Phones and Tablets have become part of life. Almost everyone in our modern day society owns some form of mobile device and with the constant daily improvements even your entry level phones are now considered to be Smartphones. Tablets are also becoming more and more popular. The one with problem these devices is that the manufacturers often limit them which means most of these devices don’t work to their full potential out of the box. This is so the consumer doesn’t fiddle around, tweak things they aren’t supposed to be touched or worse, break something (which the manufacturer may be liable for). The biggest players in the mobile smartphone market are Android, Apple iOS and Windows 8 mobile. What if I told you there was a way to unlock your device to use it to its fullest potential. Let me introduce to the world of Jailbreaking/ Rooting.
Jailbreaking/Rooting is the process of removing the limitations imposed by the manufacturers so that the user has access to the operating system files. This can allow the user to download or modify the device to do things that would not be available via the official manufacturer’s App Store. Open your phone up to additional applications, extensions and themes that wouldn’t be normally available to them. The term “Jailbreak” is often used with Apple iOS, and Windows Mobile devices whereas “Rooting” is done on Android devices. It is not illegal but warranty may be void (the device can be easily restored with no traces of Jailbreak/Root).
Ok so that sounds great but what you’re probably saying: “my device already does pretty much everything what more do I need?” Endless Customisation, freedom to tweak any settings, turn your device into anything from a PlayStation 1 to a Wii remote control, and getting more performance. How about unlocking a device that you to work with any cellular phone provider anywhere in the world.
As I said there are plenty tweaks and apps that are available so I will just discuss some of my favourite ones.
Winterboard (iOS)– Winterboard is the iOS theme manager. You can customise your device to anything your heart desires. From moving backgrounds, to changing the colour of your font. This tweak immediately gives your device a personality of its own and you are guaranteed to receive admiration from your fellow Apple users.
Pimp My ROM (Android) - This tweak makes your device faster, more stable and more responsive. There are a lot of things that happen in the background but you will notice your device has become a little bit more “alive”. This tweak also improves battery performance, internet browsing and higher quality camera recordings. Check it out.
Emulators (Both Android and iOS) – Revive some of your old Game Boy games by turning your device into a Game Boy Advance handheld gaming device. There are also emulators for the Nintendo 64, SEGA, SNES and PS1. If you play around with the applications and tweaks, you would be able challenge your friends using Wii remotes on a TV, all through your device.
SetCPU (Android) – Get more out of your device by pushing it to its processing limits. For those who want better speed and performance from their devices this is must have.
Graviboard (iOS) – Ok so this tweak is pretty useless but it is fun to impress your friends. It allows all your icons to experience gravity. You can also throw your icons across the screen.
As I mentioned before the tweaks are endless, as you can see from the above examples anything is possible. There are however some things to consider when Jailbreaking/Rooting your device. You have to do some research on the version of the mobile operating system you are running as well as the exact model number. Make sure you can find an “Untethered” jailbreak/root as a “tethered” version will require you to plug in your phone or tablet to your pc to switch it back on. If the incorrect programs or files are used, there is a strong chance that you can “brick” your device. In my experience, a bricked device can always be restored to normal but rather try avoid that hassle.
Most of the tweaks are free but some of the better ones may cost you around $1.00 - $3.00 ( or est. R8.00 - R25.00). Be aware that given the range of devices available some tweaks will work better on different devices. Also, with more access to your phone or tablet, there is a chance you may fiddle with something that can create a few errors. Before you try anything, I recommend you back up your settings and Google the topic extensively. YouTube videos, forums and blogs almost always give you all the information you need.
There are many sites that explain how to Jailbreak/Root your device. I recommend to Google “Jailbreak” (or “Root” for Android), “device name” and the “operating system” version Eg “Jailbreak Iphone 4 iOS 5.1.1”. And if at any time you want to go back to normal factory settings just restore your device with the manufacturer applications (iTunes, Kies etc).
Hopefully this article has shown you that your device is more powerful than you originally thought. Whether it would be to add extra features, improve the overall use or just to customise it to look as cool as you do, Jailbreak/Root can help you do that.
Now, it’s up to you to discover what your device can do and how you can make it your own.