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What is Jailbreaking?
Technical Definition of Jailbreak:
The iPhone, iPod touch, iPad & Apple TV hack that allow users to gain access to the entire Unix filesystem. In Unix terms, this refers to changing the root of the directory tree to /.
Understandable Definition of Jailbreak:
A hack that gains access to areas of the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad that users aren’t supposed to mess with. Typically, this is an immediate prelude to either installing cool programs, unlocking the handset for use with another cellular network, or both.
Through jailbreaking, you are able to add additional applications to your iDevice. It allows you to do so by adding an application called Cydia to your iDevice. It also allows modding (changing) of your iDevice application icons, wallpaper, dock, status bar, chat bubbles, weather backgrounds, keyboard….etc.
Why Jailbreak your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Apple TV?
When you first hear about the ability to jailbreak your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Apple TV you are probably thinking, “Why should I do this?” Well, the two main reasons are to allow programs to run that Apple doesn’t approve of and to customize the look of your device. I’m going to try and cover some of the best programs (apps) that you can run and best customizations (mods) you can do after jailbreaking your device.
Apple has recently done a great job of adding more and more features to the iOS software which makes many people think there is no longer the need to jailbreak their iDevice. I disagree. The jailbreaking process, along with the apps, hacks and mods that follow, are the reasons that Apple has added so many features to the iOS software. Early hacks like adding wallpaper, scrolling pages, folders and even installing apps were all started in the hacking community. Below are some of the reasons I still jailbreak my iDevices that I use on a daily basis.
Example Jailbreak Apps
Cydia is like the App Store, it’s lets you install applications right to your device without a computer. Really, the correct way to say it would be the App Store is like Cydia because there was Cydia before there was the App Store. There was also an app called Installer before that, but now Cydia has taken over as the best program to use to get jailbroken apps onto your iPhone or iPod Touch. Anyway, basically the App Store works just like Cydia.
Some Interesting Hacks on Jailbroken iDevices
Winterboard is the application that allows you to change the look of things on your iPhone. We’ll use this a lot later when we look at modding your iPhone. Basically it lets you install different themes or visual changes to your device.
Example Modifications (Mods)
|Wallpaper on your Springboard
Note: Apple has now made this a feature of firmware 4.x. You can have a separate image for your lockscreen and your homescreen. Winterboard still allows more control of your homescreen such as the “Dim Wallpaper” mentioned above.
|Change Your Dock
Personally, I think the dock that comes on the older iPhone firmware is ugly. No problem! You can change it to whatever you want. There are a lot out there already created and most themes come with their own dock (I’ll get to themes later). And, if you don’t want a dock at all, just check “Transparent Dock” in WinterBoard.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of themes designed for the iPhone. They include all kinds of visual changes to your iPhone including wallpaper, different icons, battery on the locks screen, docks and so on. There are many ways to install themes like through Cydia or manually uploading them to your iPhone through SSH. How ever you do it, themes allow you to customize your iPhone to look the way you want. Click here to see some of the themes which are popular in the Jailbreaking Scenario
One thing I always wondered is why the Calendar icon changed to the correct date but the Weather and Clock icons were always static (not changing). Well, by jailbreaking your iPhone you’ll have access to some hacks that make these live. The clock hands move with the real time. Even the second hand moves. And, for the Weather icon, the current temperature and weather conditions update right on the icon! I’m not sure why Apple never did this themselves but thanks to Stimpy5050 for figuring it out! Here’s links to the mods called LiveClock and WeatherIcon
Here’s another thing that Apple should have done. They use reflections in a lot of their design and applications so I’m not sure why they left it out on the iPhone. Just see this article on how to set it up. It makes your icons in your dock have a fadded reflection. You use WinterBoard to turn in on.
|Five Icon Dock
This one’s as simple as it sounds. By installing this mod through Cydia, you can then drag a fifth icon the dock. Click here for in-depth info
|Five Icon SpringBoard
If five icons on your dock isn’t enough you can try the Five Icon SpringBoard mod. It makes room for five icon in each row on your entire springboard. It’s also confirmed that it lets you install more apps since there’s more room for icons.Installation Procedures can be found Here
|Customize Your Status Bar
I love customizing my status bar so I can see what’s going on from any app. A big one is adding the date to the already existing time. You can do this through an app called SBSettings. This way I don’t have to look at the calendar icon to check today’s date. I also like changing the way things look. This can be done via SSH or just installing some changes through Cydia. Changing what the battery looks like is done with an app called Battery Control. This lets me remove the battery, just haver percentage, tap to change and more. There is a lot more like weather, status notifications and changing Cellphone carrier; just check the links for more info.