iOS 9.3 logo full size

Just this week, Apple surprised us all with a major revision to iOS going into its first beta: iOS 9.3. The reason for the surprise? Apple also has a beta period running for iOS 9.2.1, which still hasn’t been released to the public just yet. The new iOS beta was also followed by watchOS 2.2, tvOS 9.2, and OS X 10.11.4.

Like previously noted, this is no minor update, but a major revision to iOS. It comes with a variety of major new features, including the flagship feature Night Shift, which is a lot like the popular f.lux extension that changes the color temperature of your display after certain hours to work with your circadian rhythm to help you sleep better, the ability to pair multiple Apple Watches, new ways for developers to update to new betas, app improvements, and more.

But for those loyal to jailbreaking, is iOS 9.3 enough to lure you away from the freedom to do whatever you want with your iOS device?

The pull to the light

Every time Apple launches a major new iOS release, our heads go wild with why we should choose between upgrading and keeping our jailbreaks.

iOS 9.3 sounds so good – a fresh install of the latest iOS firmware with the latest bug fixes and performance improvements that seemingly can do more of the things we’d need a jailbreak to accomplish. And f.lux is definitely one of those things at the top of people’s want lists.

But is it worth it? Having no control over certain aspects of your device just because of a silly Night Shift feature that you can have with a jailbreak on an earlier iOS installation?

Let’s also think carefully about those additional 3D Touch Quick Actions that Apple baked into iOS 9.3; if you’re jailbroken, then there are already tweaks that you can install to add more Quick Actions to your favorite applications, including those that haven’t yet been updated by third-party developers.

You may not have been able to pair multiple Apple Watches to your iPhone before, but unless you are some kind of time-keeping magician, I don’t think you’ll be wearing two Apple Watches on your wrist each day, and it seems far-fetched that you would have two different styles depending on how you feel each day – this feature is definitely more classroom-oriented and you can probably take it or leave it.

Choosing between a jailbreak and iOS 9.3

There are some things you can have with a jailbreak that are hard to live without. Such things include Activator, a timeless jailbreak extension that allows you to do just about anything in any way that you want to, and iFile or OpenSSH, which allow you to view and edit your filesystem and change contents of files to your liking so your device looks or behaves the way you want it to. Although there are also many others, opinions will vary from person to person on what can actually be lived without.

You’ll still find yourself stuck in Apple’s walled garden, despite the company’s latest attempts to open the operating system a little bit more with third-party extensions such as keyboards, Notification Center widgets, content blockers, and share extensions. In this department, the jailbreak still rules with more extensions than Apple would ever think about allowing in the App Store because Apple puts hefty rules on what’s allowed and what isn’t, whereas Cydia is much more lax.

iOS 9.3 might bring some fancy new features that we’ve long had to jailbreak to have, but without the ability to actually delve into your filesystem and modify certain aspects of your device, iOS 9.3 will feel nothing like a jailbroken device.

Some day, perhaps you won’t even have to choose, as a developer has indeed shown that iOS 9.3 beta 1 can be jailbroken despite the fact that he probably has no intentions of releasing his jailbreak to the public. But perhaps one of the more regarded jailbreak teams will successfully release one? Only time will tell.

Where do you stand?

iOS 9.3 isn’t even out to the public yet, so there’s still a long time to decide what’s right for you, but if your mind is made up already, place a vote in our poll below:

For me, since I have multiple devices, it’s easy to say that I’ll have both a device jailbroken on iOS 9.0.2 and a device running iOS 9.3 when it’s finally released to the public. I typically stay away from installing betas on my daily driver because when I need reliability, betas can be anything but.

Share your thoughts in the comments below!