iPhone jailbreaking is legal


The U.S. government on Monday announced that jailbreaking an Apple iPhone is not illegal and iPhone owners who choose to do this will not be punished by the law in any way. This is a significant decision in favor of the consumer and against Apple Inc. Apple said in early 2009 that jailbreaking the iPhone was a form of copyright infringement but, some App developers disagreed with this standpoint and either went ahead to develop them anyway or just stayed away from Apps for the iPhone altogether.

Although this issue affects some other smartphones as well, it is the most significant to the iPhone because all the Apps in the App Store must be approved by Apple first. This means that if a company wants to develop an App for the iPhone that App must meet the specific criteria and play within the rules that Apple sets out for them. If you have ever seen an iPhone that has been jailbroken you know what it looks like when an App is forced to be bound by those rules.

Before the latest OS4 update for the iPhone was introduced some weeks back, the home screen wallpaper on the iPhone was solid black. However, this was only true for unhacked iPhones. Jailbroken iPhones had the ability to customize the home screen wallpaper and even change the style of the dock’s appearance, among many other free options. We now see that the phone was obviously capable of handling such features because these are now common place since the OS4 update. However, people were bound to Apple’s rules and were not allowed to be creative and innovative on their own terms.

This ruling gives more power to the individual and also saves them money because they will not have to pay for the Apps they download. It opens the door for larger companies that had a lot to lose by making illegal Apps for the iPhone to go ahead and create innovate tools for it without risking legal punishment or being held on a leash by Apple. This ruling is very good for the industry and the public because the amount of control Apple had with its operating system slowed down the pace of innovation and made simple tools too expensive.

I am not saying that every iPhone owner should jailbreak their phone now because it is not without risk. Jailbreaking your iPhone will make your warranty invalid. Also, Apple says that jailbreaking the iPhone will cause it to be unstable and not operate at its optimal level. I know several people that have jailbroken their iPhones and although the majority is happy they did, I know of a few that said that it made their iPhone not work properly. Every individual needs to come to his/her own decision regarding jailbreaking their iPhone, but at least now they can decide without fear of breaking the law.