The popularity of jailbreaking iOS devices has risen drastically over the last few years. My iPhone is jailbroken and I love it. I am often asked the following; What is jailbreaking? Why am I jailbroken? Can my phone be jailbroken? Jailbreaking is the process of removing the limitations on Apple devices running the iOS operating system through the use of software and hardware exploits. Jailbreaking allows the download of additional applications, extensions, and themes that are unavailable through the official Apple App Store. That depends on your phone and the software version you are running. Lets go over some pros & cons of jailbreaking.
Its Easy - Jailbreaking has come a long way since 2007. What was once hard to do (correctly completing a sequence of button presses) is now a few clicks with your mouse). Jailbreaking allows you to do things on your iOS device that Apple does not allow. Restoring your device in iTunes will remove the jailbreak.
Forbidden Fruit - Apple often kicks apps out of the app store only for them to surface later as a jailbreak app. The most popular type of app is tethering. Tethering allows you to use your iPhones data on your tablets/laptops. Most carriers charge extra for this feature and limit you to the amount you can use. With the tethering apps you spend a few dollars once and have that ability with out the carriers charging you monthly. You can customize the interface of iOS with one of the hundreds of themes available. Some of the tweaks are free and some cost a few dollars. A few of my favorites are being able to access wifi/bluetooth/location settings in my Notification Center, accessing multiple apps from the Lockscreen, holding my volume up button to start a new message. There are thousands of options available. You can find an app or tweak for anything from changing your carrier logo to removing the 50MB download limit for apps.
Stability - These modifications come with some trade offs. Some of the tweaks make your device unstable. One of the tweaks I had installed would put my phone into safe mode every time I would take a picture.
Battery Life - Battery life often takes a hit as well. The developers of the modifications often do not care about the power consumption.
Security - Your device is more open to attacks when jailbroken. When you jailbreak your device and enable SSH, its more accessible from the outside than it once was. Many people jailbreak their phones and do not change the default password.
Updates - iOS updates from Apple will often close the exploit used by hackers. Apple does not go out of their way to close the exploit but they do want to make their devices as secure as possible. That presents the user with a choice to make. Stay jailbroken and enjoy the modifications while being less secure or update and lose the mods and be more secure.
If you are deciding wether to jailbreak your phone or not there are 2 questions you need to ask yourself. 1st, is your phone eligible to be jailbroken? The current jailbreak, Evasi0n only works on iOS devices running 6.0 through 6.1.2. If your device has 6.1.3 or 6.1.4 then you are out of luck. If you have an older software then there may be hope. iClarified has a nice guide to follow. The 2nd question is if you feel comfortable having a less secure phone. If so, then have a look at the links above to get started. As I mentioned earlier, I enjoy my phone being jailbroken. I love being able to do things that Apple should have included in the OS. Ask me again after iOS 7 is announced June 10th and my answer may be different. Let me know what apps/themes/tweaks you are installing in the comments.