Your smartphone may be as powerful as a computer, but it's also hobbled. You can only install apps on it from the walled garden of the official app store. Your options are limited to the small, vetted collection of "approved" apps as opposed to the unlimited options available for PCs. That's where jailbreaking comes in.
Let's face it — your phone wants to limit your freedom. iOS limits third-party applications, and Android disables them by default. But you can remove these restrictions by using a few creative hacks to root your Android phone, or jailbreak your iDevice. Now you're free to explore a wide-open (but sometimes dangerous) world of fantastic apps that Apple, Android and their network providers don't allow. And that's still true.
But as mobile operating systems grow up, the risks are eclipsing the benefits for the average user. As mobile OSes become more usable, full of all the features you want, jailbreaking has become something that's largely helpful for power users and developers. Most consumers no longer need to jailbreak their phones just to have a decent experience.
Smartphones have never been a bigger target for malware
In fact, when typical users jailbreak their phones, they may be opening themselves up to problems they can't handle. According to security firm Sophos, the explosion in smartphone malware followed the same pattern as the explosion of PC malware, but sped the hell up. Smartphones reached higher levels of malware infection in 18 months than PCs achieved in 15 years.
The varieties of phone malware include SMS trojans that text at premium rates without your knowledge, or iOS-centric malware that sniffs for your Apple ID and passwords, and Android apps that use root access to install malicious code. When you leave the walled garden of apps that Google or Apple put in place to prevent malware, you could be opening yourself up to more dangers (admittedly, malware has appeared in app stores too). Read more...