Jailbreaking refers to the process of removing software restrictions placed by Apple on iOS devices. Jailbreaking allows the installation of applications and files as well as modifications, also known as “tweaks”, that are not authorized nor supported by Apple to be installed on the devices. Apple has always maintained the position that jailbreaking a device is risky and against Apple’s warranty. The term jailbreaking is used solely for iOS devices, the Android equivalent.
Jailbreaking first began with the first iPhone. When the iPhone first launched, Apple had an exclusive partnership with AT&T, meaning AT&T was the only network that could work with the iPhone. Jailbreaking allowed an iPhone to be used on different cellular networks. Now, the purpose of jailbreaking has shifted away from cellular network restrictions to customizations and modifications to the software of the device.
Legality of Jailbreaking
While Apple heavily discourages jailbreaking, it has been legal since 2010, at least in the United States. Up until then, it was technically illegal to jailbreak since it is against the Digital Millennium Copyright Act or DMCA since the DMCA makes it illegal to remove, attempt to remove or attempt to circumvent software protections that protect copyrighted material. While the act of jailbreaking is legal, it is important to know that installing “pirated” or “free paid” apps is still illegal.