Should You Jailbreak or Not? Everything You Need to Know Before You Jailbreak Your Device

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By Karla Danica Figuerres | February 15, 2014 9:58 AM EST

The Evad3rs team recently launched the evasi0n jailbreak tool for free. If you have been contemplating about jailbreaking your device, here are a couple of things that you need to know before you dive in.

A woman looks at the screen of her mobile phone in front of an Apple logo outside its store in downtown Shanghai September 10, 2013.

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What is a jailbreak?

Basically, jailbreak is the process of removing the sandbox protection that Apple puts on its iOS products. The jailbreak allows users to install software that are not reviewed by Apple and it allows users to access unpermitted files, which opens endless possibilities of customising iOS devices.

Is it legal?

Yes, at least in the U.S. In 2010, the U.S. Copyright Office declared that jailbreaking is exempted from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. However, while jailbreaking an iPhone in the U.S. is legal, doing the same to an iPad is not.

Is it safe?

Jailbreaks usually remove iOS app sandboxing completely even after the device has been booted up. At this point, apps run in a privilege state where they can read or write anywhere on the device. A jailbroken device has the file protection of a Windows 3.1 system and every app can get to anything.

A number of malware incidents have occurred in the jailbroken devices and this is one thing that you might need to consider before you jailbreak your device. Burdens do come with jailbroken devices and you must keep in mind that you need to be hyper cautious in allowing apps in your unprotected environment.

What are the advantages of a jailbreak?

If you are an app developer, jailbreaking is a gift as you can accurately peruse the normally off limits entire filesystem for data leakages like the cut-and-paste buffer and spell checker key log among others. If you are not a developer, customisation is the best thing you can get from a jailbroken device

In a nutshell, jailbreaking can be both liberating and exhilarating but keep in mind that if you wish to jailbreak your device, you must be at least ready to swim in an open sea of unreviewed apps. For the majority of users, jailbreaking can be plain unnecessary and it comes with unjustifiable risks. 

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(Photo: REUTERS / Aly Song)
A woman looks at the screen of her mobile phone in front of an Apple logo outside its store in downtown Shanghai September 10, 2013.
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