Jacob Siegel of BGR, among others, is heralding what may be the beginning of the end of Jailbreaking. Two of the three main repositories that Cydia depends on, ModMi and ZodTTD, have both announced that they are shutting down. With many of the early reasons to Jailbreak worn away by the passage of time and ten years of updates to iOS, it certainly feels like this is the home stretch for something once thought to be essential to the power user experience on Apple’s mobile platforms.
Jailbreaking didn’t abruptly end this weekend, and it will certainly keep hanging on in some form of fashion for a while longer. However, the downturn in interest is impossible to deny. Even my oldest son, who knew every in and out of every jailbreak for every device he could lay his hands on for four or five years, has given up and moved on. At least on his main iPhone. He may still be kicking around on an old iPod, but the fact remains, if HE is losing interest in Jailbreaking, then the downturn feels pretty real to me.
What I am more interested in right now, however, is taking a look back. Who among you used to Jailbreak their iPhones or iPads and why? As for myself, my reasons varied with the device. In the early days of iOS, I enjoyed the tweaks for the iPhone, to some degree. However, I had kind of gotten over most of that loading custom ROMs and fooling around with the internals by the end of my Windows Mobile days.
My true interest in Jailbreaking on my early iPhones was in the added practical features. I needed tethering for work and I loved the enhanced Notification Center-like tweaks that came via Jailbreaking before they finally showed up in iOS 5. However, once they were available in the stock OS, that was the end of the road for me on my iPhone.
The iPad was a different story. If you recall the early days of the iPad, it didn’t match up with the version of iOS on the iPhone and Jailbreaking did help with that. But that wasn’t the reason I went to the trouble. The real reason I was into hacking my original iPad and iPad 2 was more for fun. I was really into gaming emulators, and loved being able to connect up a WiiMote over Bluetooth and play just about any classic console or arcade game known to man. I even had a PS1 Emulator running on my iPad 2 at one point, albeit very slowly.
As I began to use my iPad more and more for productivity, my gaming use waned and I eventually gave up on Jailbreaking and went to the stock OS full time. I had a Nexus 7, and moved my emulation activities over to it, and that was that. It wasn’t the same , though. It was a LOT of fun playing all those classic titles with a real controller on what felt at the time like a massive screen that you could take with you. Even though the future of gaming has gone in other directions since, at the time it felt like a potential version of it. Still, even though the screen is smaller, I get a little bit of a flashback to the “old days” when I play my Nintendo Switch now. It is doing a pretty solid job of fulfilling the promise of an area that Apple was really never interested in pursing.
So that’s my Jailbreak story. What’s yours? Why did you use it? What did you do with it? How were you first introduced to it? When did you stop? Or are there a few of you still hanging on out there? I would love to hear from you in the Comments section below, on Flipboard, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog.