The term sounds pretty cool, right? It conjures up imagery of having a slew of gadgets up your sleeve that will allow you to crack open the doors of your prison cell and give the security guards the old slip as you escape to freedom. It certainly reminds me of the movie, The Shawshank Redemption.
Well, in a way, you’re not too far off. Jailbreaking is nothing more than removing the limitations imposed by phone manufacturers to allow you to get full access to the operating system to make modifications that would otherwise not be possible. Jailbreaking is routinely done on Apple’s line of mobile products including the iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad. By doing so, you can install and use third party applications that have not been officially approved by Apple.
For those of you not completely sure about jailbreaking, it is worth noting that this practice is NOT illegal and has been ruled by the US Courts that it does not violate the 2009 DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act). Essentially, what jailbreaking allows you to do is to have access to both sets of files on the Apple devices: the first one, called the Private Drive, is the main Application disk that you already have access to and holds all of your music, contact information, etc. The smaller disk, called the System Drive, contains the iOS itself. This second file system is what is not immediately available to you when you purchase any of the above listed Apple devices. By downloading Jailbreaking applications like Cydia, this operating system file becomes available and that is how users can modify it to start using third party applications.
In addition to being able to use third party applications, Jailbreaking also allows you to use another cellular network. This way, if you don’t have an account with AT&T or Verizon, then you can still use the iPhone on T-Mobile, Sprint, or one of the many other networks that you may have a contract with.
However, Jailbreaking is not a trivial matter just as it isn’t a trifle matter to jail break out of a federal penitentiary (though jailbreaking an iPhone is far easier). There are a number of steps that should be performed in order to properly jailbreak the device and make it usable. The good thing is that you can always reset your device back to its factory settings in case the jailbreak doesn’t work, or you need to return the device to Apple while it is under warranty, as Apple will not accept any jailbroken devices.
The best place to start getting information on jailbreaking or actually doing it, is to start searching for videos on Youtube. A lot of contributors have uploaded some good videos on downloading the Cydia software and then following the instructions on setting up the Cydia software. To download the Cydia application, you can open up your Safari browser directly on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch and go to www.jailbreakme.com and get started from there.