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15 reasons to jailbreak your iPhone

Jailbreaking is "legal, ethical, and just plain fun", and allows you to use your iPhone exactly how you want it to.
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By Zack Whittaker, Contributor on
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1 of 16 Zack Whittaker/ZDNET

Because it gives you choice and extreme customisation, and "breaks the device out of its jail" to allow you to install any application

Jailbreaking, in a nutshell, gives you all of the glamour of owning an iPhone, while retaining the flexibility features of Android. The process itself is quick and easy, and is legal under U.S. law. It rarely has any effect on the App Store applications you have downloaded, but gives you an additional store ("Cydia") to install free or even paid-for apps to make your iPhone experience even better.

In short: you gain so much more, and lose nothing. Well, except maybe your warranty. 

Image source: Flickr.

Related:

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Activator is one of the most popular jailbreak iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch applications available. It allows you to assign gestures and reassign hardware buttons to launch applications or perform certain functions. 

With it, you can assign any hardware key on your iPhone, such as the home button, to launch an application on a sequence, such as a double-press or a short-hold press. You can even assign your volume up- and down-buttons to adjust how loud your music is -- while short-holding the up-key to skip to the next track, and short-holding the down-key to jump to the previous track.

Price: free.
Compatible with: iOS 5, 5.0.1 (and 5.1, though not yet officially supported, it works.)

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SBSettings adapts your lock screen and notification center to bring you the toggle buttons you need and use on a regular basis in one place. 

From your lock screen and notification center, you can easily toggle all kinds of settings without digging around in the depths of your menus. From 3G data toggling to Wi-Fi networking toggling, you can even adjust the brightness of your device and see how much data you are using all in one place. 

For power users, this is an absolute must-install.

Price: free.
Compatible with: iOS 5+ (and 5.1.)

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3G Unrestrictor 5 works on all versions of iOS 5, including the latest iOS 5.1 version. It tweaks applications to allow normally disallowed 3G services to run when there is no Wi-Fi connection available. This means you can video call your friends without using Wi-Fi, or backup your device with iCloud, as it bypasses the need to be connected to a high-speed broadband network.   

But be careful. There is a reason why Apple restricts these settings -- so that iPhone users do not churn up their data tariffs by using FaceTime or Skype video.

Price: $3.99 (or $1.99 upgrade.)
Compatible with: iOS 5+ (including 5.1.)

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Spire is a non-iPhone 4S working port of Siri. It's an easy port over, and doesn't churn up half as much space as you would think. On older devices, particularly iPod touch devices, it may run a little slow, and it all depends on a working proxy. But once you find one -- and be warned, you may want to pay for one, as they are readily available to purchase on the web as a premium service -- you will have a working version of Siri. Just hold down the home button and you are set to go.

International Business Times has a guide to install Spire on your iOS 5+ device.

But be careful. Your data may run through this proxy, so emails and other data may not be as secure as you would ordinarily like it.

Price: Free
Compatible with: iOS 5+ (including the iPod touch, iPad, and the iPhone 4 and 4S)

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IntelliScreenX is my favourite jailbreak application for the iPhone. In iOS 5, the notification center was brought to our screens. But it could do so much more, and do a lot better. It lets you see everything you have coming in from your lock screen -- all at a glance.

The notification center is replaced by this app, but adds so much more. It adds emails, Facebook, Twitter, phone calls, instant messaging notifications, plus more. From the weather, to RSS feeds, and even stock quotes, you can customise it completely to get exactly what you want from your lock screen. 

At $9.99, it is entirely worth it. It comes with a free trial so you can see exactly what you're getting.

Price: $9.99 (+ free trial.)
Compatible with: iOS 5, 5.0.1, and 5.1.

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SMSmileys replaces written text-based emoticons with actual emoticons. Such a small feature, but it's missing from iOS. Seeing as the iPhone is such a consumer -- and business -- focused device, it's astounding to think that the technology giant doesn't add such a simple feature.

Again: this is what jailbreaking is for. It gives you customisation -- often for free -- that you could get from other smartphones, like Android or BlackBerrys, yet retains the glamour of being an iPhone.

Price: free.
Compatible with: iOS 5, 5.0.1, 5.1.

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Springtomize 2 for iOS 5+ allows you to "customise every aspect of your phone", and is one of if not the single most powerful and advanced application for your jailbroken iPhone.

This application gives you the tools to customise your iOS device, to make it look and feel how you want. It provides plenty of options to modify even the littlest aspect of your device, and it's all in one single place. You can tweak status bars, the colours of the interface, animations and capabilities, dock reflections, unrestrict folder sizes -- and even "skin" or theme your iOS interface to make it look like, of all things, an Android device. 

If there is one reason and one reason alone to buy an iPhone and immediately jailbreak it, it's because of this fantastic app. It's worth every cent; in fact, it should probably cost more.

Price: $2.99.
Compatible with: iOS 5+ (also for iPad, iPod touch.)

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ContactPrivacy protects your iPhone data, particularly your contact data, by warning you when an application wants to upload your contacts to its servers without your express permission.

Path, Facebook, and others sparked controversy when they were found to upload your contact list data to their service without asking explicit consent from the user. While Apple is still to roll out a fix, this application really protects your data. You can always flick a switch in its settings to allow it though, meaning you can still "Find friends" who use the same service as you.

Price: free.
Compatible with: iOS 5, 5.0.1, 5.1.

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VLC media player is by far the best media player for video files that exists. It's not only open-source but it is multi-platform. It's now been spliced and hacked to run on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

The videos feature on your iOS device requires files to be in an iOS-compatible format, such as .mp4 or .m4v. VLC allows you to add in pretty much any file there is and play it, cutting out the need for complicated desktop media converters, or buying legitimate copies through an overpriced iTunes.

Price: free.
Compatible with: iOS 5, 5.0.1, 5.1.

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My-Wi 5.0 is specifically adapted to run on the latest version of iOS 5, including 5.1. While the iPhone is given a 'personal hotspot' feature to provide wired and wireless tethering to other devices, like MacBooks and other laptops, it only goes so far.

For basic tethering, it's fine. But this application is tethering on steroids. You can tether over Bluetooth, a wired connection, and Wi-Fi, and you can add super-security to your connection. It's far better than a personal Mi-Fi device. 

But be careful: My-Wi does not hide unauthorized tethering, which means you could still be charged an arm and a leg if you do not have it on your data tariff.

Price: $19.99.
Compatible with: iOS 5, 5.0.1, 5.1.

 

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NoNewsIsGoodNews may not offer you anything new, but it goes to show exactly how jailbreaking your iPhone makes all the difference. This application completely removes Newsstand, which cannot be put into a folder or moved away from the home screen.

This tiny application doesn't display an icon, it just does what it says it will do: it hides Newsstand, so you can fill up that extra space on your first home screen with anything you like.

Price: free.
Compatible with: iOS 5+ (including 5.1.)

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TruPrint takes the in-built printing capabilities of your iPhone and expands it to almost every printer available on your home or work network. iOS devices only support AirPrint printers, and there aren't many of them. But if you have a network printer, or a local printer of a popular and common brand, the chances are you will be able to use TruPrint.

For the price, it's entirely worth it. The printing functionality in the iPhone is good, but it could be far better. TruPrint is its jailbroken app cousin on steroids, and works flawlessly again and again. 

Price: free.
Compatible with: iOS 5+ (including 5.1.)

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Five Icon Dock does exactly what it says on the tin. There is only so much you can customise with the iPhone, unlike Android smartphones or even BlackBerrys. At least on BlackBerrys you can change the theme of the device, and determine how many icons are on your home screen. With this, it's a tiny tweak that allows you to plonk an extra, much needed icon to your iPhone dock screen. 

Price: free.
Compatible with: iOS 5+ (including 5.1.)

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DataMonitor is another "does what it says on the tin" applications, by monitoring exactly how much data you use on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. 

It works best on an iPhone or iPad, because with 3G speeds (and with the new iPad, 4G speeds), it allows you to keep within your data tariff parameters and without going over. It differentiates Wi-Fi data and 3G/4G data so you know how much you are spending while you're at home or roaming abroad.

Price: free.
Compatible with: iOS 5, 5.0.1, 5.1.

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EZDecline allows you to reject calls from your home or lock screen, without having to fumble around looking for the decline button. You can always sleep your device instead of "sliding to accept" the call, but not many people know that. It's as if Apple wants you to take calls and not avoid them.

This application simply adds a "Decline" or "Answer" set of buttons, allowing you to easily decline the call should you wish, hence the name of the Cydia tweak.

Price: free.
Compatible with: iOS 5+ (including 5.1.)

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