Should You Jailbreak Your iPhone?

Last Updated Dec 22, 2009 5:20 PM EST


My iPhone does just about everything I want it to, with one exception: It can't print photos on my Bluetooth-friendly Dell Wasabi pocket printer. That's because Apple hasn't seen fit to enable Bluetooth printing. Dang Apple.

There is, however, a workaround: If I jailbreak my iPhone, I can install an app that will make Bluetooth printing as easy as Web browsing. And an app that enables tethering. And one that records video, iPhone 3GS-style. Tempting, no?

For the uninitiated, jailbreaking is the process of hacking the iPhone's operating system to allow "unauthorized" apps (meaning unapproved by Apple) to run. (See: If These Ten Apps Don't Convince You to Jailbreak Your iPhone, Nothing Will.) It's free to do and, from what I understand, fairly easy. (Here's a complete guide to iPhone jailbreaking.)

But should you do it? That's the question PC World's Mike Keller tackles in Jailbreaking Your iPhone: Pros and Cons. You already know one of the pros -- support for loads of cool apps you can't otherwise use -- but the cons include increased instability, possible security breaches, and the dreaded "bricking" of your iPhone.

That last con is really the only thing that's kept me from making a 'break. What about you? Image by Tim Cox.

  • Rick Broida On Twitter»

    Rick Broida, a technology writer for more than 20 years, is the author of more than a dozen books. In addition to writing CNET's The Cheapskate blog, he contributes to CNET's iPhone Atlas.