What Is Jailbreaking and Is It Illegal?


JailbreakingHave you ever seen five icons in the dock on any iPhone? Or probably classic console emulator on an iPad? Well, these apps can only be found on App store with a hack called ‘Jailbreaking’.

Some users are happy with their iPhones being fantastic just as it is. Although, there are many others who want freedom over security and thus, they go for jailbreaking!

So what is Jailbreaking? How does it work? What does it do to your iPhone? What are the risks involved? Is it safe? Is it legal? Read on this article, to find all the answers to your questions.


what is jailbreaking?

Jailbreaking a smartphone can be described as use of an exploit for removing manufacture restrictions from an iPhone or iPad. It involves a privilege escalation attack on the iPhone that replaces manufacturer’s factory-installed OS with a custom kernel.


Besides Apple devices, there are many gaming consoles, tablets and smartphones that have a layer of DRM (Digital Rights Management) software on them. DRM is for security purposes. Jailbreaking these devices means hacking them to bypass DRM restrictions that can allow users to run unauthorized software on the operating system.

In technical terms, it is a process of installing modified set of kernel patches on the device. It also gives users root-level access, which is otherwise not available.

Why Jailbreak?

For better or worse, Apple iOS has many restrictions. To make it on Apple App store, apps need to adhere the strict guidelines made by Apple. Basically, these stringent restrictions exist for maintaining the overall quality of the apps. However, there are many apps that don’t make cut (apps like WiliLeaks).


On opening app store, there are many apps on which you can only check the app on App store but cannot install on your phone. And this leaves you only with Jailbreaking as an option.


Reasons to jailbreak your device

  1. It is your phone. You should be able to do anything that you want with your phone.
  2. User can not only download apps from the App Store but from anywhere.
  3. You can avail alternatives to the default apps in iOS. These alternative apps even have more functionality.
  4. You can even customize your phone’s feel and look according to your personality than rather being stuck to the limited options of the device.
  5. You can tether your Apple Mac with your iPhone and diverse your network.

Why Not Jailbreak?

However, you must know that Jailbreak comes with some inherent risks. It can open gates for malicious attacks. Besides, since jailbreak apps don’t adhere to apple guidelines, many users who have jailbreaked their devices often complaint about decreased battery life, increased data usage and general instability.


Reasons not to jailbreak your device

  1. You will invalidate the device’s warranty. Usually, the manufacturers are unlikely to be sympathetic if something is wrong with your device and you’re at fault.
  2. iPhones are usually known for their security; they don’t get hacked and keep cell phones secured. Jailbreaking your phone will make your phone accessible to bad and crashy apps and malware.
  3. Jailbreaking your device is like a mouse and cat race. Every iOS update will break the jailbroken phone if you wish to update it. You may have to wait for updated jailbreak to be available.
  4. Although, jailbreaking your phone may seem appealing, you can face unforeseen consequences; the device might crash even more; certain apps and features may no longer work.

Is Jailbreaking Legal?

Among many questions about jailbreaking, this question has always been a complicated one. In the United States, jailbreaking is considered to be legal.


You’ve probably heard about U.S. Digital Millennium copyright Act of 1998 (The DMCA). This law regulated pirated software; it made a crime to hack any security measure added by the copyright owner or manufacturer to their device for preventing it from being used in an unauthorized manner.

In July 2010, the Library of Congress directed some new rules which referred as fair use of copyright materials. DMCA authorized Library of Congress for making revisions to the law because of ever changing and constant changes of intellectual property and digital media. These rules explicitly and officially made it legal to unlock mobile phones and other similar devices by manually hacking them or by the use of automated jailbreak software.

Some modders and hackers believe that jailbreaking is a right and should be allowed in any country. However, Apple continued to plead with authorities to outlaw this practice.

Jailbreaking vs. Unlocking & Rooting

Jailbreaking, unlocking and rooting, all these three terms describe freeing your gadget from its restricted limitations. Although, you must understand that, all three don’t mean the same thing. Rooting and jailbreaking have similar purposes; to get access to the entire file system and are used for either Android or iOS. Unlocking is different, it means being able to use the mobile phone on different networks.

In short, the difference between jailbreaking and rooting is that jailbreak is used for Apple iOS devices while rooting is used for Android devices. Both the terms actually mean the same but have two different names for the two mobile operating systems.

How to jailbreak or root your device?

Although, rooting and jailbreaking may seem complicated, they are fairly easy to do with tools like SuperOneclick and JailbreakMe. For Android devices, ensure that rooting method is compatible with particular device. Don’t forget to take backup of your devices before jailbreaking it.

Is jailbreaking safe?

An alternative to Apple App Store is Cydia App Store, which thousands of jailbreak apps and tweaks are available. But, most of these apps are hugely unscreened because of lack of central authority. There are high chances that installing apps from Cydia could potentially contain malware and infect your phone with Trojans, spyware and adware.


So, the answer to whether jailbreaking is safe is NO. But, if you are one of those advanced users who understand the risks associated with jailbreaking, you can easily jailbreak your phone. If you like freedom over security, jailbreaking may be an excellent option.