iPhone Jailbreaking: 10 Reasons Why It's a Bad Move

News Analysis: With an increasing number of people looking to jailbreak their iPhones, it's time for a refresher on why such a move is a bad idea.

When the U.S. Copyright Office ruled recently that jailbreaking did not violate federal copyright law, a cottage industry of jailbreaking applications immediately popped up across the Web. Although jailbreaking was common before, the ruling has set the stage for far more companies and individuals to find ways around Apple's iOS and allow users to potentially get more from their smartphones.

But the more consumers get out of their phones, the worse it might be. As nice as it might sound to get beyond Apple's restrictions, those rules are partially in place to protect users. Since the jailbreaking community has so far delivered few apps that justify going through the risky process, it seems that, at this point, doing so makes little sense. Here's why jailbreaking the iPhone is a bad idea.

1. There are security concerns. The most obvious reason not to jailbreak the iPhone is security. As soon as a user jailbreaks the device, they're putting themselves in undue risk. In fact, it's estimated by some security experts that a jailbroken iPhone loses the majority of its security features. And considering that users store sensitive information on their iPhones, knowing that they could put all that data in danger just to jailbreak an already nice phone should be enough to make them stay away.

2. The benefits are limited. The real value of jailbreaking an iPhone is hard to judge. For some users, the act of jailbreaking is a way to fight back against Apple and other technology companies that supposedly "lock" users into a device and mobile carrier package. For others, it's the promise of something better. The only issue is that there isn't much to like once the jailbreaking is complete. In essence, the user has a device that works just as it did before without some of the old restrictions placed upon it. And once owners start using the jailbroken device, they quickly find out that it provides the same experience with different apps. In other words, it's not all that great. And it really isn't worth it.

3. One can only hope nothing goes wrong. When jailbreaking an iPhone, there is a risk of losing data or turning it into a useless brick. Realizing that, users are taking quite a risk when they decide to jailbreak the device. The process could go easily and take just a few minutes, but it might also go horribly wrong. And in a worst case scenario, the user may have to buy a new iPhone. Jailbreaking might sound like a great idea at first, but things can quickly go awry when a user decides to jailbreak a smartphone. And that must be kept in mind.

4. You don't want to get cut off from OS updates. Whenever Apple updates its operating system, those who jailbreak the device are left out in the cold. As soon as the user plugs their jailbroken iPhone into their computer to download new software, Apple closes the operating system and installs the new update. That means that if a user wants a new version of Apple's software, but still wants to maintain all the jailbroken features, they're out of luck. Apple doesn't want users to jailbreak its smartphones. And it does everything it can with each new update to stop that. So, if an update is really important to a user, it's probably best not to jailbreak the smartphone in the first place.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...