Millions of iOS users have chosen to break free of Apple’s restrictions by jailbreaking their devices. For more than 10 years, Apple has tried its best to put a stop to this practice, despite it being ruled legal in the USA in 2012. Why do people jailbreak?
Simply because Cydia is the only third-party store in the world to offer a multitude of ways to customize your device. You can change how it looks, use alternative apps for Mail, make the stock apps work how they should and even change your browser. In short, you can change how your iPhone or iPad functions.
The big question is this – is jailbreaking safe in 2019?
How Safe is Jailbreaking?
Jailbreak developers put a lot of time and effort into producing stable, safe utilities for us to use. In recent years, these utilities have been harder to come by because of the increase in security restrictions Apple has built-in to the iOS. However, some have managed to get past these restrictions to produce limited jailbreaks.
As to the safety of them, provided you download only from official links and follow the installation instructions carefully, the utilities themselves are safe to use and free from malware.
Where things start getting a bit murky in terms of safety is in how a jailbreak works. In order to provide you with the functionality of the tweaks and apps in Cydia, a jailbreak must get into the root of the iOS and this does leave your iPhone or iPad open to potential security risks. Plus, although most of what you find in the jailbreak store is safe, there will always be the bad apples – apps filled with malware, viruses and that cause your device to keep crashing.
These days, jailbreaks are safer than they used to be and your Phone or iPad isn’t likely to blow up or melt in your hands. If you choose to do it, you have to be prepared to take the rough with the smooth – the advantages of installing what you want and changing the stock apps you use with the possibility of a system that isn’t so secure and is more prone to error.
And when you jailbreak, there is also the risk of backdoors being built-in, allowing hackers in to do pretty much whatever they want. In 2015, for example, more than 200,000 jailbreakers had their iCloud information stolen when hackers got in through one of those backdoors.
Why Apple Doesn’t Agree
Apple is firmly against jailbreaking for several reasons, not least because they invest a great deal of time, money and expertise in ensuring the iOS is safe. Their concerns are:
What’s the Alternative?
There are several alternatives to Cydia now, none of them requiring a jailbreak and all of them completely free. Between them, they offer us thousands of apps, games and tweaks and all are legal and safe to use because they do not need root access and don’t break Apple’s security.
So, is jailbreaking safe? If you download from the official sources, it is safe but you must understand the risks involved.