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Monday, January 3, 2011

Please don't Jailbreak your ipod/iphone.

First of all I object to the term ‘jailbreak’ in this situation. The term ‘jailbreak’ should bring to mind images of prison tunnels, a riot, guards being held hostage, tear gas, and mayhem. Now consider the iphone owner who ‘jailbreaks’ his iphone. Let’s move on.

A few days ago I was comparing favorite iphone apps with 2 guys. They instantly recommended that I ‘jailbreak my ipod touch and download everything for free.
I’m know those 2 guys would not recommend walking into a deli and stealing a candy bar. Yet, it’s okay to steal intellectual property if the owner never discovers it?
As a citizen of the US, or any nation, do people get to choose which laws to follow and which to ignore?

If you’re laughing these arguments off, consider this: very few iphone app programmers are making any money. The vast majority of iphone apps make peanuts or even lose money. As it is now, you can sample the ‘Lite’ version of an app, and then pay the .99 for the full version. This will encourage programmers to make more apps.

Don't be a cheapskate, pay for the program. If you choose to 'jailbreak' your iphone please don't boast that you're breaking the law; such actions and proclamations encourage others.


  1. Tom, I think you're a tiny bit misinformed about what jailbreaking actually does/means. Jailbreaking makes it possible to gain root access to an iOS device and run software that isn't from Apple or obtained through the app store.

    While it is very disrespectful to developers to use jailbreaking as a way to get paid apps for free, many reasons for jailbreaking have nothing to do with stealing software. Some apps available to jailbroken iOS devices can include new icon and wallpaper themes for the device, running alternate operating systems on the device (like Android), and replacing system apps and functionality better or different replacement software (like a different desktop with 5 rows of 5 icons instead of 4x4 like the iPhone default).

  2. Hi David,

    you make some excellent points. What % of jailbreakers do it for the reasons you stated? And what % do it for free apps? I'm sure some do it for both reasons.


  3. I'd say the more tech-savvy the user, the more likely they would be jailbreaking for the reasons I mention rather than piracy.

    The main point I was trying to make though is that jailbreaking isn't the act of piracy - it's unlocking your device to let it run software you choose. Some people are jerks and just pirate things. Sad as it is, that happens on every platform to some extent.

  4. Thanks tom for defending the developers who are generally not making much money and yes, people should pay the .99 cents if the value is there. However, i think david makes a very valid point. I jailbroke one of my dev iphone 3gs to see exactly what all the fuss was about. I didn't find anything exciting or special, It didn't automatically grant me any access to download apps from itunes for free or anything. Besides, Theres so many free apps on the itunes store that i dont think there is any benefit to jailbreaking an iphone - just to get free apps. I don't even know where i would get a paid app for free on my jailbroken iphone. I think the main reason why people jailbreak them is to be able to switch carriers from ATT to a different one. I don't think this is so bad- as people want the right to use their own carrier. Even apple - (while they don't necessarily "condone" it- they don't take any legal action against jailbroken iphones either. In fact, i believe they took this stance because they wanted consumers to have a way to circumvent their own contracts with ATT should they choose to - because the more

  5. This is what a jailbreak can do. Free your iDevice.