Since I became an iPhone owner a couple years ago, I’ve always found that jailbreaking has opened the ubiquitous device up to some really cool features not otherwise available in Apple’s walled garden. But as of late, with iOS updates flying fast and new features cropping up, I have found reason after reason to return my phone to its vanilla glory. With the release of the most recent version of iOS (5.0.1), I decided to give an un-jailbroken iPhone a try.

Here’s a quick list of some of the reasons why jailbreaking might be a thing of the past for me.

  • Personal Hotspot – prior to the wireless carriers agreeing to free their data connections from the bounds of mobile devices and allow them to be tethered to laptops, desktops and anything else that will accept a bluetooth/wifi/USB internet connection, the only way to share my iPhone’s 3G connectivity was to jailbreak and run the fantastic MyWi application. But now with Personal Hotspot, there’s just no need to jailbreak in order to share a data connection. The only limitation to this is that on my 3GS, sharing over wifi isn’t supported with Personal Hotspot, but that’s only really a concern when I’m sharing a connection with my iPad, which so far has been a rare occurrence.
  • iBooks – it just straight up doesn’t work on a jailbroken iOS 5 device. There are fixes/workarounds, but I’d rather not have to spend a bunch of time messing around in Terminal / iFile to make a 1st-party app work. Boourns to that.
  • App Updates – this is a touchy subject, because one of the things you can do with a jailbroken iPhone/iPad is use cracked applications. Sites like apptrackr state that they are “for application trials, and nothing else”, but in the same breath they admit that the majority of their users come to the site to pirate. Full disclosure, I’ve done my fair share of “application trials”, but after a while of using the app, I either lost interest and deleted it, or found it useful enough to warrant the average $0.99 – $2.99 price tag. The main thing that pushed me toward legitimate app purchases – it simplified the updating process – with cracked apps, there are no update notifications, and the latest versions of apps might take weeks to show up in a cracked format. When I moved to iOS5, this became a major headache. Legitimately purchased apps are the way to go, hands down. I believe Apple’s system of selling Apps through the App Store defeats piracy the same way iTunes has done a lot to combat music piracy – something Steve Jobs mentioned when the iTunes store first launched.
  • Performance – while jailbreaking your device doesn’t necessarily slow it down, as soon as you install any application that requires Mobile Substrate, (like my favourite jailbreak app, BiteSMS) you can be certain of a drop in performance, especially when it comes to opening or switching applications. This is especially noticeable on my aging iPhone 3GS. I’ve seen a marked speed improvement this week since upgrading to iOS 5.0.1 and staying away from jailbreaking.
  • OTA Software Updates – I don’t know if this is a byproduct of jailbreaking or not, but the OTA update for 5.0.1 failed on my iPhone and iPad, both of which were jailbroken at the time. I’m hoping the next round of updates go smoothly on my vanilla iOS devices.
So there you have it, five solid reasons why for now, my iPhone is going to stay safely in its walled garden. What are your reasons for jailbreaking? Have you considered going back to a vanilla device? Leave me a comment.