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Jailbreak refers to the process of gaining root access to the iOS operating system that runs on Apple devices, including the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. Jailbreaking frees the device from dependence on Apple as the exclusive source of applications, allowing users to install third-party apps unavailable at the official App Store. Users can also customize their home screens and modify the appearance of icons and menus. Jailbreaking is sometimes a prelude to unlocking an iPhone or modifying its baseband so that the unit can work with other mobile networks.
Jailbreak may also be known as jailbreaking or iOS jailbreak.
Jailbreak paves the way for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch owners to add more functionality to their devices than what is offered in a standard Apple gadget. Cydia and Installer are two of the most popular App Store alternatives that offer interesting apps for jailbroken iPhones and iPod Touches.
Not surprisingly, Apple does its best to prevent the success of jailbreaking efforts with OS and hardware updates. These updates mean that jailbreak developers need to crack a different code every time a new version or model of a device is released.
Although Apple has claimed that jailbreaking is a threat to the company's successful closed business model, in 2010 federal regulators determined that jailbreaking is exempt from the provisions found in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and is therefore legal.