It’s been a great weekend for the jailbreak community, especially now that two of the most popular jailbreak tools – checkra1n and unc0ver – picked up support for Apple’s latest and greatest iOS/iPadOS 13.5 firmware. But one question we’ve been getting asked often from both new and veteran jailbreakers alike goes something like this: “Why should I jailbreak in 2020?

In all fairness, it’s a valid question. My own mind goes crazy with endless answers because I’ve been at this for so long, but if you’re new to the community or used to jailbreak in the past and went on hiatus after things seemed to go stale a few years back, then I would totally understand why you might be asking this question right now. In this post, I’ll discuss at least 10 reasons why I think jailbreaking is still relevant even in 2020.

The spiel

First and foremost, I’ll address the other side – the one that claims jailbreaking is dead and that it isn’t worth it.

Yes, iOS 13 incorporates a lot of features that make jailbreaking seem like an ancient relic of the past. After all, major novel features like native dark mode and the inclusion of an in-browser download manager and native file browser make for compelling cases. Adding to that, cellular carriers are becoming laxer on their Personal Hotspot data plans, which reduces the demand for tethering tweaks that were once primary driving mechanisms for jailbreaking back in the day.

But that’s not the end all, tell all of the jailbreaking story. There continue to be countless benefits to enjoy from jailbreaking iOS 13. As a humble jailbreak tweak reviewer, I witness several examples every day that get me excited about having a pwned iPhone, and I’ll mention some of those in this piece.

Why to jailbreak in 2020

Despite all the gracious changes Apple provided in the massive iOS 13 update last Fall, there are still a multitude of ways it can be improved, and that’s where jailbreak tweaks come into play. Below, I’ll attempt to address what I think are some of the most significant examples:

Better web browsing

Safari is one of the best web browsers you can use on the iPhone, and even third-party web browsers from the App Store are merely the Safari web browser wrapped in a different skin with additional and perhaps niche features baked in.

One major downside to Safari on the iPhone, however, is that it seems half-baked when compared to Safari on the iPad, and with jailbreak tweaks, you can enable iPad-esque web browsing features on the iPhone, like tabbed browsing, tab bar favicons, and so much more. These creature comforts make the experience so much better.

For more details, see these recently-released tweaks:

Less intrusive phone calls

One thing Apple continues to fail to improve is the iPhone’s incoming call interface, as an incoming call quite literally spams your entire iPhone display with an interface where you either accept or decline the phone call. When you’re in the middle of something and don’t want to be rude, this can come off as seriously intrusive.

After jailbreaking, you can take advantage of add-ons to enjoy banner-style incoming call interfaces. These tweaks will allow you to continue using your phone even when you’re in the middle of receiving a call, and it’s something that I think Apple needs to seriously consider adding to native iOS/iPadOS.

For more details, see these recently-released tweaks:

Mac-inspired Guest Mode

When you want to hand your iPhone off to another to make a phone call or for limited access to apps, you’re essentially giving them carte blanche over your apps and personal privacy. Unlike macOS, iOS/iPadOS doesn’t including a limited Guest Mode environment that can separate your data from another user’s.

Once you pwn your iPhone or iPad, you can use tweaks to have a macOS-inspired Guest Mode, and as you might come to expect, you can configure restrictions to prevent other users from potentially snooping on your personal data while still providing them with the functionality they need.

For more details, see this recently-released tweak:

Improved theft protection

iPhones are essentially easily pocketable paydays, which makes them ideal targets for low-life thieves. Apple’s Activation Lock goes a long way in protecting your device from being erased and reused by a thief, but don’t you ever wish you could actually catch the thief responsible?

With jailbreak tweaks, you can effectively curb iPhone thievery by getting GPS alerts and photographs captured with the handset’s cameras in the midst of being stolen emailed or texted directly to your accounts. This information can be useful when contacting law enforcement for help.

For more details, see these recently-released tweaks:

A proper file browser

Apple’s Files app is great for transferring productivity files between your Mac and iOS/iPadOS devices, or even for storing media in iCloud, but it’s not quite as robust as the file browsers such as Finder or Windows Explorer that you’d expect to use on desktop computers.

Jailbreaking opens the door to your iPhone’s root filesystem, and with the help of true full-blown file browser like Filza, you can view, modify, add, or delete system files of your choosing. This can obviously be dangerous, but if you know what you’re doing, then this opens you up to a whole new world of handset customization.

For more details, see this informative piece:

Location spoofing

Your iPhone comes with an integrated GPS chip that can precisely discern your current location for apps like Maps, Weather, and so forth, but it’s no secret that there can be uses for spoofing your current location, and unfortunately, this isn’t something that Apple lets you do out of the box.

Thankfully, you can use jailbreak tweaks to spoof your location, enabling access to Weather information from different parts of the world and perhaps even benefits for your favorite location-based games (as long as it’s not against the terms of service, of course).

For more details, see these recently-released tweaks:

Porting iPad power features to iPhone

As Apple works harder to make the iPad a more viable ‘laptop replacement’ in certain circumstances, this also means that iPadOS receives unique power features that set it apart from iOS, such as the improved Dock, a better multitasking interface, and picture-in-picture video playback.

The jailbreak community has developed ways of porting these useful power features to the iPhone in recent years, making it possible to enjoy the same features you know and love from your favorite tablet on your favorite smartphone.

For more details, see these recently-released tweaks:

Power features for third-party apps

It’s not just Apple that limits users’ capabilities, sometimes it’s the developers of the third-party apps you use. In many cases, users demand new features in third-party apps and the developers fail to integrate them.

Just this year alone, I’ve witnessed a plethora of jailbreak tweaks that bring high-demand features to third-party apps like Instagram, WhatsApp, YouTube, and others. One of my biggest complaints is that the YouTube app continues to display a white splash screen even when you have dark mode turned on, and there’s a tweak that can fix that.

For more details, see this recently-released tweak:

Intelligent device security

Your iPhone and iPad have been designed to ask for authentication every time you pick it up from sleep, whether that’s via passcode, Face ID, or Touch ID depends greatly on the type of device you’re using. But I think we can all agree that these security features are needed more in some places than others.

One of my favorite jailbreak tweaks intelligently disables authentication when I’m somewhere I trust, such as at home. This lets you use your device with less delay in low risk environments, but re-enables authentication when you leave that safe zone and go somewhere where there are more people around.

For more details, see this recently-released tweak:

Endless interface customization

And perhaps the biggest reason to jailbreak is to enjoy enhanced user interfaces. Most iPhone and iPad users are satisfied with how iOS looks and feels out of the box, but their tune quickly changes when they see those beautiful concepts that eventually make their way into the form of jailbreak tweaks and themes.

A few wonderful examples of custom interface-centric jailbreak tweaks include:

Honorable mention

Something we also wanted to include in this piece that won’t apply to everyone, but instead to those who use certain devices pwned with the bootrom exploit-based checkra1n jailbreak, is that you can actually dual-boot the full-blown Android operating system on your iPhone with the help of Project Sandcastle.

This is limited to the iPhone 7 and/or 7 Plus at the time of this writing, but work continues to expand it to other devices impacted by the checkm8 bootrom exploit. This is quite literally a native installation of Android that utilizes your iPhone’s hardware, and it’s just the coolest thing ever that you can use as a conversation piece to brag to your friends.

Conclusion

Everyone uses their device(s) differently, and while we can’t recommend jailbreaking for everyone, we think that the vast majority of people could potentially benefit from what it brings to the table.

If you’re new to jailbreaking and have considered moving forward, don’t forget to read our piece about how the checkra1n and unc0ver jailbreak tools compare and contrast before choosing which tool you’ll use. If you’re ready to jump in, follow one of these tutorials to get started:

What are your thoughts on jailbreaking in 2020? Do you jailbreak for any reason that we didn’t mention in this post? Discuss in the comments section below.