Pinterest Stumbleupon Whatsapp
Advertisement

iOS is one of the most secure mobile operating systems, but many people still consider it to be very restrictive. Jailbreaking can get rid of those restrictions. Before you jailbreak your device, it’s a good idea to weigh the benefits and potential drawbacks Jailbreaking & iOS: The Pros and Cons of Voiding Your Warranty Jailbreaking & iOS: The Pros and Cons of Voiding Your Warranty Have you been feeling the need to jailbreak recently? With the latest tools, freeing your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad (not iPad 2) is as easy and accessible as it’s likely to get. There are... Read More . Here are a few potential security risks that you should keep in mind.

What Is Jailbreaking?

In a nutshell, jailbreaking removes the security restrictions on your iPhone or iPad A Newbie's Guide to Jailbreaking [iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad] A Newbie's Guide to Jailbreaking [iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad] Read More . This means apps are given access to the core functions of the phone. Functions like contact lists and the ability to send emails or make calls. On a stock iOS device, a user has to give permission to an app to get access these functions. On a jailbroken one, that’s not the case.

iphone-jailbreaking
Image credit: Zach Zupancic via Flickr.

By removing the restrictions that are placed on your device by the manufacturer (much like rooting an Android phone 3 Cool Things You Can Do With A Rooted Android Phone 3 Cool Things You Can Do With A Rooted Android Phone By now you will know that there are a bunch of us here at MakeUseOf that love Android phones. Paul's article on writing an Android app is a good example of how thoroughly we dig... Read More ), you gain access to third-party apps, additional functionality from some of the apps you already have, and a number of system tweaks. This can make your phone or tablet more useful. But it can also create some security and potential legal problems Is It Illegal To Root Your Android or Jailbreak Your iPhone? Is It Illegal To Root Your Android or Jailbreak Your iPhone? Whether you're rooting an Android phones or jailbreaking an iPhone, you're removing the restrictions the manufacturer or cellular carrier placed on the device you own – but is it legal? Read More .

It will also invalidate your Apple warranty and any AppleCare package that you’ve purchased.

Third-Party Apps Might Be Deceiving

There’s a reason that Apple keeps a very tight leash on App Store apps: because a malicious app can wreak a lot of havoc on your device. If you start downloading apps that haven’t been okayed by Apple for the App Store, the chances of getting malware goes up.

iphone-cydia-icon
Image credit: thegilbertchan via Flickr.

For example, millions of people recently downloaded apps with packaged adware from a third-party app store. A developer had been including the adware in apps like Minecraft, QQ, and Pokémon Go. Users couldn’t tell the difference between the compromised apps and the real ones.

Advertisement

Though there have been instances of malware found on the App Store, this isn’t a problem you’re likely to run into on Apple’s highly controlled marketplace. iOS spyware The Dangers of iPhone Spy Software & How To Detect It The Dangers of iPhone Spy Software & How To Detect It Considering spying on an iPhone? Think you've got a compromised device? Here's what you need to know. Read More has also made an appearance on jailbroken devices, much in the same fashion.

Your Accounts Are Vulnerable

In 2015, a piece of malware called KeyRaider stole over 225,000 Apple account details. Because a jailbroken device doesn’t keep apps from accessing information they shouldn’t, a compromised app can access any information on your phone. That includes your Apple account information, banking apps, PayPal user details, and anything else it can find.

stormtrooper-headphone-cord-iphone
Image credit: Simon Doggett via Flickr.

Even if you don’t keep financial information on your phone, there’s always your Apple account. And with that compromised, someone could be buying apps and making in-app purchases with your credit card. It’s not the worst thing that could happen, but it’s at best very annoying. At worst, it could cost you a lot of money.

Everyone Knows the Default Root Password

One of the worst-kept secrets about iOS is its root password: “alpine.” And Apple shows no intention of changing it anytime soon. Having the root password gives a user access to the core functions of the device, and this can be disastrous. Fortunately, this password can be changed, but it’s an easy thing to forget to do.

woman-shushing
Image credit: LarsZ via Shutterstock.

And if you forget it, someone else can take advantage. If they get root access with that password, they can do pretty much anything they want with your phone. Changing the password is crucial for your security, so if you decide to jailbreak your phone, don’t forget to do it. The process was explained in our article on how to configure an FTP server on your iPad How To Configure Your Own iPad FTP Server [Jailbreak] How To Configure Your Own iPad FTP Server [Jailbreak] If you've jailbroken your iPad, there are many ways to transfer files to and fro between your trusty tablet and your computer. However, most of them require you to open some kind of application on... Read More .

KnownVulnerabilities Aren’t Patched

After you’ve jailbroken your iPhone or iPad, you won’t be able to update iOS without reverting back to the un-jailbroken default mode. This isn’t usually a big deal. But many people who have jailbroken devices will wait until a new jailbreak is available before they update. That way, they don’t have to go back to the stock iOS implementation for an extended period of time.

access-prohibited
Image credit: Peter aka anemoneprojectors via Flickr.

But this means you may find yourself vulnerable to security holes in iOS until a new jailbreak is released. It could be a lock screen exploit that allows an intruder physical access to your phone, or it could simply be a vulnerability with the Messages app that causes devices to crash when parsing a particular string.

Of course, if there’s a really significant known security flaw, you could always just download iOS and wait a couple weeks for a new jailbreak. If there’s a flaw that you don’t know about, though, you could be putting yourself at risk every time there’s an update.

Is Jailbreaking a Good Idea?

Now that Apple has added so many features What's New in iOS 10? Everything Coming to Your iPhone This Fall What's New in iOS 10? Everything Coming to Your iPhone This Fall Here's what features you can expect to see added to your iPhone when iOS 10 finally lands. Read More to iOS that people used to jailbreak for, it hardly seems worth it. Siri can now interact with other apps. You can install things like Kodi How to Install Kodi for iOS Without Jailbreaking Your iPad or iPhone How to Install Kodi for iOS Without Jailbreaking Your iPad or iPhone Kodi is one of the best ways to access live TV, and you don't need to jailbreak your device to enjoy free streaming content on your iPhone or iPad. Read More . You can even play Pokémon on your iPhone How to Play Pokemon & Emulate Other Games on Your iPhone or iPad How to Play Pokemon & Emulate Other Games on Your iPhone or iPad Pokemon GO has given Nintendo's franchise a new lease of life, but it's not the only way you can play Pokemon on your iPhone. Read More . But some people will always want more functionality. You’ll have to decide for yourself if you think it’s worth the security risks, but it’s becoming less and less necessary.

Now that you know some of the security risks, do you still think it’s worth jailbreaking? Have you run into any issues in the past with your jailbroken iPhone or iPad? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Featured image credit: Matthew Pearce via Flickr.

Article updated 30 January 2017.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *