What is Jailbreaking, How does jailbreaking work? Why do jailbreaking? Jailbreaking of iPhones and iPads explained

You may have heard from your friend who owns an iPhone saying that he has jailbroken it. You may have wondered what actually is jailbreaking.┬áLately, the term “jailbreaking” has been doing the rounds of the internet. While it may sound like a vague illicit term, it has nothing to do with breaking out of prison. You may have heard of iOS. Consider Apple’s iOS ecosystem to be a jail and to escape it using a hack is jailbreaking. To know the detailed explanation of what is jailbreaking and its uses, read on…

What is jailbreaking?

Jailbreaking is basically used in connection with the iPhone, the most ‘locked down’ of the mobiles on sale today. iOS jailbreaking is the process of removing software restrictions imposed by iOS, Apple Inc’s operating system, on its devices including the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and second-generation Apple TV. Jailbreaking is done by using software exploits, and it permits root access to the iOS file system and manager, so applications, extensions, and themes unavailable through the official Apple App Store can be downloaded.

In general, Jailbreaking in general means breaking the device out of its “jail.” It allows you to install apps that haven’t been approved by Apple, customise the interface in various ways, and generally make iOS more like Android.

While Apple naturally wants all its users to run safe apps and stable software, jailbreakers select to take a little more risk for a little more control over their devices. The term is also used in reference to various other devices, from Android smartphones to Kindle e-readers.

A history of jailbreaking

When it comes to computer science, a jailbreak comprises removing restrictions of some kind in the software on a device. The term first became prevalent in regards to the iPhone. It is a hack that gains access to areas of the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad that users are not supposed to mess with. Typically, this is an immediate prelude to either installing cool programs, unlocking the handset for use with another cellular network, or both.

Since it first appeared, the term “jailbreaking” has been used to refer to adapting the code on several other devices, from phones to games consoles. There’s no one fixed definition, so people sometimes use it to talk about putting custom software on mobiles or removing DRMrestrictions on movies.

It’s closely connected to terms like “cracking” (software) or “rooting” (phones). The latter process is a little bit like the Android version of a jailbreak, getting around protections put in place by manufacturers to install alternative mobile OSes like CyanogenMod. These terms are sometimes interchangeable.

Jailbreaking is still most often used in reference to iPhones: iOS jailbreaking started as soon as the original iPhone became available in July 2007 and as of June 2016 has continued into the present day. Apple has responded with updates to iOS patching exploits and with new hardware. In order to apply a jailbreak, you will have to generally pause automatic iOS updates.

One of the reasons for jailbreaking is to expand the feature set limited by Apple and its App Store. However, with iPhone apps now given more access to the OS, jailbreaking is rarer than once it was, and majority of the people won’t even think of doing it. However, if you actually want to control the way your iPhone looks and works, it’s relatively simple to do and won’t cost you anything… although there are disadvantages.

The results of jailbreaking

In general, jailbreaking give you more charge over your device: for instance, installing your own screensavers on a Kindle, or adding extra icons to the iPhone home screen dock. Instead, of Amazon or Apple or anyone else, you become the ‘administrator’ of your device with all the appropriate rights.

You can install any app from the Cydia store after a jailbreak as far as the iPhone is concerned. A good example of this would be retro gaming emulators that are excluded by Apple from its own app store, as they let you play older computer games without buying the original copies. However, it is freely available on Cydia.

You can make changes to numerous aspects of the iOS interface, replace Safari and Messages with alternative default apps, and so on. In contrast, you will no longer be able to receive automatic updates for each new version of iOS directly from Apple. In this case, you will be required to wait for the appropriate hack from the jailbreaking community.

Since, you have more control over your device there are security risks too as well as on all the apps that run on it. Jailbreaking also allows software piracy, so apps and games can be distributed for free. Basically, you are entrusting the developers of all the apps you install rather than Apple.

Most iPhone security scares only affect jailbroken phones because they don’t have the same security measures in place as standard iOS. So, the decision is entirely yours if you think it is worth taking the risks for that extra flexibility. However, at the same time, you also need to watchful if you are thinking about jailbreaking a device.

How a jailbreak works

A jailbreak basically ‘unlocks’ a device to give it skills beyond those allowable by the manufacturer that made it. Usually, forums and sites by hacking communities who want to promote unlimited device use provide jailbreak code for free.

Currently, much to Apple’s annoyance, the legal status of jailbreaking is unclear in most countries; while many prohibit tampering with digital locks they tolerate jailbreaks that do not infringe on copyrights. You will definitely void the warranty on your phone if you jailbreak though, which means if something goes wrong you have absolutely got no safety net to fall back on.

While most jailbreaks come with desktop tools and full instructions to apply the new code, it will also be helpful if you have some technical knowledge as well. As mentioned earlier, new updates from Apple (or Amazon or whoever) usually stop jailbreaks from working, so you will have to frequently disable automatic updates along the way.

Finally, if you are making a decision to get into the world of jailbreaking, you may have to be prepared for a little bit of trial and error. Also, it would be advisable to do some research online and get to know the pro and cons of jailbreaking before plunging in.