factory reset, I jailbroke it again. This time, however, I was much pickier about what apps I installed. There are still plenty of apps that have caught my eye – most of them listed by Gizmodo. The most tempting is Wi-Fi Sync, for syncing files without a cable. The idea of paying nine dollars for an app that I may lose as soon as Apple updates the phone, however, does not appeal to me. Indeed, my phone is jailbroken, but the only app I use regularly is SBSettings.
And that’s about the story of jailbreaking. It makes things more likely to go wrong, and if they do, it’s a bit more of a hassle to put them back. If you want things to just work, keep your iPhone the way it is. If you like to explore your phone’s full potential, maybe you should jailbreak. If that’s the case, however, one might wonder why you didn’t get an Android handset in the first place.