Before getting started, I’m a huge fan of Jailbreaking and tweaking just about every setting on my iPhone. I’ve jailbroken every Apple device I’ve ever owned, including the original iPod Touch that I had to SSH into to jailbreak it manually. I love making little changes like adding a flashing Apple logo instead of the stock loading wheel and giving the signal strength meter a color makeover.
Even though I love all of these tweaks and changes that make my iPhone different and unique, my need to jailbreak has diminished over time, as more and more features are included in new iOS releases. Notification Center and Control Center have replaced the two most used jailbreak apps and with more features coming at a regular pace, one has to wonder if Jailbreaking is useful any more.
Bugs – The most obvious reason for Jailbreaking to be mostly useless today is the increased number of bugs that come along for the ride. Even with large-scale testing teams Apple still lets some bugs and errors through to the general public, so it’s easy to understand why jailbreakers that basically develop and test themselves allow for some pretty big issues to come through in their releases.
Updates Hurt – Updating your iPhone to the newest version of iOS is great. You get new features, bugs get squashed, and ideally you get a better all-around experience. With a jailbroken device however, you lose the ability to immediately upgrade, since you have to wait for a new version of the jailbreak to come out, and even when it does, you have to restore your phone to get it. Not very user friendly.
Stock Apps Breaking – Stock iOS apps might not always be the best, but many of us rely on them to get things done. Some jailbreaks can break these apps or worse yet, break features like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
SEE ALSO: iPhoto Replacements
Why Jailbreaking Doesn’t Matter
Issues aside, the biggest reason Jailbreaking really doesn’t matter any more is the number of features we get with the newest versions of iOS. When iOS (then iPhone OS) first came out, it was incredibly restrictive. Forget the walled garden, it was a straight-up prison.
With restrictions weighing the older iPhones down, the need to jailbreak was a given. Jailbreaking gave the iPhone a new life as a fully customizable device. Finally you could change your wallpaper, add information to the Lock Screen, and even get multitasking!
Today however, with the iPhone 5, 5C, and 5S running iOS 7.1, most of these features are included. You can get a Wi-Fi hotspot, change a lot more settings than you ever could before, and even see important information on your Lock Screen. The risks of bricking your device and running into functionality issues are still as present as they ever were, but the risk vs. reward just isn’t there.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t great reasons to jailbreak, like unlocking your device without the help of the carrier is a huge reason, but other than that it’s just not that important.
Jailbreaking makes the news less and less because it’s not amazing that new features can be enabled because the user base of the iPhone has shifted. Apple went from not caring if people want new features to copying them from the jailbreakers themselves.
Jailbreaking the iPhone led to many of the features we love today in iOS 7.1. Without it, we wouldn’t be where we are and the iPhone would be a much more limited system.
It seems that Jailbreaking did its job and opened the iPhone up, to an extent, and allowed for more innovation than it seems was ever planned. Jailbreaking served its purpose and until it offers a major reward for all the risk that comes with a jailbreak, it’s just not worth it anymore.