Apple really hates jailbreaking. Up until a US LoC DMCA Injunction in 2010 ruled it legal, Apple quite adamantly argued that modifying the software on the phones they produced was an illegal act. Nonetheless, iOS device hacking has been going on since George Hotz hacked his iPhone to work on the Deutsche Telekom US mobile network in 2007.
I’d like to offer a disclaimer before we go into their latest FUD attack: I’m not advising against jailbreaking or rooting. If it’s your device, you can do whatever you care to do with it.
Apple’s latest tactic comes in the form of a knowledge base bulletin from 2013-02-03. Their six alleged concerns are Instability, Security vulnerabilities, Shortened battery life, Unreliable voice/data, disruption of services, and Inability to apply future software updates. I’m going to go over the version of these concerns that don’t involve standing in the reality distortion field.
- Instability: While it is true that jailbreaking can cause instability of an iOS device, this is ordinarily caused by excessive usage of mods or poorly written mods. It can lead to loss of data, but this is an exceptionally rare possibility.
- Security vulnerabilities: Yes, it opens vulnerabilities. The general rule of thumb is to change default UNIX passwords to something other than ‘alpine’ so you don’t get hacked through SSH, and don’t install any mods that open vulnerabilities unless you need the functionality or know how to secure it.
- Shortened battery life: This one goes back to using an excessive number of modifications or using poorly written mods. Be reasonable with the mods! After all, you’re using a phone/tablet/pda, not a desktop computer.
- Unreliable voice and data: This one is a head scratcher. Unless you’ve borked the baseband (which you wouldn’t, unless you badly unlocked it), there’s almost no chance for jailbreaking to unexpectedly drop calls or fail to send/receive data.
- Disruption of services: This one is partially true. Sometimes jailbreaks cause built in features to stop working. Chances are these will be found and fixed by the team that originally released your jailbreak, and probably in short order.
- Inability to apply future software updates: This one is also partially true. If you jailbreak, you can’t apple over-the-air updates as Apple publishes them. If you want to update, you must use iTunes on a PC or Mac. The article also expresses that jailbreaking can permanently brick your device, an utter falsehood. Apple has built a fail-safe into all iOS devices since the original iPhone that permits you to at least flash the firmware back on your device through iTunes: It’s called DFU mode. It’s pretty much impossible to permanently brick an iOS device.
The moral of this story is jailbreak if you want to. There are obviously pros and cons to both jailbreaking and running stock, but none of them are so fatal that you should be denied the right to choose for yourself. Happy hacking, everyone!