Home Why You Have to Jailbreak the iPhone 4 (or iOS 4)

Why You Have to Jailbreak the iPhone 4 (or iOS 4)

Over a year ago, we wrote an article detailing the many reasons you should jailbreak the iPhone. We listed things like the ability to record video, zoom in on photos, upload videos to YouTube and customize your iPhone’s background with themes, among other things. With the release of the iPhone 4 and its new operating system, iOS 4, many of those older reasons to jailbreak are no longer valid – they’re features of the either the new hardware or the operating system itself.

That may leave you wondering, besides the obvious (turning your iPhone 4 into a Wi-Fi hotspot!), are there any reasons to still jailbreak the iPhone? Is iOS 4 “good enough” now?

The answer to that question, at least in our opinion, is “NO!” There are still plenty of great reasons to jailbreak an iPhone. And here are some our favorites:

1. Wi-Fi Hotspot

As mentioned above, using the iPhone as a Wi-Fi hotspot is still the number one reason to jailbreak the iPhone. Oh sure, you could pay for tethering, but who wants to do that? MyWi is the app to get, and although it’s buggy at times, once you get it up and running, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

There’s a new version of MyWi for the iPhone 4 OS, which you’ll need to grab from Cydia. The app is called, simply, MyWi 4.0. Our installation guide for MyWi is here, and for the most part still applies to the 4.0 install and setup.

2. FaceTime (and More!) over 3G

Another paid app worth checking out is My3G. This jailbreak app lets you do more things over 3G than you can on an un-jailbroken phone, including using FaceTime, which Apple restricts to Wi-Fi only. My3G users can also download TV shows and podcasts from iTunes over 3G or watch HD YouTube videos.

3. Unlocking the Phone

Unlocking is not the same thing as jailbreaking, although the two terms are often used interchangeably by those not following the issue closely. Jailbreaking allows you to install unapproved third party applications on your iPhone, but unlocking allows you to run the iPhone on a different carrier than its default. (For example, T-Mobile instead of AT&T in the U.S.) A carrier unlock for the iPhone 4 OS is now available as of this week.

4. Block Calls and Texts

Want to block calls, SMS or MMS messages from someone? The iBlacklist app (a somewhat pricey $11.99) makes that possible. Now iPhone 4/iOS 4 compatible, the app lets you select who to block and also offers parental controls for outgoing calls.

5. More Settings, More Customization

Go ahead and laugh, Android users, but poor iPhone owners who want to drill down deeper into their settings or further customize their devices beyond wallpaper backgrounds have no choice but to jailbreak. Yet once they do, there are options aplenty. A perennial favorite is SBSetttings, an app that puts quick toggles for the most heavily used features right at your fingertips (just swipe the status bar). Although iOS 4 allows for homescreen backgrounds, Winterboard lets you customize even more options, like the battery indicator and the icons on the lock screen. Other apps, like LockInfo, for example, let you 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.

6. New Reasons Still to Come!

Perhaps most importantly, outside of top recommendations like these, there are new reasons to jailbreak arriving every day. The jailbreaking community is full of innovation, even if Apple stifles what it accepts into its official App Store.

Case in point: The upcoming app called Infifolders will let you put as many icons into an iOS 4 app folder as you want, while Apple limits you to 12.

Or maybe you have a reason that’s not listed here? A need that’s not being addressed? There’s likely a jailbreak app for that, no matter what it is. You can keep track of the jailbreak apps and their iOS 4 compatibility via this Google Docs spreadsheet. Maybe you’ll even find some new apps to try out while reading through the list.

Jailbreaking is easier than ever before, thanks to the new jailbreakme.com website. You can jailbreak your phone in a matter of minutes. Although fearful owners may fret about voiding their warranty, we have to remind you that jailbreaking is not irreversible. You can always restore your phone to factory settings if you ever need to get support or return the device to Apple for repair. That said, if you feel icky just breaking the rules because they’re rules by golly!, then you may want to leave well enough alone… or get an Android phone, which is more open and customizable right out of the box.

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