What is Jailbreaking? Are There Any Risks Involved?

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With the iOS 6.1 untethered jailbreak for virtually every iPhone, iPad and iPod touch model just days away, now is a good time to remind everyone about what jailbreaking actually consists of. Moreover, details about the jailbreaking process and any associated risks follows.

  • What is the purpose of jailbreaking? Jailbreaking allows you to install third-party applications, tweaks, mods, themes, useful utilities, and other content (called “packages”) from Cydia, the jailbreak equivalent of the App Store on iOS. Jailbreaking essentially allows for you to further customize and enhance your iOS device beyond the limits that Apple imposes.
  • What is the legal status of jailbreaking? Jailbreaking is officially declared as legal in the United States, based on an exemption made to the U.S. Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) allowing for modifications of this nature. Nevertheless, by jailbreaking your iOS device you are violating the End User Licensing Agreement (EULA) with Apple, which means that your device’s warranty will be void. By restoring your device back to factory default settings using iTunes, however, all traces of jailbreaking will be removed and your warranty will essentially be valid again. International laws may vary, although jailbreaking is generally considered to be a legal practise in most jurisdictions.
  • Do I need to be running a freshly installed version of iOS to jailbreak? Will my content be erased? You do not need to be running a newly installed copy of iOS, and your device’s media and settings will not be affected or removed by the jailbreaking process. Backing up your content to iTunes or iCloud, however, is still recommended as a precautionary measure. Moreover, it is recommended that you do not perform over-the-air software updates prior to jailbreaking, as you may encounter problems as a result.
  • Is jailbreaking safe and risk-free? Yes. As long as you are using an official jailbreak tool, there is virtually no harm that can be done to your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Jailbreaking methods have been refined over the past several years, and are easier to use now more than ever before. Even a novice should be able to perform the required steps to jailbreak their device. If any problems arise, you can simply restore to factory default settings using iTunes.

Interested in jailbreaking your iPod touch, iPhone, or iPad? Head over to our iOS Jailbreak & Cydia section for how-tos, tutorials, help, and more information. Also, don’t forget to check out our front page news sections for jailbreaking and Cydia tweaks, themes, and mods.

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