Tech Talk

Mac Format - - MAC SOS - by Luis Vil­la­zon Luis Vil­la­zon fixes other people’s com­put­ers for a liv­ing, and breaks his own in his spare time.

I had a let­ter re­cently from reader Ben­jamin Frost ap­plaud­ing the way the iOS 7.1 up­date broke ex­ist­ing jail­break ex­ploits. Now I’m quite sure this is a very tem­po­rary vic­tory; in fact, a jail­break for iOS 7.1.1 might al­ready be out by the time you read this. Al­ter­na­tively, it might have been re­leased and then blocked by iOS 7.1.2. But it set me won­der­ing: is jail­break­ing ac­tu­ally a bad thing? Per­son­ally, I’ve never seen a jail­bro­ken iPhone or iPad with an app or func­tion that tempted me to suf­fer the ex­tra trou­ble and un­re­li­a­bil­ity, but that doesn’t mean I’d want to see jail­break­ing out­lawed.

Once you buy a phone or a tablet, it should be yours to tinker with as much as you like

Ap­ple op­er­ates a closed shop, with a tightly con­trolled hard­ware and soft­ware plat­form that al­lows it to build de­vices that are gen­er­ally quite re­li­able. There are other ways to achieve the same goal, cer­tainly, but this is the way Ap­ple has cho­sen to do it and it is en­ti­tled to. But once you buy a phone or a tablet, it should be yours to tinker with as much as you like.

I think the arms race be­tween Ap­ple and the jail­break­ers is ac­tu­ally a healthy one. It keeps ev­ery­one on their toes. Jail­break­ing your iPhone is no dif­fer­ent than un­do­ing those tam­perev­i­dent screws with the red lac­quer on them, or us­ing your car for Sun­day af­ter­noon ral­ly­ing. Sure, it in­val­i­dates your war­ranty, but if you don’t care about that, I don’t see any rea­son to stop you.

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