What I liked about my jailbroken iPhone, but why I chose to go Android instead

iPhone 4 launched June 7th, 2010Image by k-ideas via Flickr
Last week, those with jailbroken iPhones rejoiced when the Copyright Office gave its blessing on jailbreaking and made it a non-violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The news offered me an opportunity to reflect on my own jailbreaking experience and make an argument about why I chose to go with Android instead.

The Beginning of the iPhone
Back in July 2008, I stood in line for 2+ hours with the masses at the Michigan Avenue Apple Store as I eagerly awaited my opportunity to purchase and obsess over the much hyped iPhone 3G. The phone spurred a new level of excitement and enthusiasm in me. Prior to even owning the phone, I downloaded apps that I was excited about, and soon began sharing my thoughts and reviews on apps via the web. I became so enamored that I started a blog and even got paid briefly to review apps (perk: a few bucks and lots of free apps!).

Getting out of Jail
Eventually, as is the case of any gadget, the novelty wore off. The apps started looking the same and quality increasingly deteriorated. I soon turned to my iPhone simply to make calls (when I got a signal) and the device began losing its overall appeal to me. Then, on a winter's night in Southern Michigan, I chose to explore the underworld of jailbreaking. I took the plunge by carefully following several tutorials (a plug for the great Apple iPhone School) and soon, I was hooked by the new world of customization previously unavailable to my standard issue iPhone.

The Grass Appeared to be Greener
A whole new world of apps (mainly through Cydia and Rock) suddenly became available. I tweaked the phone for hours, adding lockscreen widgets, changing the app screen backgrounds, using folders for apps, enabled multitasking, and more.  All of this was prior to the updated iOS 4. The ultimate app was MyWi which enabled the iPhone to become an instant WiFi hotspot. It still amazes me how many hotels (including some high priced ones) still don't offer free wifi.

Back to the Basics
Not long after I loaded my phone with new apps did I realize the effect of my incessant tweaking. I encountered more frequent resets and a noticeable slowdown in performance. Thus, I decided to pare back nearly all of my customizations and simply keep the ones I wanted and would use the most.  This included MyWi, SBS Settings, and Google Voice. Although this turned out to be a somewhat stable arrangement, I wanted more, and I soon realized that the iPhone was not going to give me the flexibility that I desired. So, I turned to Android, and it's been a great experience thus far. I leave you with a few reasons if you're still on the fence.

Why you might Jailbreak:
  • you've got an older iPhone (non-iOS4) and are itching for some customization abilities
  • you want to tether without paying extra for it
  • you want access to more apps, you know, the ones that Steve doesn't want you to have
Why you might think twice about Jailbreaking:
  • you've got a shiny new iPhone 4 - it's fast - keep it that way
  • you don't have the time or patience to deal with the tweaking that you'll certainly need to do after jailbreaking
  • you want your phone to retain its stability and remain under warranty
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