Jailbreaking iPod
December 19, 2011 9:20 AM   Subscribe

Mrs. Mitheral is getting a new iPod Touch for Xmas and I've got some questions re jailbreaking and app suggestions.

In regards to jail breaking is the only reason for doing this to an iTouch to install third party and pirated apps? is there any down side to jailbreaking an iPod Touch? Is there a goto reference for jailbreaking?

Are their any "everyone needs these" apps? I know we'll be installing angry birds and an Electrical reference app for me but is there anything else that the vast majority of people end up installing?
posted by Mitheral to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
One nice thing about jailbreaking is the ability to do ad blocking.

The new device will probably arrive with iOS 5 which seems to only have a tethered jailbreak available at the moment. The big downside with that is if it ever runs completely out of power, or has a real bad crash, or is fully turned off, it won't start again without hooking it up to a computer. I don't think you'll be able to downgrade the brand new device to an older iOS.

The Dev-Team Blog is a pretty good source for jailbreaking news.
posted by exogenous at 9:54 AM on December 19, 2011

I use the Kindle app all the time on mine; I also use Wunderlist constantly to make to-do lists, errand lists, grocery lists, etc., etc. Yelp and Urbanspoon are helpful when we travel and need a place to eat. All these are popular apps that lots of people use.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 10:52 AM on December 19, 2011

I love Zite, a "personalized magazine" app.
posted by emkelley at 10:55 AM on December 19, 2011

[I work for Cydia.] The reason to jailbreak an iPod touch is that it lets you install themes and extra features of all kinds, fun for customizing it and enabling more capabilities. The downside of jailbreaking is that having full control over your device means that you can get yourself into the land of weird errors and tediously googling around for solutions, so it does tend to go better for people who have a bit of patience and confidence with technical stuff (or are willing to spend time learning). Good places to browse for interesting jailbreak-only software include Cydia's featured list (optimized for viewing inside Cydia so a lot of pages will look funky and incomplete in a normal browser, but it'll give you a feel for the types of packages available) and iDownloadBlog's tweak reviews with videos. I also help run JailbreakQA, a question-and-answer site that includes up-to-date documentation on jailbreaking tools etc.

For App Store apps: Instagram, Instapaper, and Yelp are incredibly popular. I also like one called Instant Heart Rate that measures your pulse using the device camera, and I find Wikihood and Trover fun for learning about nearby interesting places. These Reddit threads have more recommendations: favorite apps, "killer" apps.
posted by dreamyshade at 11:12 AM on December 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Jailbreaking allows you to install apps that allow you more control over the operating system than is typically allowed by Apple. For example you can install a free app called SBSettings, which I find invaluable - swiping my finger across the top of the screen pops up a dashboard from anywhere which allows me to control the system brightness, activate or deactivate airplane mode/wifi/bluetooth/more, all without needing to exit the current app and go into the Settings app. The combination of Cydia apps Bigify and (shareware) Iconoclasm allow you to have more than 4x4 apps on your springboard (and resize or skew the icons if you wish). Lockinfo gives you things like a calendar, events, notifications etc on your lockscreen if you're using iOS <5.x. Far as I'm concerned, an Apple device that is NOT jailbroken is a dealbreaker to ever using it. Sure, assholes regularly bypass copy protection to install pirated stuff but there's enough free stuff (permanently, or that periodically roll around in things like FreeAppADay) for the average person to remain perfectly happy and legit while living in jailbreak land. The problem is that it's a constant chess match between Apple and the hackers. I was thoroughly pleased when the 4.3.3 jailbreak came out (after MONTHS!) for iPad2. My wife then got one with 4.3.5. It can't be jailbroken. There is no (untethered) JB available for 5.0.1 as well. The minute that hackers find an open window into the guts of the OS, Apple seals the leak tighter than a dolphin's asterisk. Bottom line, it's not necessary for the average joe or joette, but any tech with any self-respect should do it. Unfortunately, if you're purchasing a newer device - like my wife did - chances are that you won't be able to jailbreak it. Yet. Absolutely no downside to jailbreaking - you can still install things from the App Store, and the newer JBs are quite stable and don't cause weird things to happen from time to time like they used to. To answer your last question: IMO everyone needs SBSettings, Activator, Backgrounder and Winterboard. The rest is all cake. The apps I listed are JB only; there's a crapload of websites out there that can give you a heads up on "normal" apps.
posted by tra at 3:18 PM on December 19, 2011

There's a new untethered jailbreak out for iOS 5.01 for non-A5 devices.
posted by exogenous at 10:31 AM on December 30, 2011

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