Img Credit: Paul
Apple (or better said, Steve Jobs) has always been good at creating products that revolutionize the market and something in people’s lives. The Mac, the iPod, and recently the iPhone and iPad – all of them have changed the way people think about these different electronic devices.
The iPhone and iPod Touch are great universal smartphones that can be used for a variety of purposes, and the iPad is an extension of that, bringing a bigger screen that allows the user much more freedom and choice of apps and tasks to run.
For a regular user, the stock iOS operating system that powers all these devices is more than enough, but power users have started to notice that there are a few limitations, which serve no purpose for them and shouldn’t be there. These limitations are put in place mostly because cell networks need them to have more profits, and to make it impossible to break the phone by inexperienced users, and while the former is a pretty bad reason for this, the latter is perfectly valid and even desirable.
But, of course, there is a workaround these limits, and the process is called “jailbreaking”. Jailbroken iPhones, iPods and iPads give the user full access to the file system and therefore, access to a wider variety of features. The apps that make these features possible are not present on the iTunes marketplace, that’s why third party marketplaces have been established, the most popular of which is Cydia. To give you an idea what a jailbroken iDevice can do, here are just a few of the apps that you can install on one.
Intelliscreen. This is a great app that lets you use widgets on the lock screen. You can insert any kind of widget, from email notifications to task lists. If you ever wanted to have quick access to such information and hated the fact that you had to unlock the phone first, this is the app for you.
OpenSSH. A system administrator or website owner can’t go anywhere without a trusty client to access their server remotely. OpenSSH does just that, but it can only work on jailbroken phones, for which it is available on the Cydia marketplace. With it, you can access your server via SSH and change any settings you want, no matter where you are.
iPhoneModem. Using the iPhone as a wireless router and modem is one the first things that comes to mind when you think “Internet on the iPhone”. A big laptop (or even netbook!) screen is always better for viewing full sized web pages, not to mention the thousands of Flash-enabled sites and video sites like Youtube. But you can’t do it on a stock iPhone, because otherwise you wouldn’t pay a tethering fee to the network you’re with. With a jailbroken iPhone, you can do it easily (but you still break the network’s ToS, so be careful).
Winterboard. Winterboard is the best apps out there for jailbroken iOS devices that will let you customize the look of your home screen and menus. You can change icons, wallpapers, settings and much more.
AppBackup. AppBackup is the best app for doing a full backup of your iPhone and iPad, and being able to restore it anytime, even on a new device. It doesn’t work on stock iPhones because it needs full access to all the files on the phone, and a jailbreak is exactly what you need to make it work.
Fring. Fring has not been able to feature their app on the iTunes marketplace, because it lets you make cheap and free calls and send messages to anyone in the world, to mobile phone numbers, landlines, Skype users, AIM, Yahoo, MSN, Google Talk and other services, using a 3G or Wifi data connection. But, of course, it is still available for the iPhone and iPad, and you can get it on the Cydia marketplace for a jailbroken device.
If you feel like you need more freedom with your iPhone and are aware of the risks (which are minimal, but still there), you should definitely try to jailbreak your Apple product, but if you’re happy with the way your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad currently is, it’s probably better to leave it that way.