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Should I Jailbreak My Phone if I Hate My Wireless Carrier?

It really depends on how much of a gamer you are

You may not know this just by looking at it, but your standard iPhone is itself, incarcerated. Why else would there be an entire school of mobile-phone philosophy that believes that to truly experience the computing power of your smartphone, you have to break that sucker out of jail

What are you even talking about, man?

Think of a jailbroken phone as the equivalent to using the dark web. It’s basically the wild west of phone applications and customization tools, freeing your phone from the shackles of software restrictions imposed by Apple or any other smartphone manufacturer. 

Apple, in particular, is well-known for having one of the most stable and secure operating systems around. But a consequence of such stringent security measures is that it prevents third-party app creators from exploiting some of the potential customizable features your iPhone is capable of. Jailbreaking more or less overrides this.

Why are you bringing this up now?

Other than the fact that there’s a fervent Reddit community of people who insist that the jailbroken phone is the best way to go, in May, a renowned iPhone hacking team released one of the more intuitive and user-friendly “jailbreak” softwares that unlocks the latest iPhone operating systems. “The jailbreak, released by the unc0ver Team, supports all iPhones that run iOS 11 and above, including up to iOS 13.5, which Apple released this week,” TechCrunch reported at the time. 

I’m still not sure I understand why anyone would want to take the time to tinker with their iPhone’s software?

It’s all so you can download sweet apps that grant you the ability to customize nearly every standard feature Apple has to offer. For example, most recently, the subreddit for jailbroken iPhone enthusiasts was thrilled about a new app called NotiFill, which “gives banner notifications a fun and quirky ‘fill’ animation.”

That’s cool, I guess…? Is there anything else?

One of the main reasons why jailbreaking your iPhone gained such popularity in the early 2010s is because once your iPhone is jailbroken, you gain access to emulators — software that enables your iPhone to behave like another computer. This, in turn, opens up your operating system so that you can play an expansive library of old Nintendo and PlayStation games on your phone. 

Okay, now you’ve got my attention. How do I do this?

There’s a host of ways to jailbreak your iPhone depending on which version of the OS it’s currently running on. As mentioned above, unc0ver is one of the easiest and safest ways to do so. Not to mention, it’s also among the few options that can jailbreak recent iOS releases. You start by downloading the AltStore application to your computer. Next, you connect your iPhone to your computer and download the application to said phone. From there, per WikiHow, you can install the jailbreak tool from directly from your iPhone’s browser. 

That seems easy enough. But are there any potential issues with jailbreaking my iPhone?

First and foremost, as soon as you jailbreak that bad boy, you’ve effectively terminated any and all warranties that Apple offers. But more importantly, although jailbreaking gives you access to a bevy of new apps and customization tools, it also puts the health of your iPhone at greater risk. According to Macworld, you may find that your jailbroken iPhone “crashes more often, that certain features and apps no longer work as they should and that your battery life becomes much shorter.” 

Additionally, you’ll have to jailbreak your iPhone every time there’s an update. “Or you may have to sit out and wait for an updated jailbreak to become available,” reports Macworld. “That may take days, weeks or even months.”

The irony here, according to several redditors, is that despite the fact that Apple doesn’t want you to jailbreak your iPhone, their software engineers actually use the jailbreak community to develop better apps and software. In fact, in 2017, Jonathan Zdziarski, an active jailbreaker for years, accepted an offer to join Apple’s Security Engineering and Architecture Team. “Zdziarski was known as NerveGas in the iOS hacking community,” reports Cult of Mac. “He also provided expert analysis and insight during Apple’s battle with the FBI to hack the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone 5C.”

Woah! So this jailbreaking stuff is pretty legit.

It definitely is. You just need to decide if you’re willing to risk the occasional software glitch and malware attack in order to play vintage Mario Kart on your phone.