Have you ever wondered what the term Jailbreaking means? Jailbreaking is a term, which comes from computer science and is the process in which a user or hacker bypasses the digital restrictions of a piece of software. For this article, I am referring to the jailbreaking / rooting that is undertaken by users of both the iOS and Android operating systems and is done by the majority to enable their devices to benefit from new features and freedoms.
What is Jailbreaking?
Since around 2007, the term has become almost solely associated with iOS, which if you don’t know is Apple’s mobile device operating system for iPhones, iPad and iPod Touch devices. In its earliest days iOS was a highly restrictive and limited piece of software, which lacked some of the more, basic features that smartphone users are accustomed to today.
This limitation, frustrated some users with the skills to create what is today the jailbreak community, and the goal of being able to alter the code of iOS enough to allow third-party features and apps to work became a new pass time for many.
As for the more open Android operating system, it too has a thriving jailbreaking community, however, it is more commonly referred to as rooting by those that partake in it. And as jailbreaking goes, rooting of an Android device is a much more invasive than that done on iOS. The term rooting actually refers to gaining ‘root access’ to the Android OS, and once done, this allows a user to completely replace the OS if he / she wishes.
Why Do it at All?
If you’re an iPhone owner and you want to be in full control over the look of your device, then the options that Apple provides you are probably not going to be enough. So what jailbreaking does for you, is provide a greater level of control over the interface of your device and a greater level of access to none approved App Store third party applications.
The likes of the Cydia store, which is an App Store like the place where you can access custom software created by developers will enable a user to tweak many different aspects of an iPhone. This can be from anything like simple UI elements to applications that offer increased functionality.
As for Android, there are similar and sometimes even more pressing reasons for why someone may want to root / jailbreak their smartphone, such as the ability to be able to completely replace the UI of a manufacturer with a custom one. Yes’ Android by its very nature is much more customizable than iOS, but not everyone is happy to have any form of restrictions placed upon them and rooting allows this be circumvented.
Remember, I said that rooting an Android smartphone was a much deeper process than jailbreaking an iPhone? Well, gaining root access to a device enables a user to take full control over how a phone’s hardware works. In fact, rooting will enable you to take advantage of overclocking applications, so like I said rooting has a much deeper impact on your handset and is more kin to PC modding than Jailbreaking!
I realize that rooting an Android smartphone is a much easier process than modding a PC, however, if your aim is to reshape your device in all aspects, then Android should be your choice of operating systems.