To Jailbreak or not to Jailbreak, that may be a question you are pondering. Or even more of you may be wondering just what the heck is a Jailbreak of the iPad? Wikipedia explains it simply as "a technique for overriding the iPhone OS software lock-down on the iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad in order to install applications that Apple has not approved."
So by that definition of jailbreak it is clear that there are obviously applications that are available for your iPad that are not approved by Apple. There are applications that people obviously want to use that are not available through Apple's app store. These apps are available only after the device has been Jailbroken.
Now I must give you this disclaimer, Jail-breaking your iPad would void your warranty if you take it to an Apple store in a jail broken state. I will say this another way, your warranty will not be void if you return your iPad to its original state by restoring it on the computer in iTunes prior to seeking any warranty work from Apple. If you have to read both statements again, please do so before proceeding.
You may have yet another question you would like to have answered before you proceed, "Is it illegal to jailbreak your device?"
Well technically, no. But in Apple's end user agreement, they do state:
"Apple strongly cautions against installing any software that hacks the iPhone OS. It is also important to note that unauthorized modification of the iPhone OS is a violation of the iPhone end-user license agreement and because of this, Apple may deny service for an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch that has installed any unauthorized software."
Apple has a support article talking about modifying your iPhone, it can be found here
So why would you want to Jailbreak? I will explain how it benefits me and you can make a determination for yourself once armed with this information.
Jailbreaking was around much longer for the iPhone, so most apps work well with the iPhone. The iPad is just a few months old, so many of the Jailbroken apps have not been modified to work properly on the iPad yet. Even so, there are enough available apps to warrant jail breaking the iPad. Once you Jailbreak the iPad, you will find a new app icon available amongst your apps, called Cydia. Think of this as your "Jailbroken App Store". You can find, download, install and remove the below apps onto your iPad via the Cydia App Store.
Here are my recommended Jailbroken apps and my reasoning for using each.
Backgrounder is an awesome app that lets you puts apps in the background. It gives you the multitasking ability that should be included automatically from Apple, but isn't until iOS 4 Is made available for the iPad in the fall of 2010. Want to listen to Pandora or Stitcher Radio while you type out an email or surf the web? You can thanks to Backgrounder. There is an icon for this, but you can use the Settings app to configure. Free.
This is great for the obvious uses like listening to audio outside of the app that you would otherwise be trapped inside of without Backgrounder, but it is useful for those apps that don't save your place when you exit them.
Circuitous is a cool app switcher that lets you jump between apps in a blink. The app lets you jump between the native apps that are open like Safari or Mail or even go back to the last closed app via something called Cycler. So just perform a predefined gesture using the volume keys, shake device / gestures, status bar gestures or home / sleep button and move to the next or previous app on the Cycler. You can see the right sidebar on the image below that shows you the apps accessed in a particular sequence and you can switch between them. There is an icon for this, but you can use the Settings app to configure. Free.
While Backgrounder is great for putting those apps in the background, Circuitous brings them to the foreground on your command.
CyDelete allows you to use the already familiar process of tapping and holding your finger on an icon until it begins to shake. Once it is shaking you will see the "X" in the upper left corner, then just tap and delete. Without this you would have to return to Cydia every time and find the Cydia app in the Packages section under the Manage area. CyDelete can be found in Cydia and is available for free. There is an icon for this, but you can use the Settings app to configure.
Without this app, you would not be able to delete the Cydia apps that have an icon, from the app launcher screens.
SBSettings is a helpful "app" that lets you easily change settings. SBSettings can be accesed from almost anywhere on the iPhone/iPod by sliding a finger across the top. SBSettings has everything from changing brightness to telling you the percentage of remaining battery life. You can also free up memory space and hide icons. There is no icon for this, use the Settings app to configure. Free.
If you are like me, you will use this the most of any of these apps listed. I use this app the most to change the brightness without leaving the app that I am currently in. I also use it to toggle the Bluetooth on and off. I never turn the wifi off because I have the Mifi device from Sprint, but if I only used wifi at home, I would use it to toggle Wifi on and off via SBSettings as well. I also use it to kill apps placed in the background with Backgrounder.
Poof is a simple App available through Cydia which allows you to hide and unhide your applications. It allows you to hide all AppStore, Cydia as well as system integrated apps on the iPad.
To hide the app simply log on to the app and click no on the app you want to hide. It is also available on iPhone version 1.x through Installer. Once you are done close the application. The application will respring for few seconds and then come up to the normal springboard with the unhidden apps. Free.
I used this app to hide apps that I don't use often like MakeitMine and the other apps above that have icons. I also use it to hide those apps that I don't want the kids to see when they use my iPad.
MakeITmine lets you replace the word "iPad" in the upper left corner with whatever you like or put your name there. The app also lets you customize the banner i.e. put a custom name instead of the clock that appears by default. All you have to do is enter some text in the white box and press either Carrier or Banner on the top to replace either! Most people prefer to keep the clock in the middle, so most would ignore the banner option. On the ipad, the area defined in the upper left corner is only 7 characters long. If your text is 8 characters or longer, your text will scroll in the defined space. Free.
This app is needed only once. Add it, change your name and remove it. There are reports that this app, when loaded, interferes with the location features of the iPad. So the movies, weather and other location based apps will not automatically know where you are when this app is still on the iPad. To apps get this app to work, you would need to type your zip code into the app. Once you delete MakeitMine, the location apps will know where you are again. If you want to change your name, simply add the app again and then delete it again once the name has been changed.
MxTube is an app that allows you to download Youtube videos to be played anytime on your iPad even when you don't have Internet (wifi). It is a separate app from the stock Youtube app and you have to view the videos from MxTube. Free.
There are videos that will want to download so that you can view them without being linked to the Internet. I download training videos that I can view offline. Sometimes I don't want to deal with the buffeting issues, so I download them and then view them later buffer free.
ProTapper recreates a native function of the Palm Pre. Its purpose it is to add a white dot on the screen which correspondes to the finger tap area. The consumption of RAM is minimal, since the operation is extremely simple and does not support multitouch. You can find ProTapper in Cydia for free. There is no icon for this, nor is there an area for it in the Settings app. The only way to remove this is to uninstall it in Cydia.
I have a Palm Pre and like having the effect, so I thought other users might find it useful as well.
MultiIconMover allows you to move more than one icon at a time (without using a computer).
Once installed, you can to go into the normal “wiggle” move mode. Once in wiggle mode, just tap on the icons you would like to move. When you tap on an icon a check mark will appear on it (you can tap the icon again to remove the check mark). You can then scroll to the page on your SpringBoard in which you would like to move the icons and tap the Home Button. This will move the selected icons to that page on your SpringBoard. Just tap the Home Button again to stop wiggle mode. There is not an icon for this app, nor do you have to configure anything. Free.
If you ever want to organize your app icons on the iPad, then you will make your life so much easier with this app.
Veency allows iPad users to remotely control their iPad from a PC or Mac via a VNC client. Once you are connected to your iPad from your PC or Mac using the VNC client, you can do just about anything on the iPhone remotely which you can do when you have it in your hands except multitouch. The screen quality is degraded but functional. There is no icon for this, use the Settings app to configure. Free.
I have not used this much, but it is best to have it and not need it then to need it and no have it.
So aside from the location services issue (which was resolved after removing MakeitMine), I have not had any issues with my Jailbroken iPad. Most of the apps I use from Cydia, I believe that Apple should make these standard features for all iOS devices. I highly recommend Jailbreaking the Apple iPad.
I used the http://www.spiritjb.com app which only took a minute or so to do so and can be done with a Windows PC, Apple Mac and Linux desktop.
I have a Facebook video showing the jailbreak (I will have to load it to YouTube)
Not all app Cydia apps are compatible with the iPad. It you try apps that are not on my list, please check with the official iPad Compatible Cydia app list here and look for apps that are rated with the green color.
What are your favorite apps for your Jailbroken iPad? If you decide to Jailbreak, let me know what your favor apps are.
Carl W. Brooks
The Tech Guy
Sent and typed exclusively (with the virtual keyboard) from my Magical and Revolutionary iPad