iPhone Jailbreak: Worth the Trouble?

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.

6 thoughts on “iPhone Jailbreak: Worth the Trouble?”

  1. what applications can you download if you jailbreak your iphone.please send me websites and names.i want to really assess if its really worth the risk.

  2. I think you’re right in the way you present this. I don’t think you are lazy; I don’t know you well enough from reading one article you wrote. Sounds like your critic is a jerk. Any rate, I think most people that carry an iPhone 3G or 3GS don’t have the time, it’s not worth breaking the warranty, and/or they are lazy. Also people are probably afraid to jailbreak when their warranty is valid. My advice is this: if you want to jailbreak your phone, do it after your warranty expires and don’t get the warranty extension for sixty-some bucks. It reminds me of people buying a new car & wondering if the car company will find out after they modified it to go faster. It didn’t stop many Honda owners because they knew their cars atleast as good as dealer mechanics. So if you know your stuff and measured the risks do it if you really want to.

  3. I’m with you – would love the features, but not worth the complications. Especially since all warranties and service off if you’ve jailbroken the phone.

    However, that doesn’t mean I don’t dislike the stitch-up between Apple and the phone companies. I understand the commercial benefits to them. And, I hate them for it!

  4. You’ve done a great job with The iPhone Blogging, Alvin. Tons of info on Jailbreak. I’m impressed.

    Larry, I like to think of myself as just an iPhone user with a blog. I only really talk about and review things that interest me, so there might be some value in that, depending on who you ask. I definitely see the value of Jailbreak, but so far I’ve been impatient with the constant updates and baseband requirements, so I haven’t yet bothered to do it again.

  5. C’mon man, get real! What you are saying is that you are too lazy to apply one of the most valuable tech procedures available for the iphone,namely one that gives us the ability to use software not available from the app store. Furthermore, jail breaking goes hand in hand with unlocking, so without the jailbreak technology, very possibly we all would have to have an at&t contract to use an iphone. Frankly, I am shocked by the attitude of this article. You can go on reviewing silly games, since this is what most people seem interested in, or you can write about valuable insights on the tech frontier. Since I do not need you to help me play silly putty or some other inane game, what is the use of your blog if it does not help with the tech behind the machine?


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