Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Now available: website to ‘jailbreak’ iPhone

The new Apple iPhone 4 displayed at an Apple store in Los Angeles.

Less than a week after the U.S. government said it was no longer illegal to hack your own phone, a new website launched on Monday that allows iPhone owners to “jailbreak” their smartphones online to circumvent restrictions put on the devices by Apple.

Prior to the launch of the website jailbreakme.com users had to download software to their computers and then connect their phones up in a complicated and time-consuming process. However, many iPhone users went through to this trouble to circumvent the tight restrictions on what software can be used on the popular devices.

Jailbroken phones can download any software they want, not just Apps pre-approved by Apple. Some of the most popular applications include MyWi, which turns phones into mobile Wi-Fi hotspots, and IntelliScreen, which lets users put e-mail and calendars on their home screens.

The U.S. government updated its regulations last week to legalise “jailbreaking,” though the activity still violates Apples software license and voids the company’s warranty on the phone.

Early reports said that some users of the site were experiencing difficulties using the videoconferencing feature called Facetime on their hacked phones. The new website does allow users to uninstall the software by using the restore feature available over iTunes, and this seems to fix the problem, according to online reports.

There was no initial reaction from Apple to the new software. But after the government changed the jailbreaking rules last week, the company justified its tight control over the phone’s software.

“Apple’s goal has always been to ensure that our customers have a great experience with their iPhone and we know that jailbreaking can severely degrade the experience,” Apple wrote.


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