Jailbreaking an Ipad - worth it?

So, much as I’ve made it a hobby to belittle Mac fanboys on a near daily basis, today I went to buy more gym shorts at the Old Navy, and walked past the Apple Store in the mall. I went in and tried out the Ipad 2. I’ve never played with an Ipad before, but I gotta say…it’s a sexy machine.

Thanks to my google-fu, I now have a banner ad that follows me everywhere I go on this website. It means I can pretty much type to my heart’s content on this slick little machine. My only concern NOW is the “walled garden” OS, and being able to do all the piddly things I really want to do, like file managing, multi-tasking, NES emulator, etc. etc. At the price these things run for, I expect it to be my netbook’s replacement, so it needs to act like a fully functional laptop.

Well, it seems like I can accomplish just about all of this by “jailbreaking” the Ipad, something I’ve never done, since the only Mac products I’ve bought to date are a mini from 2004 and a 2nd Gen Ipod. It seems to make eminent sense from where I’m sitting to do so, and yet Apple says it voids your warranty, and it may make your Ipad unstable and screw up your system.

Can anyone attest to their experience jailbreaking an Ipad? Worth it? Regrets? Can it replace a low end netbook in that fashion?

I know that there’s already been a few Ipad threads, but I don’t think I saw a jailbreaking thread. Thanks in advance for any advice on this!

Can you explain in layman details what jailbreaking is?

I have an iPad, and I’ve read a few things on it, but I’m not exactly sure what it will do or not do for me. As for voiding the warranty, I’m sure that makes sense from apples pov (mess with the system, you are on your own), but I doubt you are in any more danger than you might be turning your cell phone on in the middle of a flight to call home.

What DOESN’T the iPad do that you would need it to do?


Installing third party software, that in effect lets you alter the software in ways that do things like run background software, change themes, and download 3rd party software that didn’t make it to the Apple Apps store for whatever reason. They’re really stringent with Digital Rights Management and controlling what software you can and can’t use on your machine, in way that no one (well, I at any rate), would never tolerate from my laptop. And if it’s going to cost me seven or eight hundred dollars, this thing’s replacing my laptop.

Thank you. I’ve never had a reason to do it, but I can see how someone could have the need, especially if it were to replace a laptop.

Have you researched other pads? I got mine as a gift, so I didn’t look at HP, or anyone elses product. Perhaps another vendor’s product would provide you the functionality you need without having to jailbreak.

Yes - I’ve looked at the HP touchpad and the Fujitsu Q550, and I saw Acer’s tablet. Also, I’m looking forward to seeing the RIM Playbook in stores this week. The problem is, from what I’ve seen so far, all of the machines in this new sub-genre fall into one of two categories:

  1. Ordinary touch screen PCs that don’t have the same slickness or hand features that an Ipad and its ilk do, or

  2. Really innovative machines with new Operating Systems that stick you with proprietary software and

I really don’t know any way to get around both of those in one tablet, so right now, the Ipad or the Q550 are the frontrunners, although they both do very different things.

The iPad 2 is not currently able to be jailbroken. But once it is, the jailbreak will invariably install Cydia, where you can find all sorts of goodies that aren’t allowed in the App Store. Jailbreak benefits include:

[li]Allow you to install unsigned code. This means that with Xcode you can very simply write and install your own software. Well, “simply” if you already know anything about programming. Cocoa’s learning curve isn’t too difficult.[/li][li]As mentioned, use Cydia, which is just a repository and front end for normal *nix package managers. Cydia installs unsigned code for you.[/li][li]ssh into your iPad with full access to the filesystem.[/li][li]That’s pretty much it. Once you can run unsigned code and have access to the file system, you have a fully-functional computer.[/li][/ul]

If you have a 3G model, once the jailbreak is released don’t worry about trying to unlock any basebands. All 3G models are carrier-unlocked. You can still any company’s/country’s micro SIM card into it and it will work.

Jailbreaking also allows you to get most apps for free. That’s why most people do it. I jailbroke my 1st gen Ipad for the above reasons, and to test out apps. If done correctly, it is not illegal, nor will it void your warranty (so long as you do a full restore prior to getting it serviced). The problem with jailbreaking is that apps will not automatically update, the apps are sometimes unstable, and you can’t upgrade the firmware via normal means.

Either way, a jailbroken Ipad is not a laptop replacement. Typing anything longer than an email is pretty tedious, and it doesn’t do many things you would want out of a computer. It’s primarily a consumption device; viewing it as anything more will probably leave you disappointed.

Well, getting “most apps for free” is illegal. I would also dispute “That’s why most people do it,” although my different social circle probably makes me just as capable of comfirmation bias as your social circle does. What I mean is, in my experience, the majority of people that I know jailbreak in order to install a carrier unlock, use themes, SBSettings, WIFI syncing, tethering where plans allow it, and other non-pirate activities. That’s not to say that I’ve not played with Installous myself, but everything I have is 100% bought and paid-for.

Bluetooth keyboard FTW.

Alternatively, see the case/keyboard combo link in my OP. :slight_smile:

I was at Future Shop today, and was advised by the salesperson that if I was on the fence re: Ipad 2, I should consider looking at the Motorolla Xoom, which has (or will eventually have?) Flash support, and a more rigorous OS in Android. No reason I can’t put a keyboard on that!

The only reason I wanted to jailbreak was to enable mirroring of the screen, for training purposes. The iPad 2 supports mirroring, so I no longer need to do it. WTF were they thinking to leave that out of the original iPad?

What do you mean by mirroring?

According to google, that means using the HDMI output cable to see on the TV what you see on your Ipad.

So here’s the thing I can’t get an answer for.

I have a load of videos, music and photos on my home systems, but both are Ubuntu.
If I had an Ipad, can I just drop those files onto the Ipad? opinion seems to say no but is that true?
Seems ridiculous if so.

And if that is the case, does jailbreaking cure that problem?

Correct. I need to be able to show a roomfull of people how to use the iPad with our business apps. Some apps will output to an external screen, but I need to show the entire process, getting into and out of apps, etc.

Non-jailbreak here:
Do you run iTunes in Ubuntu? If that’s the case, you can convert your movies to the “correct” iPad format, and then sync them to the “Videos” app via iTunes. I prefer to not convert movies, and so there’s the free VLC Player, which you can sync movies to via iTunes without conversion. Of course there are all kinds of streaming apps and server pairs, some of which servers probably have native Linux versions. With streaming, you don’t have to worry about trying to get iTunes to work on Linux.

My favorite way to stream is with Plex, and there’s a Windows server version now available which will probably run well on Linux.

In most cases, you’re going to need iTunes working on your machine just to activate, update, backup, and maintain your iPad, jailbroken or not. But assuming you activate on someone else’s machine, and don’t need iTunes, and want to sync videos directly to the device, then it looks like you can copy to VLC via ssh and avoid iTunes. You’d need a jailbreak for this.


This might be a different thread all and all, but this seems to meet all my concerns regarding buying an Ipad. Java Flash, and open office. No jail breaking even required. What thinks the Ipad owners on here?

IMHO, the only benefit from jailbreaking now is the ability to enable tethering, and run a wardriving program f you didn’t grab WiFiFoFum before it was pulled from the App Store. Most paid App Store programs are cheap now, so grabing a warezed version seems kind of petty.

Looks like it’s basically a specialized VNC session into a virtual machine on their servers. Nothing is running on your iPad. It’s all running on their servers.

Very cool for what it is, but it has some serious limitations. It’s only going to work over the internet. It’s probably going to require a pretty fast connection to be reasonably responsive.

Well, obviously for Chrome and Firefox, but yes…that’s what I was thinking too. I really want to replace my netbook with an Ipad, but there’s too many limitations like this. :frowning:

Itunes won’t run in ubuntu in any meaningful stable way.

What I want to do is just take whatever music and video files I fancy watching and dump them onto the ipad. Is there no simple way of doing that without itunes?
If you can run VLC on the Ipad can you not simply grab the files across the network from a shared drive? they are all sitting there for me to access with laptops etc. Can I do that with an Ipad? I admit I sort of assumed that would be standard way of doing things.