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Monday, December 23, 2013

What is Jailbreak (root)?

This entry is written for educational purposes. We, at Whenever I Feel Like It, are in no way responsible for anything that can and may occur to your phone. By continuing to read this entry, you agree to not hold us liable for anything that may or may not occur to your device.

With all the excitement today (yesterday), I'm sure there are some iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad users who are unsure what exactly a jailbreak is.

A little lesson in correct terminology:
Jailbreaking refers to iOS devices in the mobile community (also to PlayStation devices)
Rooting refers to Android devices in the mobile community

Both rooting and jailbreaking are essentially the same thing.

Legality
For starters, some may be unsure, but jailbreaking and rooting your mobile device is currently legal in the United States. However, unlocking any phone from one carrier to put on another without the carrier's permission is currently illegal. Apple has always been against users jailbreaking their devices while Google has been a bit more lenient and has left it mostly to the manufacturers (Samsung, HTC, etc.) who each have different opinions on their consumers rooting their products.

With this in mind, remember to never bring your jailbroken or rooted device into an official Apple Store, carrier store (Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile, etc.), or any of these places for repair. Most, if not all, of these companies will void your warranty with them for hacking your device.

Explanation
In basic terms, jailbreaking and rooting eliminate the security initially put onto your phone, putting you in complete control.

Think of it this way: on your Windows computer, you have Administrator and Guest accounts. Most people know that Guest accounts don't have much control over the computer. They cannot install any program or make any other drastic changes to the computer. On the other hand, an Administrator has every right to do what he/she pleases. They can delete any file they wish, create or delete any user they wish, run and install any program they want, etc. This is the same as "root access".

Root Access is what gives a user complete control. With this, it gives the user the ability to view, delete, move, and even create any file they wish on the system in the most advanced places such as the root which is usually where all of your vital files are stored (kind of like the C: drive on a computer).

When you buy an iPhone or Galaxy phone, Apple and Samsung do not allow you to install any software that you want. You are only allowed to download and install files that have been approved for their app stores. Apple has their App Store and Samsung uses Android's Google Play Store (users can also download the Amazon App Store and a few others). But as for just creating an app and just uploading it, it's not that simple.

The reason why Apple and other companies don't release phones like this to the public is that many users just don't understand how it all works and can really screw up their system if they make the wrong move. Most phones have some sort of insurance so you can imagine how many people would demand a new phone after nearly destroying their phone. To prevent this, most manufacturers have decided to not give users any sort of real control.

However, users in the community have found ways around it by means such as jailbreaking. They find exploits within a software and find ways of manipulating the code to allow them to run "unsigned code". Unsigned code is basically code that has not been officially recognized and okayed by Apple to run on iOS. This is the ultimate goal of a jailbreak, is to run code that Apple wouldn't allow.

Cydia is the software that comes with most jailbreaks on iOS and it is the App Store that Apple never officially recognized. It was designed to combine all of these unsigned coded programs together and make it easy for users like you and I who have very little knowledge about coding and installing to install these apps onto our devices. It also makes it nice because it provides for a place for these people to distribute their projects to more people and it's slightly regulated so users can feel safe especially when payments are involved. It is regulated by the community so users can feel safe knowing that something actually works and doesn't have malicious intentions like a virus hidden within it.

For Google's Android system, there's not much to do once its rooted because Google has been so open with their operating system (OS). Most users root their Android devices for things like a custom made ROM that is built differently and looks and acts differently than what initially came out of the box and for other things like tethering an internet connection.

Brief History
Most users jailbreak their iOS devices for similar reasons but there's also so much more potential as Apple isn't so accepting of new innovations until they're sure it works or it won't change their initial design too much. Back when the first iPhones came out most users jailbroke for features like copy-and-paste and customization that Apple eventually added later on.

Now, jailbreaks aren't as frequent nor sought after like they were before. Apple has added most of the features that users want and need so there's very little need for user-generated programs.

Purpose?
People, like myself, enjoy jailbreak for the extras that others may not be as comfortable with such as 5 icons on the bottom row, tethering without purchasing a separate option from my carrier (Sprint), and other features. I also like to just have my device be mine. I'm not the typical user who relies on Apple every time something happens with my iPhone. I like to do things myself at home sometimes and can much more effectively with a jailbreak.

Will you need it? Probably not. If you're not sure what it is, you probably will never use it. I came across it in the early days when things were missing, so it's been something that I always felt like I'd need.

Friends of mine have been asking me about when a jailbreak comes out but most of them will use it only for further customizing their iPhones. Most of them would like a pink lock screen, or blue colored dialer...just something really wild. Most will never use the additional features it can provide.

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