This post is part of a 4 part series that overviews jailbreaking, addresses common misconceptions about the process, discusses its pros and cons, and describes how perform a jailbreak on iOS 6 on your iPhone, iPad (Mini), or iPod Touch.
There are many misconceptions that exist about jailbreaking and prevent people from performing the process on their device. In this post, part 2 of a 4 part series, I will address some of the most common ones. If you missed Lesson 1: An Overview of Jailbreaking, check it out here. Also check out Lesson 3: Pros and Cons of Jailbreaking and Lesson 4: How to Perform a Jailbreak.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the misconceptions.
Misconception #1: Jailbreaking is illegal. – Although the term “jailbreak” might make the process seem shady or suggest that it’s illegal, that simply isn’t the case. Jailbreaking is legal in the United States. If you live in a different part of the world, you may want to research the legality of jailbreaking in your country. There are aspects of jailbreaking that could be illegal, however. As mentioned in the previous article, Cydia, which serves as an app store for jailbroken devices, utilizes repositories. These “repos” function like channels from which jailbreak packages can be downloaded. There are some repositories on Cydia that can be added that offer cracked (or pirated) packages which are illegal. The repos included in Cydia by default, however, do not carry cracked apps and are perfectly legal. It’s always a good idea to research the legality of a repo before adding it. For most people, though, the default repositories in Cydia offer more than enough legal content.
Misconception #2: Jailbreaking will permanently mess up my device. – While it is possible for a user to install a package or combination of packages that doesn’t get along well with their device, it would be very difficult to do permanent, irreparable, or irreversible damage. First of all, jailbreaks include a safeguard called Mobile Substrate Safe Mode. If an app or tweak causes the device to crash, it will reboot into this safe mode, effectively disabling the tweak so that it can be removed if necessary. This creates a safety net that prevents something from going horribly wrong. Secondly, if “irreparable” damage is done and the device is unresponsive there are a number of options available. In many cases, the jailbreak software originally used to jailbreak the device has tools included to bring a device out of an unresponsive state. If all else fails, however, it is almost always possible to simply restore the device to a factory state through iTunes. While this may mean temporarily or permanently losing the device’s jailbroken state, it gives a lot of peace of mind to know that performing a full system restore is an option.
Misconception #3: Jailbreaking will slow down my device, make it unstable, or decrease its battery life. – While the process of jailbreaking itself has virtually no effect on the speed of a device, occasionally after installing a package from Cydia users may notice a drop in the performance of their device. This is especially true if the package is memory intensive. However, developers are generally reliable at releasing streamlined updates to their packages if memory consumption is an issue. That said, most newer iOS devices such as the latest version of the iPad, the iPad Mini, and the iPhone 5 have powerful enough processors that excess memory consumption would only be an issue if a user installs an excessive number of packages. I currently have more than 40 jailbreak packages installed on my iPhone 5 and hardly notice any lag due to excessive memory consumption.
In terms of stability, developers are generally good at testing their packages thoroughly so that stability is rarely an issue. As mentioned in the previous section, though, if a tweak is unstable or negatively impacts the performance of the device, the user can simply uninstall it.
When it comes to battery life, generally increased memory usage leads to reduced battery life, so it could be possible that certain jailbreak tweaks could lead to shortened battery life. However, this is also true for apps found on Apple’s own App Store. Users just need to be smart about which apps and packages they install, whether from the App Store or Cydia, and weigh their benefits against the potential for reduced battery life.
Misconception #4: Jailbreaking is difficult to do. – Over the last few years, jailbreak software has gotten more and more user friendly. The most effective tool to jailbreak iOS 6x untethered, a program called Evasi0n, simply requires the user to download the software, connect their device to their computer via a sync cable, and click a button. The entire jailbreaking process that follows takes less than ten minutes.
I hope this post has cleared up some common misconceptions about jailbreaking iOS devices. In Lesson 3 in this series we’ll take a deeper look at some of the pros and cons of jailbreaking, which will hopefully help you decide if jailbreaking is for you.