Home 30+ Reasons to Jailbreak Your iPhone

30+ Reasons to Jailbreak Your iPhone

A few months ago, we wrote a list featuring some of the top jailbreak apps for the iPhone 4. And yet, things like a Wi-Fi hotspot and lockscreen customizations couldn’t convince some of our readers. One person even commented: “I keep looking for a reason [to jailbreak], but it’s just not worth the effort.”

To you, sir, we say this: oh really? Perhaps this new, expanded list will change your mind. For regular jailbreakers, we think you’ll find something new to love on the list below, too.

Not One Killer App?

What you have to understand about jailbreaking is that there’s not necessarily one “killer app” that’s going to sell every person who owns an iPhone on the benefits of jailbreaking.

Jailbreaking is about control. It’s about getting the phone to do that one (or more) special thing you wish it would do, but that Apple won’t allow, doesn’t provide controls for, or has rejected from its official App Store. For some, that may be a high-profile app like the Wi-Fi hotspot or FaceTime over 3G, but for others it will be something as simple as not being limited to just 12 apps in a single iOS 4 folder. (For app addicts like myself, this is a MUST!)

The list below is organized by category of hack. Some of these are free tools, others are paid – yes, even jailbreak iPhone developers are making a little money these days.

A few caveats: We have not thoroughly tested each and every tweak on this list, just our personal favorites – some may not work on your iPhone or iPod Touch OS version or hardware, others may have been updated since this post, there may be bugs and issues we’re not aware of, etc. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK. Don’t install all your favorite apps at once – install them one at a time and use the app for a little while to see if anything goes wrong. If not, then try a second, then a third, etc. It’s the best way to know which app or tweak has caused a problem, if one occurs.

Some of the apps in the list are old, some are new. Please share in the comments about your favorites!

Homescreen/Lockscreen Customization

Infifolders: As noted above, Infifolders lets you put as many icons into an iOS 4 app folder as you want, while Apple limits you to 12.

FolderEnhancer: For even better iOS 4 folders, this is the tweak you want. FolderEnhancer, like Infifolders, lets you nest unlimited apps in a folder, but it also lets you swipe between pages within a folder, nest folders in folders and lets you move around more than one icon at a time. ($1.99)

FolderCloser: Automatically closes the folder after you close an app in the folder.

LockInfo: Now updated with Retina Display, this is one of my personal favorites. This tweak let syou customize your phone’s lockscreen to provide info like email and SMS notifications, missed calls, calendar events and more. More plugins are available to add things like weather, Twitter or RSS feeds, and more.

NoLockScreen: Turn the Lockscreen off entirely by disabling the “Slide to unlock” feature. 

Overboard: This adds an overview of all the Springboard pages and lets you jump in between them. It extends the Springboard page limit, too. This older app has been recently updated to support iOS 4.x and retina display. ($1.99)

No Folder Badges: Not a fan of badges? This tweak turn them all off.

Gridlock: This tweak lets you “unsnap” icons from their typical row/column restrictions, allowing you to group them however you want. ($0.99)

Five Icon Dock: Oldie, but goodie – put five icons in your iPhone’s dock.

Five Icon Switcher: A simple tweak to put 5 icons instead of four in your multitasking switcher’s screen.

SBSettings: All-time favorite for adding controls to a drop-down menu that appears when you swipe the top left part of the screen. You can add switches through add-ons for all sorts of things like disabling radios, killing processes and more. (Free)

Add Functionality/Tweaks

iPod Touch 4 HDR Enabler: Want to take HDR photos with your iPod Touch 4G? You can with this tweak, which is available in Cydia.

HDR/Game Center Enabler: Two tweaks in one! Not only does this enable the HDR feature in the camera app on the iPhone 3/3G, it also adds the Game Center on the 3G. Activate it with Winterboard.

Silent Photo: Turn off the annoying camera shutter sound when you take a photo. Activate it with Winterboard.

SnapTap: This tweak lets you take photos with the iPhone’s volume controls. ($1.49)

FaceBreak: Also mentioned above, FaceBreak lets you make FaceTime calls over 3G. ($1.49)

Mark Read: This tweak provides an easy way to mark all your inbox items as read, or just emails you select as read. When you tap “Edit” on your mailbox, you’ll have the option to select certain emails or tap “Mark All.” You can also mass archive or move emails, too. ($1.99)

Covert: Add a “Private Browsing” mode to Safari. The new button shows up between the “New Page” and “Done” buttons. (Free)

EnhancedTabs: This is a Safari tweak that lets you adjust Safari’s “Open in New Page” behavior. You can either set it to “normal” (the default), which opens a link in a new tab, or you can force Safari to stay in the current tab or the tab overview screen while a new page opens in the background. You can also choose to automatically go to the tab overview screen every time you launch Safari. The “TabCloser” option can be enabled to close all tabs but the selected one. (Free)

FullScreen for Safari: This lets you run Safari in full-screen mode and navigate using gestures. You can map two and three-finger controls, double taps and shaking the device. ($1.50)

iPicMyContacts: A simple tweak that shows contact pictures next to their names in your address book. If you don’t have a picture, you can do a Web search in Google for one to add. ($1.29)

SecretSMS: This tweak encrypts SMS messages so that they can only be read with a password. Sneaky!

EZDecline: Replaces “slide to answer” with “Answer” and “Decline” buttons instead. ($0.99)

Auto3G: This tweak extends battery life by automatically turning off 3G when you lock your phone then turning it back on automatically when you unlock. All radios can now be tweaked too in the most recent update. ($5.99)

Synchronicity: This tweak lets you continue to use your iPhone or iPod Touch while you sync with iTunes. You run apps, make calls, etc., however, there may be a lag. ($2.00)

Wi-Fi Sync: This app lets you wirelessly sync your iPhone or iPod Touch over Wi-Fi.


Animated Live Clock: Instead of the static stock clock app, you can have a live and working clock on iOS 4.1+ devices. You can even customize the animation or look-and-feel if you have Winterboard installed.

Grooveshark: The questionably legal, live streaming music service Grooveshark is available in Cydia. You start with a free trial, but if you want to keep it, it’s $3/month – a bit cheaper than its competitors MOG and Rdio, for example.

PlayAwake: Instead of an annoying “beep, beep, beep!” PlayAwake lets you set your iPhone alarm clock to wake you up with your own music – you just pick the song. ($1.99)

iGotYa: Sneaky app takes a picture of the person who uses your iPhone 4 while you’re away. ($4.99)

biteSMS: An app that provides more features for SMS messages including emoticons, quick reply/compose, privacy settings, scheduled SMS’s, a passcode lock, delivery reports, signatures and more. (Multiple prices)

MyWi: The much needed iPhone Wi-Fi hotspot app. $19.99 for new iPhone 4 users or a $9.99 upgrade for those who previously purchased on iPhone 3 or 3G.

NitoTV: The first jailbreak app for Apple TV! Why? Because you can. Nito TV brings media center capabilities, weather info and RSS updates to your TV.

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