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!

  • Curi0sityC0w

    Apple is trying hard to keep up with the demand. +rep Apple.

    • Anthony Bouchard

      I definitely see them working to implement a lot of things people have wanted for a long time.

  • Mike Colacone Saal

    I already have f.lux on my device jailbroken and i get many benefits still not offered, like customizing my status bar and hiding apps with springtomize and my swipe to reveal apps that apex offers me; i hate folders.

    • Anthony Bouchard

      Great tweak choices, these are definitely features that Apple hasn’t been implementing in any updates.

    • Iliyan

      I can’t live without OpenNotifier. iOS’s notification center is next to useless as it doesn’t give me any hint what notifications are waiting for me there. Why can’t Apple just copy the status bar notification icons from Android?

      • Ángel Javier Esquivel

        Are you running OpenNotifier on iOS 9?

      • pnh

        I think he’s running it on his iPhone 4.

      • Iliyan

        Yes, I’m running it on a jailbroken iOS 9.0.2. Got it from tateu’s repo, the tweak name is OpenNotifier9.

      • Ángel Javier Esquivel

        Can you link me to tateu’s repo?

    • eigenlaut

      yeah, i don’t want to live without apex

      • Mike Colacone Saal

        Apex is really under appreciated I think.

  • swhitlow

    I am not in to customization (i.e. don’t really care about icons on status bar, etc). I am more into functionality. I am not sure jailbreaking apps have had that “big” release since the days of BiteSMS, etc. to push me to stay on 9.2. I hate that because I loved it back in the day. But, it seems to have lost momentum once a lot of the developers stopped developing for the jailbroken phone. I would love to be wrong. Reply to this comment and let me know why I should jailbreak again. 😉

    • T. Allen

      I am in agreement with you, as functionality is what I am really into as well (DAYUM do I miss BiteSMS!!). I like having the freedom to give my phone the functionality I need for it. I do full well understand the ongoing game of cat & mouse and will continue to jailbreak. But like you, I would love to see what I used to back in the day.

    • Mukund Bhatla

      Cause YOLO

    • f96lrs


    • Valinor

      Thats why i’m still on ios 8.4 with jailbreak. I’m also not into customization and have alot of functionality tweaks installed.(around 35 tweaks) Didn’t want to lose alot of tweaks because developers stopped developing. And I’m glad I stayed on ios 8.4 because many of my favorite tweaks didnt get updated for ios 9.

      Learned my lesson the hard way when I went from ios 7 to ios 8 and lost a few favorite tweaks. Luckily almost all developers eventually updated their tweaks to ios 8, but it doesnt seem like its happening on ios 9

    • therealist

      Pickpocket, dateinstatusbar, ccsettings,

    • Safari downloader, video pane, activator, swipeselection.

  • Jimmy Ekman

    I am already on the beta. I’m a sucker for new features. When i do jailbreak a device, i often just play around with tweaks for an extended time then i return to the more stock look and feel and keep tweaks like virtualhome, priorityhub, f.lux etz so there is no loss for me really…except for the tear on the homebutton…>.<

    • Anonymous

      go to settings>general >accessibility >assitive touch. Now you wont need virtual home. Just set the settings for only the home button.

      • andiebrust

        Tried it under 9 unjailbroken. Wasn´t the same as it always gets into ways where I don´t need/want it. Virtual home alone is a reason for staying jailbroken. At least for me. And Lylac, Blurry Badges, Priority Hub, Activator, NoSlowAnimations, NoPercentSign and many more 🙂

      • h4nd0fg0d

        No need for Virtusl Home, Activator setting accomplishes exact same function and is faster.

      • andiebrust

        Good point. So it recognizes only a double touch (not actual pressing) also?

  • Kay-D

    Staying on 8.4 iPhone 6 Plus until 7 Plus 😉

    • Anthony Bouchard

      Ride it out!

      • Kay-D

        I sure will,
        I just don’t remember how many times Cydia impactor saved my A$$

      • (JailbreakQA) King Shoot

        iOS 8 is the best! And Impactor as well based on what I heard. I can’t use mine because I deleted language packs xD

    • soundmanbrad

      Same here!

  • Digitalfeind

    Let me passcode lock my apps, download any size file from iTunes and the AppStore, incorporate something like iCaughtU Pro, and I might ditch my jailbreak. Apple still has a long way to go.

  • iPhoneWINS

    iPhone sucks with ought jailbreak so I’m keeping it

  • therealjjohnson

    Keep Jailbreak.

  • (JailbreakQA) King Shoot

    Apple is getting close, but it’s still not there. There are still tons of things a jailbreak can do and stock iOS can’t.

    As for me, I’m keeping my jailbreak because of: Display Recorder, FlipControlCenter, 3G Unrestrictor, Safari Downloader +, HUDTransparent8. And if I ever update to iOS 9, I’ll keep it to: Revert to iOS 8 switcher and to add back useful tabs in the Music app, like Albums/ Artists etc.

  • Rondog

    What we really need is a jailbreak for 9.2, the heck with everything else

  • Blip dude

    That depends. If there is a 9.2 Jailbreak before the release of 9.3 then no because if the obvious reasons. If there still isn’t a Jailbreak, then I’ll update to 9.3 and continue to wait on that firmware.

  • Dj Stef

    I think Apple will try to implement more and more nifty features based on tweaks found on Cydia so to lure us away from jailbreaking. they want to destroy jailbreaking in the future and slowly they are attempting that but there will ALWAYS be a reason to jailbreak since they will NEVER (obviously) give us root access which is needed for many things (ie. iFile, etc)

    • Anthony Bouchard

      Yeah it definitely seems they’re trying to prove a point and give users the features they want without actually giving them the access they want.

  • Tim

    I will update to iOS 9.3 because I’m on 9.2 sooooo. couldn’t even jailbreak if I wanted to.

  • Acid wh0Le

    Virtual Home!!!

    • h4nd0fg0d

      Absolutely no need for Virtual Home. Activator setting accomplishes the exact thing and works faster.

      • Acid wh0Le

        Could you please walk me through setting up Activator to do the same thing as virtual home? Thank you!

      • Juan Pineda

        I think virtual Home is better because of the vibration and waking up the lock screen, I use to love activator but I don’t like it when I’m installing new tweaks it tells you that you can’t use it because it’s dangerous and I got tired of that.

  • czbird

    I missed iOS9 signing window, so stuck to 8 not to lose my JB. Kinda PITA…

  • Lucus Bendzsa

    iPad Pro be on 9.3 iPhone 6 will be on 9.0 jailbroken.

  • Mr_Coldharbour

    Activator (for the swipe gesture on status bar to lock device, multitasking gesture is now possible thanks to 3D Touch), FolderCloser (for the life of me, why doesn’t Apple make folders close after they’ve been opened and an app in them was launched?), and CCSettings. Those are indispensable.

  • Been on regular non-jailbroken releases since IOS 9 due to jailbreak stability which is basically none. Most of the tweaks aren’t updated regularly or they just sit and wait for the next break just to cash in. So in the end staying with regular apple releases is just easier for me and my wallet. Only thing I miss is changing the icons and take away the dock background, other then those two things.. jailbreaking just isn’t exciting anymore.

    • Tim

      You really have no idea what you are talking about. That only happens in the first few days of a surprise jailbreak. Now most tweaks are updated jailbreak is as stable as it can be.

      • Actually I do know what I’m talking about. Yes that’s true it happens during surprise breaks but most tweaks are not updated. And no, the last 3 jailbreaks have been completely unstable! Look at your background processes, they are a mess and compatibility issues with a lot of new apps are because of the breaking process itself. Just because it works on one device doesn’t mean all devices are perfect, something that most developers in jailbreak land never check. And with that I leave to another topic, good day.

  • Jayy

    Is that a serious question? If somebody said to me I’ll give you $200 right now if you update you’re phone, I’d decline!

  • Nath_12_22

    keep jailbreak to mute these japan made iphone 6+… i should have bought it somewhere else…

    • Jayy

      Can you elaborate on that? iPhones purchased in Japan make noises?

  • mrjayviper

    if I want to fully customize my device, I’ll do it on my LG G3. My 6s+ stays clean as Apple intended it. Just too many limitations to make it worthwhile. At least on Android, there’s no need to break security just to personlize my device.

  • ink

    Hi everyone,
    Imma an iPhone 5 user (iOS 9.0.2 + Jailbroken)
    Is anybody here an iPhone 5 user? or any suggestion like should I update to iOS 9.3 or not, because feels like a lil bit laggy my iPhone 5 with iOS 9.0.2 🙁

    I should stay in iOS 8.4 + Taig JB, feeling regret after updated to iOS 9.0.2, so laggy in iPhone 5, poor me!

  • ink

    an iOS downgrade tool would be nice.. :))

  • Bob Bobsledge

    It’s a real tough one for me. I’m still on 8.1.2 with my iPhone 6. I get daily crashes and resprings without a culprit. My current CrashReporter has 275 notifications and my battery life could be better.

    But there are just too many things that I know I would miss.

    • tunutsaigon

      Using Cydia Impactor then re-jailbreak! Problems solved…

  • andiebrust

    I stay jailbroken. At least because Apple don´t allow it. Yes, that´s the rebel I am 🙂 And f.lux rulez.

  • Bass Head

    I’m waiting for the 8.2 jailbreak

  • Charles Rijken

    Well, as long as i can’t change de icon layout i will use jailbreak util. It’s a shame that apple uses so much effort in fighting against tjhe jailbreak.

  • Anonymous

    Since ios9

  • h4nd0fg0d

    Rhetorical question, right?

  • kespiritu

    I would personally update, iOS 9.0.2 has the worst memory leaks in iOS history. Can’t stand it.

  • Ángel Javier Esquivel

    I know, but I had limited data xD

  • Timothy Gajka

    I can not live without pandora downloader that is the main tweak I use I could live without the other ones but that one keeps me happy I will stay on iOS 8.4 until they update all there tweaks for iOS 9.3 then I will update and jailbreak nothing worse then a release of a jailbreak when the repos have not updated there stuff it’s kinda useless

  • Valic Muntyan

    hi i have an iphone 6 version 9.0.1 and i have jailbroken with pangu and everything was runing great till i wanted to add a sourse in cydia, it was crashing when i was clicking on source then i unistalled cydia installer and i lost cydya. when i try again to jailbreak with pangu it says its alrady jailbroken. how can i add cydia back? please help and thanks

  • Lucas Rey

    Quite simple for me! NO Jailbreak, NO iPhone!