What started out as a brief aside in an article eventually got me thinking about why people jailbreak. Now that iOS does a lot of the things that the early jailbreakers wanted, why do people still jailbreak? It turns out that it has more to do with carriers than it has to do with Apple. I didn’t really see that one coming.
There’s always going to be a handful of users who jailbreak to get applications for free. Piracy isn’t going anywhere, and where there’s a will there’s a way, but surprisingly there weren’t that many comments about getting apps for free.
There was an overwhelming response from people looking for two specific applications: MyWi and My3G. BitSMS and SBSettings also came up a lot, but for the most part, MyWi and My3G were the overall consensus pick when it came to why our readers are jailbreaking their iPhones.
Reason One: MyWi
MyWi is an application that let’s you turn your iPhone and iPad into a WiFi hotspot with the click of a button. It’s like a MiFi but with your iPhone. That’s functionality that we could all benefit from on occasion, but it turns out MyWi might be rendered useless on the iPhone with upcoming iOS releases.
While MyWi might still stick around, Apple has built in Hotspot access to the newly announced EDGE iPhone 4, and iOS 4.3 Beta 1 appears to be bringing Hotspot access to the GSM version of the iPhone 4. MyWi was created because carriers were being obnoxious with their policies about what people can and cannot do with their data plans. Hotspot usage will still be overseen by carriers, but if the Verizons, AT&Ts, Bells, and Rogers of the world do the right thing, Apple might have given users one less reason to jailbreak.
Reason Two: My3G
My3G is the second major reason we saw for users jailbreaking, and after doing some quick research, I was surprised to find out that this particular application is also a shot across the bow of carriers. My3G eliminates the limitation of using FaceTime on the 3G network. Using a native iOS install, users are unable to chat with FaceTime while outside of a WiFi network. That’s pretty bogus when you think about it, and my feelings for the MyWi above pretty much sum up my feelings about My3G. It’s 2011, and it’s time carriers get with the program.
If Milli Vanilli can blame it on the rain, we can blame it on carriers
So, the next time Apple sits down and starts thinking about ways they can do away with the jailbreaking community, they might be surprised to find out that the simplest answer is to deal with the carriers and eliminate their draconian policies. It looks like jailbreakers have more of a problem with their carriers than they do with Apple.
It surprised even me, but now that we’ve looked into it, it makes complete sense. Mobile users understand how packets and data plans work, and they know when they’re getting lied to. In this case, paying for a dataplan means having access to move data in any way that a mobile user wants. Being forced to use your data in a particular way, under a certain set of circumstances is ridiculous. Until Apple does something about the carriers, jailbreakers will continue to jailbreak, and Apple will be stuck in an arms race.