When Lifehacker posted that you could jailbreak with the click of a link, I couldn’t resist. I stared at the article all day, I looked for others’ opinions, and I quaked in fear of the dire warning. Ultimately, I gave into my deep love of free stuff and clicked the link.
Just a Link? Is it that Easy?
Yes, omg, it is that easy. I clicked a link waited a little bit and then had to restart my iphone (maybe I can’t really remember because it was so easy) — presto an Installer icon appeared. The whole process made me nervous, but it was well put together, and each step told you what was going on (installing, cleaning registry, etc) and usually had a progress bar. I performed the task over WiFi and read comments of others having trouble on Edge. I imagine it’s because Edge is so slow, and they weren’t patient enough (or maybe they lost their cell signal).
Easy Enough, But What’s After Installing?
Once I had Installer.app up (I did have to update the installer itself), I grew frustrated because I didn’t see any of the apps that I read about. I soon found out that you have to install the Community Sources before they will appear. I also ran into the problem that the apps would run and immediately crash. It turns out that I needed the BDS backend (I read that it needed to be installed before the Community Sources, so I unistalled it and reinstalled in that order.)
So, Are You in iPhone Bliss?
Installer is pretty impressive. It lists apps, lets you install them with one click, and you can update them or unistall them just as easily. The apps are conveniently organized in categories and there’s a decent amount of them. Unfortunately, they aren’t that useful. I installed a whole bunch of them, but ultimately there were only a handful worth me keeping installed: flashlight, blackjack, and to-do list. I really have no need to run apache on my cell phone, I’m fine with Apple’s icon themes, don’t care to load custom ringtones, and have no desire to change the AT&T icon. I did like the idea of the dictionary, but the app was horrible to use.
Way Too Beta
My basic impression was that all the apps were pretty beta. Who could blame them they were after all homegrown, but I was disappointed that Blackjack didn’t keep a high score for me without even mentioning the fact that it crashed every other time I used it. The To-Do app was a noble effort but pretty close to horrible when compared with anything that Apple makes. And Flashlight … well, you just don’t use it that much.
It Gets Worse
I could live with buggy betas, but all of this stuff actually makes the rest of the iPhone run much worse. Other Apple apps, would crash, I noticed some buggy behavior in camera (once when I flipped it sideways the picture was cut in half), sometimes the phone would crash after pushing the On button (it would come on then go black, and I’d have to press it again) and the whole thing seemed to hang and run sluggishly.
The Light at the End of the Tunnel
I read that restoring the phone would take it back to normal, but I had no idea what to expect with restoring. The phone was running so buggy that I was willing to loose all my contacts, calendar, etc to go back to normal. It turns out that restoring rocks. It took a few moments, and it warned me that all data would be lost. However, once it was restored, iTunes informed me that it had a backup of my phone and asked if I wanted to restore to the backup. I did, and I didn’t loose any data. My pictures were there, my preferences, and all my contacts.
The Scoop on Jailbreak
I strongly commend the iPhone hacking community. The things they are doing are really awesome, and they did an incredible, amazing feat with the hyperlink install. The whole process was painless and being able to restore back to normal rocked. But … let’s be honest, there aren’t that many useful applications, the games aren’t much better than what you’ll find you can play on the web through Safari, and there are a TON of bugs. Jailbreaking isn’t ready for prime-time, and if you’re thinking about it you probably should stay away. After all, the people who should be doing this stuff, already are. I just can’t wait for the official Apple SDK, and Apple get me blackjack and a To-Do list please.