The iPhone 3GS is, to put it mildly, the most amazing device I’ve owned. This shouldn’t be too surprising since sophistication, design and my purchasing power are expected to increase with time. I love to listen to live air traffic control communications, tweet, manage email, play amazing games and locate local businesses on my iPhone. The marriage of GPS, multi-touch screen, accelerometers, microphone, speakers and a magnetometer (compass) enable developers to create amazing applications. It also happens to have a phone, but that, for me, is hardly its greatest feature.
It isn’t perfect, though. Only a few of the standard apps can be run in the background (mail, phone, email) and none of the apps in the App Store can. This means that if I want to listen to Pandora Internet Radio or LiveATC or track billable hours I cannot use my iPhone for anything else for the duration of time I’m using those apps. Also, the iPhone cannot be tethered to a laptop to share its internet connection. The iPhone won’t let me customize the background or icons, either (this is a minor issue).
What’s worse is that the device itself does not have these limitations; the iPhone is purposely hampered due to support, contractual and other requirements. The device is capable of much more than people are allowed to do with it out of the box.
There is a solution: jailbreaking. Jailbreaking an iPhone or iPod Touch essentially bypasses the security restrictions embedded into the phone and frees it to be all it was designed to be. In about a minute the owner of these amazing devices will gain access to a plethora of apps rejected to or never submitted to Apple’s App Store. Additionally, they will be able to run apps in the background, customize the theme, tether for internet sharing and gain access to the file system. The possibilities are nearly endless.
The process of jailbreaking an iPhone should not intimidate. It’s wicked simple. It took about a minute using instructions from iClarified.
Kirsten’s iPhone is a bit newer. In the few shorts months since I purchased mine and then purchased hers Apple patched the vulnerability that allowed for a tetherless boot. I didn’t learn this until after I had (unnecessarily) restored her device once. It was a bit frustrating before I used Google to find a solution. I learned a bit, which is always fun. She will have to plug her iPhone in to her computer whenever she needs to boot up, which is rare.
After running BlackRa1n to do the jailbreak I installed Cydia, which allows the user to download apps not available in Apple’s App Store. The first application I installed was Backgrounder and the second ProSwitcher. These two apps work together: Backgrounder allows you to run any app in the background and ProSwitcher allows a nice user interface to switch between background apps. Now I can listen to Pandora while satiating my Twitter addiction. FTW!
Next it was time to prettify the theme. I searched around a bit online and finally settled on the GinoAwesome theme with a Reflective Dock (see image above). These themes (and countless others) are managed with the Winterboard app.
It would be awesome if Apple (and AT&T) would free the iPhone of capitalistic restrictions and give users full access to their beloved devices.
Thank you, Derek, for encouraging me to jailbreak.