Most everyone who has an iPhone loves it. But human nature compels us to wish for more. There are some very specific applications and functionality lacking in the native OS. Apple would have us believe that jailbreaking your iPhone makes you a bad person. Personally, I believe that once I purchase a piece of hardware I am entitled to do whatever I want with it. However, part of what makes apple products so unique is the way software and hardware works together in such harmony. So the question remains, is a jailbreak worth the trouble?
Let?s examine jailbreaking and what advantages it offers.
Apple maintains absolute control over the App Store and the applications that are available for download. The single biggest advantage to jailbreaking your phone is several applications that provide desired and some believe necessary functionality. Let?s examine:
- Categories ? My number one complaint with the current iPhone OS is how difficult the multiple home screens are to organize. The Categories app allows you to put your applications in folders. Suddenly your nine home screens can be consolidated into just two, or one.
- PdaNet ? AT&T has been promising us the ability to tether since the inception of the iPhone. Given how long it took to come through with MMS functionality, I wouldn?t hold my breath if I were you. PDA Net creates a wireless modem to use in pinch.
- Winterboard ? Wouldn?t it be nice if when you set your iPhone wallpaper it actually behaved like a wallpaper? With this app you have nearly full control over the customization of your phone. Change the dock, adjust native app icons? No problem.
- Spotbright ? The new spotlight search feature released with the 3.0 firmware upgrade was handy as an app launcher. Spotbright takes it a step further by queuing your six most recently used applications for easy launching.
- Cycorder ? Are Those of us still using the 3g iPhone any less deserving of video functionality? The iPhone camera has always had the ability to shoot video and Cycorder unlocks that feature for the rest of us.
All of these features are handy and even downright useful, but don?t be fooled. Jailbreaking isn?t all sunshine and daffodils. With the great new functionality comes a certain amount of bogginess that you just have to live with. Jailbreaking modifies the core OS, it?s major surgery for your phone. Anytime to make these kind of modifications there are bound to be side effects. My phone has been jailbroken twice and each time crashes and sluggish performance increased over the factory settings.
So, is it worth it? I?m afraid you will have to make that decision yourself. Apple maintains that hacking the hardware in this fashion violates copyright law, although most agree that this is an absurd position. And of course, hacking your phone could void your warranty, so do so only at your own risk. For the adventurous among us that do want to give it a try, you can find detailed instructions here.