Written by Geoff Vaughan in Gadgets
Viewed by 1,215 readers since 01-26-2009
One of the most compelling devices to come out in recent memory is the Apple iPhone. Combining a cell phone with full-fledged web browsing, POP email access, GPS navigation, and a host of other features, the iPhone comes very close to a miniature laptop computer in terms of functionality. One of the main problems many people have with it though, is that everything on the device is controlled by one company – Apple. Only applications that have been approved by Apple are allowed to be installed on the iPhone, and operating system updates are also solely controlled by the company. In addition, songs and videos are only installable via Apple’s iTunes software.
Some enterprising hackers, however, have figured out how to get around this limitation by “jailbreaking” their phone. You may have heard of unlocking an iPhone, which involves changing the operating system to allow the phone to be used on a carrier other than AT&T. Jailbreaking is different than this, as it allows for third party applications to be installed on the phone. To jailbreak an iPhone, just do an internet search for the instructions online and follow them. It is said to be fairly straightforward and risk-free, as backing out of it just involves restoring the operating system in iTunes to return to the factory state.
Once an iPhone is jailbroken, there are several things you can do with it, the first of which is to be able to install a myriad of applications that programmers have made available on the Cydia platform. These applications are ones that either weren’t approved by Apple, or the programmer didn’t want to submit the application to the company for approval in the first place. There are many quality applications available for download that are only available on a jailbroken iPhone, one of which allows you to filter incoming calls, which is not available on any Apple-approved applications.
Another great thing you can do with a jailbroken iPhone is use it as a mobile internet connection for your laptop computer. This technique is called “tethering”, and involves connecting the iPhone to the PC and using an application in Cydia to enable the phone to act as a modem for the computer. There once was an application in the AppStore that had this functionality, but it was removed by Apple, so again, only jailbroken phones support this functionality.
Have you ever wished your iPhone had a camcorder app? Well, if you jailbreak it, there is an application called Cycorder which will take videos using the phone’s built-in camera. As camcorder applications are not allowed in the Apple AppStore, the only way to install an application like this is to jailbreak the phone first.
These are just a few of the many things you can do with a jailbroken iPhone. Of course, none of these things are recommended by Apple, so do this at your own risk. But if you decide to take the plunge, it will surely add a whole new dimension to your iPhone experience.