It’s easy to come down on Apple’s iOS mobile operating system and comment on issues such as the lack of flexibility and it’s restrictiveness.
Google’s Android has definite advantages over the iPhone, but I’ve stayed with Apple because I’ve always owned an iPhone – actually since the 3GS was launched – because they’re so simple to use and I own many apps that can’t be transferred.
My requirements are simple: I need a phone that’s easy to use, well made, and streamlined, and I’ve always had this with the iPhone. Admittedly, iTunes drives me nuts sometimes, as so do the restrictions placed when compared to other Android devices.
But then I discovered that I could improve my iOS experience by jailbreaking my iPhone. For those of you who are not familiar with this term, jailbreaking means hacking into the operating system of the device and installing Cydia, a program which is basically an open door to an underground iTunes filled with customized features and apps.
We all know that Apple is determined to prevent jailbreaking of its devices by plugging vulnerabilities and holes as soon as they come to light. Apple believes jailbreaking is a violation of the end-user software license agreement. However, this doesn’t change anything for the user – they still want to avoid the Apple’s build-in defenses for the iPad and iPhone so they have the freedom to personalize their iOS device – or perhaps it’s just because they can!.
Jailbreaking has become very popular as each new iOS is released, but it will be worth it when iOS 8 is released?
At WWDC, Apple introduced a range of customization features for both developers and users, including the Touch ID fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 5S, cameras, iCloud, games and more, plus 4,000 new application programming interfaces for home electronics. In addition, Apple introduced iOS ‘extensibility’ which allows applications to communicate with each other via Apple’s secure ecosystem, including projecting UI into originating apps, thus enabling third-part apps to determine how their content will be shared, seen, or acted upon in other apps.
Because of these iOS 8 extensions, users will have the ability to customize their Notification Center widgets, and import system-wide third-party keyboards and photo filters: one of the main reasons for jailbreaking in the first place was the importing of system-wide third-party keyboards.
It’s true that most of the important jailbreaking features have now been replaced with homegrown features in iOS 8. Jailbreaking features such as Auki and Couria will soon be obsolete thanks to the QuickReply feature which basically allows users to reply instantly to notifications without the need to open an app.
The jailbreak feature that auto-fills passwords based on Touch ID inputs, iTouchSecure, won’t be required because of the new Touch ID API that lets you log into apps using fingerprints. The OkSiri jailbreak tweak that permits users to summon Siri by speaking instead of tapping the home button will now become outmoded because of Apple’s improvements to Siri.
This doesn’t mean that jailbreaking will be disappearing any time soon. There are many features of jailbreaking that Apple won’t touch. For instance, game emulators are programs that mimic video games but you won’t find these on the App store because of copyright issues.
But it’s true that the launch of iOS 8 could be just the start of the end of casual jailbreaking, because it appears that most of the desired tweaks will soon become regular iPhone features. Perhaps Apple may prefer that jailbreaking continues, because a lot of its most popular iOS features were initially popular jailbreak tweaks of their own.