To jailbreak or not to jailbreak?

14 08 2010

There was recently a discussion going around at work about the merits of jailbreaking one’s iOS device, be it an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. There was not much in the way of debate. We all saw it mostly the same way. If you jailbreak your device, you run some risks in exchange for being able to perform some advanced tasks.

Jailbroken 2G iPod touchTo me, it seems pretty clear: if you are aware of the consequences of jailbreaking your device and you think that it is work the potential risk, then go for it, by all means. It’s your property, not Apple’s. You can do whatever you like. However, I have not yet been in the position of seeing some killer app or feature that is not available in a non-jailbroken device (an iPhone 3GS in my case) that would justify jailbreaking it.

When you jailbreak an iOS device, you are stripping away many of the checks and safeguards that Apple has put in place to make sure only apps that they approve will run. (Granted, Apple’s app vetting process is jacked but that is a discussion for another time.) You could get some kind of malware or poorly-written software on your iOS device. It could leak memory, crash the device, transmit personal information, or leave the UI in a state that does not work well.

Sure, these are extreme edge cases but they bear thinking about. When you jailbreak your iOS device, you are running certain risks. Before you dive in head first, weigh the pros and cons. Decide if what you want to do is only possible through jailbreaking and whether it is really worth the possible risks. Apple has spent a fair amount of time and money fine-tuning the iOS and the devices it runs on. It probably will not perform as well as it did in its stock state.

Once you pause and consider the variables involved here, you will be better equipped to make a decision.

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