Why Jailbreak an iPhone 4?
This is what happens when a moderately geeky person gets bored on a holiday weekend. The truly full-on geeks would know this answer and would have done it years ago.
The original answers to this question would have involved solving limitations that Apple has fixed in subsequent releases:
- Taking Video
- Push Notifications
- Viewing/Editing Documents
- Improvements on SMS applications
- “Find My Phone” for free (Now available in iOS 4.2)
- App serial I/O through dock connecter
- Wireless tethering
- Voice Control
- Complex Passwords
- Wallpapers on home screen and lock screens
- Many more I don’t know or can’t think of off the top of my head
Since a lot of the reasons to jailbreak your iPhone are no longer valid, why would you want to? While not illegal, jailbreaking your iPhone does void the manufacturer’s warranty. Here are the best reasons to jailbreak your phone:
- My latest trick – to stop using your carrier SMS and use Google Voice SMS through the native app, or better, the biteSMS app. See my [cref iphone-and-google-voice-sms] article.
- Unlocking your phone – If you want to be able to use your phone on T-Mobile or other GSM carriers.
- You can do some fun stuff with your Lockscreen, like get the weather and other personalization. You get a lot of control. I’m using LockInfo.
- You can change the AT&T logo to your name (see the image above). I used MIM for this.
- There are some fun tricks that you can use to organize your screens. I used iBlank to put blank spaces where I wanted them to achieve the organization I wanted.
- Speaking of organizing, there’s a handy tool called Infinifolders that allows you to put an unlimited number of applications into a folder. I got sick of having Games1, Games1, etc.
- By now you’ve probably noticed my odd icons and backgrounds. I’m using a Winterboard theme called Glasklart. I had fun looking at a lot of different themes and I liked this one best. (My second favorite was Alit.) This theme has nice gray glass icons for a TON of applications. It’s huge to download because of all of the icons. The best part is that you can change your background to really showcase the image. Here is a nice Christmas tree for the upcoming season. It’s my current background.
- This one is mostly just really cool, but is a great tool to make it easier to get to your settings. SBSettings is accessed by a simple swipe at your top toolbar. Upon swiping, it slides down over your screen and gives you quick access to settings like Wifi, 3G, and brightness. More importantly, you can see all of your active processes and kill any apps you don’t want running in the background, or even respring your phone from this app. Additionally, there are fun themes for this app to make it look cooler. I’m running the Shwank theme.
- SMS updates – there’s a cool SMS software called BiteSMS that I downloaded. The best feature is that if you are playing a rousing game of Angry Birds and someone texts you, you don’t have to close the game to respond. The text window lets you respond inside it. There are also some really cool themes for the window and the regular texting windows.
- YouTube mods – let’s face it, it’s annoying that you can’t save youtube videos. There are applications that allow you to do that, like MxTube. (I haven’t actually downloaded this one yet.)
- Wifi Syncing – There’s an application called Wi-Fi Sync that allows you to sync to iTunes without tethering. (I don’t have this one either.)
- Wifi Tethering – Yep, AT&T are a group of greedy… Anyway, the MyWi 4.0 app allows you to tether without paying AT&T $45 a month, but the app does cost about $20. (No, I haven’t tried this one)
- Facetime on 3G – AT&T doesn’t want you to do this on their network. And frankly, neither do the rest of us AT&T users. The network is bad enough as it is. Be that as it may, thanks to jailbreaking, you can still do it. But since the network is so crappy you won’t get a very good reception and you’ll probably get dropped all the time. If you want to try, get the My3G app to trick your apps into thinking you’re on Wifi when you’re only on 3G.
- Parental Controls – Apple’s parental controls are a complete joke. It’s almost like they WANT you to look at porn or not be on the internet at all. And the apps in the app store can’t control your phone enough to control everything that needs to be controlled. If you have a teenager in the house, you need to have the ability to see what photo texts are being sent and received especially! Anyway, there’s a great app called Mobile Nanny out there. I’m looking into it, but I’ve tried to install it 3 times and it’s completely hosed my system. I’ve had to restore to get my phone back to working order.
While there are good technical reasons to jailbreak your iPhone, for me it was mainly just to do some cool stuff with it. I love playing with my phone and doing cool things with the new features when it’s new. Now I’m bored with it. I used to get a new phone or a new computer once a year. Now I just reformat my hard drive and reorganize my file systems or hack my phone to get new features!
To see a list of what I have on my iPhone, go to the [cref my-jailbreak-setup] article.