Why Do You Jailbreak?

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When I was still on the fence about getting an iPhone (a couple years ago now), lots of my friends had them already and a goodly number of them jailbroke their iPhones right off the bat. Couple years ago there were a lot of good reasons for it (personal hotspot just one of them) and when I got an iPhone I jailbroke it pretty soon after I got it. Myself, I didn’t get a lot out of a jailbroken phone, so I reverted back. But this leads me to pose this question to you: Why do you jailbreak?

My reasons for jailbreaking in the first place were pretty straightforward. As a geek I felt that I needed to know how to do it, it’s just a skill like making a Linux boot USB that everyone should know. Then there were a few things that the iPhone didn’t support that I thought I wanted/needed. One of those was the ability to be a WiFi hotspot, but I didn’t buy that app and soon after iOS supported it (and so did my carrier). Eventually my need to have a more generic iPhone to test apps and use for examples won out over being jailbroken.

At a certain point I just realized that I wasn’t getting anything out of having a jailbroken device, so I reformatted and went back to my last backup. I haven’t really been tempted to jailbreak my iPhone (or iPad or Apple TV) since, but I’ve always wondered what are the key reasons people do jailbreak and keep their phones jailbroken in the first place.

That’s it…why do you do it? What to you like about having a jailbroken device? What limitations have you overcome?

I don’t know if your answers will convince me to jailbreak my primary phone, but I have a 3GS sitting around that might be a good candidate for it.

Photo of Alcatraz cells by allistair from Flickr.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/THExREALxTACO Jeremy Taco Patterson

    Pretty simple for me. I LOVE SBSettings, the group of “Infini-” add-ons, and the added tweaks for customizing the Springboard with Winterboard and a few other customization apps.

  • None

    To customize your iPhone the way u want tit. For example I like my apps round instead of square and my apps to scroll vertical in stead of horizontal to be different than all ppl. There just endless tweak I can do on cydia. Best of all free apps

  • XXX

    blacklist,pdanet,pandora skip,firewall.3g unrestrictor,just to fully customize your device.Most Android users root for tethering if Apple adopted some of these apps/tweaks jailbreaking would not matter

    • SpecialOpZ

      Excellent apps and examples for jailbreaking. I likes and second this. Amazing how many people jailbreak for legit reasons ehh?

      • Drusenija

        “Legit” is always a questionable term though. Pandora Skip bypasses the free Pandora skip limit; you’re not pirating an app but you’re still getting something for free you normally would have paid for.

  • Moe22

    this is not a question. Cydia.

  • Jyrodgers

    Sbsettings: quick access to settings, wifi, brightness.
    Integration of google voice into default phone and messaging apps.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Stevesho Steven Sho

    Activator and SBSettings

  • Jailbreak or die

    ScrollingBoard – I love having all my phone/Internet phone/messaging apps on the dock.
    And as was brought out, definitely sbsettings.
    Manual correct Pro.
    Those are some of the things that come to mind.

  • Ryan

    Bite SMS, infini folders, sbs settings, disable spotlight, themes, plus free ringtones & text tones… It’s about function and personalization for me.

  • DrDave

    1. To have control of my device.
    2. To be able to organize my files how I want them in my filesystem.
    3. To be able to download ANY type of file from ANY web site or ftp server.
    4. To be able to upload ANY type of file to ANY web site or ftp server.
    5. To be able to copy files to and from my desktop system. (iTunes is NOT an option. It doesn’t do what I need and it won’t run on any of my systems anyway.)

    • http://trishussey.com Tris Hussey

      Okay the upload file thing is pretty cool. Would certainly come in handy!

  • The Real Bob

    If it wasn’t for the ability to get pirated apps hardly anyone would jail break their phone. there may be some people who dont get pirated apps but not many.

    • blu

      I jailbreak but don’t pirate, don’t make assumptions.

    • grim reefa

      Then you’re an ignorant fool!

      • The real bob

        If u think no one is pirating apps your the biggest fool in the world!

    • SpecialOpZ

      Before you eat him up, he may have a point here. There is an pirate underground that exists obviously. However, in my opinion, there would not be such a IPhone fanbase without some pirating. Especially due to the amount of free android apps and ease of android app installation. I really dislike android, but the apps are much easier to install (legit or pirated) than an un-jailbroken IPhone. Many people search Ebay and Craigslist for exploitable phones due to these reasons. One MAJOR reason I forgot mention before for Jailbreaking is to UNLOCK the phone to any carrier.

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.stavrakis.9 Michael Stavrakis

    1.unlock wifi range signal,2.unlock Bluetooth,3. Sb-settings: quick access to settings ,even the chippest phone on the market have,and at the end of the line apple force us to by android phones to have common sense devices working the way we want.

  • tony

    App ringtone customization and that cool weather app

  • PDF

    +1 SBSettings, Bulletin (notification center on lock screen is the best!), MyWi, iOS features on 5.1 (like twitter), Hide NEWSTAND, and Sparrow push!

  • Guest

    7-Action Menu Plus

    • La Mission 415

      I jailbreak because apple is slow bringing improvements that you can only find on jailbreak apps. Like that galaxy commercial said “Maybe we’ll get that next year”. Look how long it took to get MMS and copy/paste.

  • http://twitter.com/iZizo Zizo mac

    7-Action Menu Plus

  • http://www.facebook.com/rolynn719 Roy Swartz

    Pirated apps is the least of the reasons!! Sbsettings is my fav! But customization is a huge reason!!

    • Jb


    • Holy Ads!

      Only reason I do it is to run AdBlock because the amount of ads on this site is ridiculous!!

  • Macsimos

    There are plenty of good reasons to jailbreak. One if my main reasons is Pandora Downloader. I love unlimited song skips, no ads, and the ability to download any song I hear and like directly to my iPhone.

  • http://trishussey.com Tris Hussey

    This is great stuff! Might have to expand to a similar/related question for another post…

  • CF

    I used to work in a place with no access to the internet beyond a phone. Thus I jailbroke to use my laptop with the phone as a modem. My work involves a lot of texting so I got hooked on biteSMS. That’s the primary reason I jailbreak now. However, iBlacklist is a good reason – i used to get a lot of unwanted calls – not so much now.

    • http://www.facebook.com/liamsagooch Liam Googolplex Merlyn

      I tried iBlacklist and found it prevented any and all calls coming through even when the block list was empty. Did you ever encounter anything like that?

      • Cornerstar31

        You had The whitelist enabled.
        With no persons in it.
        Never use The whitelist option

  • Moses Altmann

    One word: Freedom

  • Der

    1. Autoapp killer ( no more slowing down )
    2. Springtomize2 ( ios tweaks as apple should give all at once and not one by year )
    3. Accelerate ( speed up anoying animations apple should reconsider )
    4. Sb/Ncsettings ( no need to browse menus to switch stuff, big apple fail! )
    5. Lockinfo + weeflash ( notific perfected and flashlight switch where it works best, tweaks apple should include forever )
    That’s it!!!!!

  • Andrew

    The best thing that I like about jail breaking was the ability to completely theme from my phone. From live weather updates on the home screen to Siri sound profiles for lock unlock mms SMS email. All of the above pretty much. Also the ability to customize a lot of system settings. Jail breaking frees your iPhone and lets u truly use ur device the way it’s meant to be used. Jailbreak ur iDevices free them from the tyranny that is apple.

  • Unexpected

    To install an apn to enable mms on carriers like H2O Net10 and many more.

  • Honey oil smoker

    Sbsetting, activator, springotomize, kill background, hide some native apps, installous for trial new applications. Safari download, my 3G, location spoofer.



  • http://www.facebook.com/burjoes Jason Burroughs

    I jailbroke for the first few years, but eventually the constant pace of updates from Apple made it such a hassle. I was spending 25% of my time watching the boards to find out when the latest version of firmware would be jailbreakable. Then there is the constant change in “best of” apps like tiny umbrella to back things up with, the whole SHSH blobs, the “don’t forget to not update your baseband”, etc. If it were braindead easy to do the work of jailbreaking, and worked with every firmware upgrade every time, I think it would be worth the time to explore the must have apps for jailbroken phones. But that side of the house has its own complications – adding sources to Cydia is just one example. I don’t expect any of this to be easy, and am not whining that it should be. But since the question was asked why people DO jailbreak, I wanted to share my experiences as a former jailbreaker. I do still jailbreak my Apple TV (v2) only because I want to stream files from my computer. But I will probably give in and sell it (and my v3 that I bought on launch day) for a Roku to get this feature permanently. Back to the iphone, the other thing is the tethering. I bought the “tether” app but it never worked properly. I couldn’t use the tethering feature because I was grandfathered in with an unlimited plan. Once ios 6 came out, with facetime over cellular (but NOT for unlimited plan holders), I gave in and switched to a shared data plan. That brought the tethering feature along with it, leaving my only real “must have” feature obsolete. Ironically, a few months later (long enough to be past the 30 day point of no return, of course), they announced tethering for everyone.

  • Tollphree

    Because apple is a bunch of control freaks, I own the device I should be able to do whatever I want with it. That’s like ford telling you how fast you can drive your car.

  • Brian Thompson

    Zephyr, sbsettings and activator make the day to day usage of the iPhone so much better

  • High Horse

    Let us all be honest here. We do it for the free apps. Anyone who says otherwise needs to get off their high horse.

    • The real bob

      Its the same people who only download music to try it before they buy it and even better who only copy dvd’s in case they ruin the original when they really mean before they return the rental. Lol

  • http://twitter.com/j_jurk Qbik

    For SBSettings (it should be added by default to iOS), iFile and Callbar

  • Nosferatu

    to try and do what Android does stock ;)

    • Cornerstar31

      You can do so much more on a jailbroken iPhone, Then any rooted or unrooted Android Device.
      Also The speediness and fluidness of The iPhone roast every Android device.

  • http://rounak.me/ Rounak Jain

    Although I’ve not jailbroken my iP4 since months now, I do miss SBSettings and Activator. I used activator to use the Volume down button as a replacement for my broken home button. Didn’t use anything apart from that, though.

  • bcsc

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems everyone here is jailbreaking so that they can achieve android functionality.

    • grim reefa

      Get real, If you need that much functionality then ppl should get an Android device as no Apple device will have as much functionality as Android whether its JB or not.

      • jaybeans821

        i have nothing against android, and yes! when apple prods are left alone, android def beats them with their built in tweaks and widgets but apples are still sweeter!!! and then throw jailbreak into it and apple Smacks that Android!!

        • Cornerstar31

          Jaybeans has it totally right. À jailbroken iPhone beats any Android device.

          • grim reefa

            lol, you must be living an a different planet to rest of us then. Welcome to earth!

  • http://twitter.com/Hiofflife729 Chris jarratt

    Upload any file anywhere. Download any file. Ssh. Customize. 3g unrestrictor just a few reasons

  • Kiwiholden

    I did it because I’m a nerd and I like to tinker but I found the cons far out weighed to pros.
    Too many bugs and at one point my iPhone 3GS was going flat even well on charge if I had it unlocked.

  • ITcrowd

    1. SBsettings – quick, easy access to all toggles, switches, can disable 3G on iPad which is not possible otherwise, one touch VPN connection etc.
    2. Dimmer – can lower screen brightness below standard minimum, fantastic in the night, works with ALL apps, no longer blinding my eyes, for me the main reason for jailbreaking
    3. Activator – custom gestures for everything, I no longer use Home button, double or tripple press, all replaced with nice gestures. I can restore high brightness by double clicking clock on lock screen, great when screen is too dark after night reading with low dimmer settings :-)
    4. BT stack GPS – connect any external bluetooth GPS receiver, much better sensitivity than builtin GPS (bigger antena etc), I can place GPS modul in a place with good GPS reception and iphone close to me, works with any app
    5. iFile – fantastic file manager, allows file link creation, for example I can have 1 big multimedia file somewhere and place just file link to video player folders, to test wich player can play it correctly
    6. Rotation lock – allows landscape rotation lock on iphone, I use it all the time, why Apple allows only portrait rotation lock?
    7. SSH – easy wireless access to file system, I can copy any file without itunes
    To summarize: without jailbreak I would have to go android

    • SpecialOpZ

      Excellent reasons for Jailbreaking, a lot of reasons I listed myself. I also love the activator iFile and SSH. Also, the Jailbreak scene a lot of times puts out patches/fixes for IOS flaws.

  • http://profiles.google.com/sebastian.rasch Sebastian Rasch

    SBSettings, make Chrome the default browser (BrowserChanger) and App Language Switcher are the main reasons for me. And when I’m already at it, I tweak several other, minor important things like hiding the news app (NoNewsIsGoodNews), rename some Apps (Icon Renamer), AdBlocker, 3G Unrestrictor, PhotoAlbums+…

  • peros

    i jailbreak because i do what i want with my idevice,as other people comment they saying sbsettings is a great tweak,but offcorse you can make your idevice as you want.

    Animation screen,another theme,barrel,unfold, customize your own carrier name or logo,customize the unlock message,you can have the flashlight from your lock screen!,gud daim the appkiller you can close all running one of the best ever,you can hide icons and many many other reasons so you can jailbreak your device.

    Im ownwer of iPhone since 2007 and from then every iPhone i had in my hands is jailbroken except the iphone 5 :/(and apple tv :-) ) till today.And start getting me crazy,no because i dont have installous but because all the time im trying to open my sbsettings :) and kill my running apps all of them at once

    ….i will always keep going to support the jailbreak community.

  • Trapp

    Gee think I’m gonna be first honest… Some apps are just crazy expensive.

    • Trapp

      And btw Activator, this obviously should be built-in.

  • http://twitter.com/pauldrew18 pauldrew18

    Swipe Selection is the only reason I jailbreak.. Editing messages is much more convenient..

  • Dookie

    Can’t do it anyway apple have won the fight R.I.P. jailbreak team

  • yournot

    I jailbreak for the convenience features. SBSettings, and Activator alone are just so fantastic for doing so much very quickly. Example: I can go into airplane mode without fishing through the settings, adjust brightness, even turn off the phone with the swipe of a finger.

  • Vincent Jimenez

    Only 3 Reasons why I Jailbreak:
    1.) FaceTime over cellular (or Apps that think they are on WiFi)
    2.) UserAgent changer for Safari to get web pages in full view. And…

    3.) Tethering my iPhone to a laptop when I dont have Wifi access.

    These 3 features have been a lifesaver for me in various situations.

  • Modder1

    for five icon dock

  • bigdaddy313

    Its like the sprint commercials way limit your iphone. without jailbreak limited with jailbreak unlimited

  • bigdaddy313

    i have a ipad 2 check everyday for a jailbreak its just no fun without it

  • Vico

    Sry for my English bit here it this…
    SbSetting of course!! But also iFile to open and save and ANY file anywhere on my Phone. AnyAttach to attach ANY file to a mail IN a mail (cmon Apple). Springtomize and ScrollingBoard for customization. Killbackground to close all multitask apps in one “clic”. And thx to PwnTunes, I never use use iTunes. There are so many others… I wouldn’t use an iPhone without these tweaks.

  • Goze

    to get my ipod out of apple prison

  • jaybeans821

    first, i love the idea of busting through the limitations on idevices, but mostly by jailbreaking i can theme the phone to how i want it to look and act, not to mention the many tweaks that we can install that make the already easy to use iphone even more easier to navigate… just Jailbreak your phone its just plain old fun to have…Peace

  • Sperlsco

    I want my iPHONE to be a better PHONE! So first and foremost, I want call blocking (iBlacklist) and call announcing (Aloud). I also like SBSettings, infinidock, some iPod tweaks, and more. I don’t really miss any of this on my iPad though.

  • VV

    I’m T-mobile customer

  • http://www.facebook.com/igozzo Isaac Gozzo

    For trying out paid apps without having to pay (I usually pay for my apps after I try them out) and for customization and tweaks.

    • vahid

      Exactly …

  • SpecialOpZ

    There are a countless number of reasons to jailbreak, and I agree, pirating is the last thing I jailbreak for. To name a few tweaks JB is needed for:

    1. Winterboard (extreme customization)

    2. SBSettings, love this app

    3. Infinidock

    4. Infinifolders

    5. Open SSH (backup your save files,apps, music, games,pictures files without ITunes) Hate ITunes

    6. Messager enhancements

    7. Siri enhancements

    8. Contact enhancements

    9. Phone dialer enhancements

    10. Alerts enhancements

    11. Off the top of my head that’s all I can think of. But I’m sure there are many more reasons.

    • SpecialOpZ

      Also, forgot to mention and thank the many developers who post their great apps in Cydia (that I pay for), who Apple would not approve.

  • Elducker

    Lockinfo baby!!

  • Toby777

    I jailbreak my phone really only for Lock Calendar.

  • Michael Rebar

    Jailbreaking is part of the Apple DNA idiom “think different”. It lets the user determine how secure you want your mobile device to become. Extremes of piracy are not one of my favorites. If you like the app, buy it!

  • inferneo

    a few small tweaks…

    folder closer- closes folders automatically. example if i opened an ap from a folder when i exit the ap it closes the folder automatically

    home page- when a foler closes u are automatically taken to the home page. example this goes hand in hand with folder closer when i close an ap in a folder on the third page i am automatically taken to the home page

    infinifolders- allows unlimited apps in a folder. example every version of angry birds ever and all my other games in one folder!

    double@ – tapping @ twice inserts my email address saves time because my email seems to be the longest one in creation

    labelslider- replaces slide to open with whatever u like. i like to see my name and sparkles!

  • Vincent

    1. SBSetting (can’t wait to have an LTE toggle on my i5)
    2. SMS from lockscreen / any app (BiteSMS)
    3. To know where my next meeting is on my lockscreen (notification center is useless, I’m using lockinfo)
    4. To try apps before buying them

  • Que

    So I can have atleast have half the features Android offering.

  • Toolarge

    I do it for the FaceTime with my children and for the hotspot

  • http://www.facebook.com/ugachuka Uga Inivale

    1 word “Musicbox”

  • PimpDaddyWiteBoy

    customization. if it wasnt for the app quality iphone has over droid, id be with the newest droid right now

  • el.10

    1. SBSettings
    2. biteSMS -love the quick reply..

    3. Protube – download audio from you tube videos.

    4. Activator
    5. Call-Bar -this is the best

    6. winterboard

    -For all those reasons and a lot more, Even apple has started taking some ideas from the jailbreak tweaks and incorporating them into their ios.. Even them are jailbroken hahaha…

  • dingaling

    I jailbroke so I would have the ability to tether for free. I do not want to pay $50 extra a month for only about 4gb of data when the only difference is the size of the screen I view it on.

  • no1453

    To me, the question is, am I in charge of what programs run on my computer(ipad), or is mega-corporation Apple?  I paid for it, i own it, i should be able to make my own decisions.  Apple makes qutionable judgements in banning some apps from theirr app store.

  • Rao

    Here is my list of cydia apps (in the order of preference)
    1) Sbsettings
    2) Zephyr
    3) Activator
    4) IFile
    5) Siri Toggles

  • Azul4588

    I use ifile, safarie download manager, sbsettings, but i love my psx and gba games now i dont have to carry around a psp or gameboy. All i need is my phone and with tv out app and bt stack i play on my big screen with a wii remote

  • KP

    My fav is LastApp for Activator. 2x tap on the status bar and it goes back to the last app I had open.