Jailbreaking: should I-shouldn’t I?


You’ve probably heard rumours both good and bad about jail-breaking smartphones and tablets of the Apple variety. Like many things, jail-breaking is a risk each user takes with both benefits and draw-backs.

The term ‘Jailbreaking’ is evocative of daring night-time prison-busts, with spotlights and swarms of cops, but the reality is much more mundane.

‘Jailbreaking’ is simply the process by which limitations are removed from Apple devices. Jailbroken devices have a greater access to files and programmes than standard devices, and once jailbroken, users can install unreviewed software and access other types of files to customise the iOS. These can range from enabling Adobe Flash, to downloading all sorts of apps for free.

Sounds great, doesn’t it?

Having the freedom to control your iPhone or iPad is quite nice! But many people are still hesitant about breaking out of the sandbox, because there are risks involved in jailbreaking any Apple product, one of which is invalidation of the warranty.

The draw for many people is the ability to rifle through the App Store and pick out the ones you like, free of charge.

However, having the ability to download any app you like (for free, using certain additional software) is a double-edged sword. On the one hand you’re getting free stuff! On the other hand, these free apps haven’t been reviewed and vetted; you simply don’t know who made them or where they came from, and this opens your device up to potential malware, data exfiltration, and viral attacks.

Once your device is jailbroken, you must exercise hyper-caution over which apps to download, as every app you have will have access to everything. It’s pretty easy for criminals to design a programme that will turn your iPhone into an expensive paperweight, so constant vigilance is key.

Choosing whether or not to jailbreak your device is entirely up to you. If you are confident you know what you are doing, then the jail-broken world is your oyster. But if you’re hesitant and sitting on the fence, then the world of jailbreaking is not for you.

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