Jailbreaking an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch used to be a somewhat complicated process, but now it couldn't be easier: Simply go to the website jailbreakme.com, and you're done. As a bonus, jailbreakme.com gives you access to the Cydia store of apps for your newly jailbroken device.
As a warning, jailbroken apps aren't like standard software you buy from Apple's App Store. For one thing, they don't place a little icon on your home screen that you simply tap to launch the app. In fact, these apps have little to no visible presence at all. Although some require you to download and install the MobileTerminal app, which gives you a command-line interface, most apps merely add background functionality to your device -- no launching necessary.
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That said, here are some of our favorite jailbroken apps.
Developer: Greg Hughes
We talk about iPhones and such being wireless devices, but they aren't truly wireless: You need a cable to sync it with a desktop or laptop PC. Then you need to actually sit down with your device, your computer, and that cable (if you can remember where you put it) before you sync your handheld.
Wi-Fi Sync lets you forget about that whole process by doing exactly what its name implies: syncing devices over Wi-Fi. It's a handy app that offers functionality Apple probably should have included in the first place. Get it from the Cydia Store.
Developer: Jonathan Zdziarski
Video game systems have grown more sophisticated over the years, but are they really more fun than the original Nintendo Entertainment System? It's not just nostalgia that makes the NES seem so good -- it also boasts classic games like the Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Brothers 1-3, and the Mega Man series. With this handy app, you can carry all those terrific games around with you all the time.
To be clear, though, just as you had to buy a console to play the games, this app provides the emulated console but not any actual games. However, a Google search can help you track down the ROMs you want. Get it from the Cydia Store.
QuickReply for SMS
Developer: Gaurav Khanna
QuickReply offers a simple solution to a minor annoyance: having to switch over to your SMS app in order to respond to a message. With QuickReply, all you have to do is double-tap on the message, and you can start typing your response, no matter what screen you're on when the SMS is first received. According to the developer, QuickReply will soon come free. No timeline is given, but if you hold out, you can save three bucks. Get it from the Cydia Store.
Price: 99 cents
Developer: Pragmatix Consulting
Perhaps you, like many iOS device owners, went a little app crazy when you first got your new handheld, adding apps left and right. No problem there, but it raises the issue of how to organize all those app icons on your home screen. Traditionally, you'd have to plug your device into your PC and reorganize the home screens via iTunes, or you could move each app icon manually on the device in an extremely painstaking process. SBOrganizer offers an easier way: reorganizing the home screens right on your device.
SBOrganizer makes home screen organization a three-step process: Click the Reorder button, reorder the home screens however you want, and click Done. That's it. You can do it anywhere, anytime, and you can even create and merge unlimited amounts of home screen pages. Get it from the Cydia Store.
One big downside of Apple's control-freak nature is that it leaves users beholden to Steve Jobs and company for simple items. Take iPhone video playback, for example. You can run video out of your iPhone and into your TV, but Apple will charge you a whopping $50 for the component AV cable to do so.
Resupported lets you dodge the "unsupported accessory" error message and use whatever cable you like -- as long as it has the necessary adapters to plug into your device and your TV, you should be good to go. The latest version also includes support for third-party video apps like YouTube. Get it from the Cydia Store.