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JailBreak: Is Your iPhone Jailbroken?

Updated on June 17, 2013
Not a literal interpretation.
Not a literal interpretation. | Source

Jailbreak? What?

What's a Jailbreak?

Apple cares about you. To that end, they engineered their iPhones, iPads, and some iPods to refuse some software installations.

It's nice to know that someone cares. What's a Jailbreak?

Only third-party applications that have been signed by Apple are permitted to run on the devices.


Signing is a process whereby software is given a secret code assuring your iPad, iPhone, or iPod that Apple thinks the program probably won't hurt you. Apple issues the secret codes.

That's a relief, I guess. What does "third party" mean?

A third party is anyone who is not you and who is not Apple. Apple is the first party, you are the second party, and everyone else is the third party.

Why should I care about third parties?

Probably the majority of software applications for iPads, iPhones, and iPods is written by third parties.

Are third parties evil?

Third parties are not necessarily evil, but neither are they guaranteed to be safe and reliable. Installing any third party software on your iDevice represents a risk. Theoretically, third party software that has been signed by Apple is less likely to hurt your gizmo.

Is your phone stuck in a Mexican prison?
Is your phone stuck in a Mexican prison? | Source

This is all moderately interesting, but I still don't know what a Jailbreak is.

Jailbreak is a slang term referring to an Apple device that has been 'modified' to accept unsigned third party software.

Is this a bad thing?

Your warranty will probably become null and void. Apple can tell if your iPad, iPhone, or iPod has been jailbroken. When you return it for warranty service, they may refuse to help you.

Do I want to be jailbroken?

Deciding to jailbreak is a personal choice. If you are happy with your device and you have no deep seated yearning to install unsigned software, then you're probably better off remaining un-jailbroken.

Why isn't all software signed?

Some software developers simply don't want to take the time to submit to Apple's evaluation and certification processes. A 12 year-old programming in her parent's basement probably doesn't care about obtaining a seal of approval from Apple. On the other hand, some software remains unsigned because it actually is malicious. Believe it or not, Apple products are not completely impervious to viruses.

How do I get jailbreaked?

First of all, please stop using bizarre forms of the word jailbreak.

OK. My bad.

Following that, you may wish to visit any number of web sites that will attempt to jailbreak your device free of charge. It's actually a rather simple process these days because some Apple platforms are not all that secure. Whatever else they might do to you is unknown. Some sites exist for the benefit of mankind; some are looking to take over your iPad, iPhone, or iPod for any number of reasons.

No jailbreaking sites are listed here: proceed with that process at your own risk.

What's root permission?

The operating system running on iPads, iPhones, and iPads is programmed to recognize a permission-based login structure. In other words, the stuff you are allowed to do with your device is a function of how you logged in to the device. If you didn't log in, then your gizmo is configured with a default login account. The user account with the highest level of permissions is called root or root user. Generally, you never want to log on as root because it's too easy to make significant mistakes and cause significant problems.

What's root permission got to do with Jailbreaking?

Jailbreaking an Apple device usually involves giving root permissions to you or to the programs that run on your device. If the third party programmer made a logic error or intentionally installed a virus, running that program as root could be disastrous.

But! There's this really cool unsigned program that I absolutely must have!

Sorry, but But! isn't a sentence.

Irregardless of that, what should I do?

Sorry, but "irregardless" is ... never mind. Anyway, jailbreaking is a personal choice and should not be taken lightly. You may want to browse for an equivalent program that has been digitally signed. If you store mission-critical information on your iPad, iPod, or iPhone, be sure to carefully consider the ramifications of jailbreaking.

I have a Jailbroken phone

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    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 7 years ago from Ohio, USA

      @Anonymous: Very good point. Perhaps we need a hub on the concept of "mission-critical" information as well.

    • profile image

      Anonymous 7 years ago

      Pro tip: don't store mission-critical information on your iPad, iPod, or iPhone. Ever.