Apple: Jaibreaking Your iPhone Can Void Warranty

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In response the U.S. Copyright Office and the Library of Congress’s ruling that jailbreaking an iPhone is a legal act, Apple released a statement saying that doing so still might void your warranty on the device. The company also warned users that jailbroken iPhones offer a “degraded” experience.

“Apple’s goal has always been to insure that our customers have a great experience with their iPhone and we know that jailbreaking can severely degrade the experience,” the company said in a statement given to Wired’s Cult of Mac. “As we’ve said before, the vast majority of customers do not jailbreak their iPhones as this can violate the warranty and can cause the iPhone to become unstable and not work reliably.”

The issue also shouldn’t be mistaken for being a settled one, as it is possible for Apple to appeal the ruling. Legal sources The Mac Observer has consulted with on the issue laid out a couple of arguments Apple could make, and the company’s legal resources are extensive.

In the meanwhile, there is already a large community of iPhone users with jailbroken devices, and that community seems likely to grow. Should the process remain legal, in fact, it seems likely that above-board companies may begin developing commercial jailbreaking solutions for iPhones and other iOS devices, and whether or not Apple can say that doing so will void the warranty on the device could be put to the test.

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17 Comments Leave Your Own

geoduck

Things that will void your warranty:
Overclocking your computer
A nitromethane kit on your car
Changing the chipset in your Wii
Jailbreaking your iPhone

All allow you to do cool things but the devices were not designed with that in mind. I don’t begrudge someone who wants to do any of these, just don’t expect the manufacturer to bail you out if the experiment goes wrong.

TitanTiger

Of course, I don’t think most people who do such things are doing them on products that are still in warranty, nor do they expect the warranty to remain intact if they do.  If your phone is out of warranty and you’re out of contract especially, it shouldn’t be any of Apple or AT&T’s business if you jailbreak and unlock your phone.

warlock

Geoduck, the only reason I could see me jailbreaking my phone for would be so I could tether, without having to pay ATT&T an extra $20, for 2GB data when I already have an unlimited data plan.  For that I would consider jailbreaking it.

daemon

Uh, software voids the warranty on hardware? BS.

Just think about it. You own a MacBook, and you edit a preference file and you void your warranty? Seriously?

geoduck

You own a MacBook, and you edit a preference file and you void your warranty?

No but if you try to edit your firmware and kill the MacBook I feel that Apple would be justified. Some parts are meant to be screwed with and some are not. You try to hack the computer on your car and fry it, I seriously doubt that Ford would give you a new one. You have the right to do it, I’m not questioning that, but you do so at your own risk. I don’t see where any manufacturer should be held liable for what they’ve clearly outlined in red as abuse.

JonGl

Well, this is interesting news, but it doesn’t really change much. As for me, I think I get a better experience jail-broken than before. I know I certainly had multi-tasking—and better than Apple’s—long before Apple brought it to iOS 4. I can also use my phone in the US and Europe thanks to that. I do agree that Apple is free from warranty issues, and ought not have to pay to “fix” jail-broken phones. I bought mine used, in fact, so this is not an issue for me (and I tend to buy used when I expect to do hard hacking on any item).

My only (admittedly far-fetched to the point of being a pipe dream) hope would be that some day, Apple stops plugging the holes, and leaves us alone. wink

-Jon

Tiger

I think Apple will find a way to “detect” a jailbroken phone if you plug it into iTunes and just void your account. You want a phone that’s jailbroken, then you’re also going to be trolling OUTSIDE their wall forever. They really have no incentive to keep working with you as a customer.

Yeah, it’s a loyalty thing. It’s a two way street. You walk away, they walk away. Allowing a jb’d phone to connect to their hardware might actually allow malware to go into the walled garden and thus screw all the customers.

Of course, Apple could come up with a whole new class of iPhone. No network contract. A simple, basic OS. No Sim Card tied to any carrier. And no warranty. Just sell it for $99 to anybody who wants it. You can have a phone with the Apple logo (really, is that what people want?) and go about your merry way. It’s a lot cheaper than what a few people seem to be doing now.

Lee Dronick

Allowing a jb?d phone to connect to their hardware might actually allow malware to go into the walled garden and thus screw all the customers.

Or even just the iPhone. Install the Lindsay Lohan Countdown to Freedom App on a jailbroke iPhone and next thing we will hear is the media will be chattering about the first iPhone virus.

computerbandgeek

just void your account. You want a phone that?s jailbroken, then you?re also going to be trolling OUTSIDE their wall forever. They really have no incentive to keep working with you as a customer.

..except for the whole SELLING APPS AND ITUNES DOWNLOADS TO YOU thing. They make a lot of money off of selling apps and songs to people with jailbroken iDevices. Not to mention that jailbreaking doesn’t violate the licence agreement, only the warranty. When you purchase something from iTunes, the agreement between you and Apple is that Apple will let you use the items you purchased on any iDevice that you own.

Allowing a jb?d phone to connect to their hardware might actually allow malware to go into the walled garden and thus screw all the customers.

So let me get this straight: you think that if an iPhone is jailbroken and has a virus, it is capable of copying itself to a mac through USB (theoretically IMPOSSIBLE, as there are many security protections to stop a USB device from being able to control a mac’s sensitive data), and then from there, the virus will copy itself to other macs (yet again, there are countless protections against this), which transfer the virus to other iOS users macigally? Man, you are REALLY trying hard to convince yourself that Apple is always right. If you’re going to spin things into an alternate reality that makes it easier to hate jailbreaking, at least avoid lying..

computerbandgeek

Furthermore, it can be argued that instead of “screw[ing] all the [iOS] customers”, jailbreaking has actually significantly improved the user experience for all iOS users. Jailbreaking has been around since about a month after the first iPhone was released. Since then, not a single trojan like the one you have been describing has been created. When the first iPhone OS came out, many jailbreakers demonstrated to the world the power and potential of the iPhone platform. While Apple was claiming that web apps were “good enough”, jailbreakers were proving how blatantly wrong they were. After Apple caught on to this, they created the AppStore in OS 2.0, which is arguably one of the top reasons for purchasing an iPhone. Before OS 3.0 came out, jailbreakers were demonstrating how the iPhone platform was capable of many things that Apple said it was not, such as copy/paste, turn-by-turn navigation (another now-huge industry that Apple wanted to block), video recording, stereo bluetooth, and tethering. Before iOS 4 came out, jailbreakers were proving that Apple was lying about the iPhone platform’s ability to multitask, use homescreen wallpapers effectively, and more.

Apple has consistently resisted many changes to iOS until they were forced by users who saw through their lies with solid evidence from jailbreakers. Because of the poineering few, Apple has been spurred on to improve their operating system for all users.

geoduck

I think lies is a bit strong. A feature enabled by some hacker is held up to much lower standards than one put out by Apple (or Microsoft, or anyone else making an OS). Just because something worked when jailbroken, does not mean that it was solid enough or reliable enough, or not prone to conflict with other apps enough to get the brand name. Suppose Apple had allowed multitasking in iOS2 and it caused problems for 5% of users. It would have been a PR disaster. See how big the Death Grip issue has been and it only seems to be hitting a couple of percent.

Apple is held to a higher standard.

computerbandgeek

A feature enabled by some hacker is held up to much lower standards than one put out by Apple (or Microsoft, or anyone else making an OS).

This is quite true. However, it is arguable that Apple never would have attempted to add many of the features that they have implemented well if the hacking community didn’t spur them on. And I don’t feel that “lies” is too strong, because stating that jailbreaking degrades the user experience for all iOS customers is a flat out lie.

On a semi-related note, have you read “The Macintosh Way” by Guy Kawasaki? It’s a rather old book at this point, but what he said is still relevant in many ways. He talked about how important it is to please “the cult” (his name for the group of highly-technical users that insist on being at the bleeding edge), and how if “the cult” was not pleased by a product, it would never be a success. It’s definitely an interesting read if you have some spare time.

geoduck

However, it is arguable that Apple never would have attempted to add many of the features that they have implemented well if the hacking community didn?t spur them on.

Oh I completely agree with that. Apple has a history going all the way back through system 6 of seeing something developed ‘outside’ and including it in later versions of their products.

On a semi-related note, have you read ?The Macintosh Way? by Guy Kawasaki? It?s a rather old book at this point, but what he said is still relevant in many ways.

Thanks. I’ll see if I can find a copy.

Lee Dronick

On a semi-related note, have you read ?The Macintosh Way? by Guy Kawasaki? It?s a rather old book at this point, but what he said is still relevant in many ways.

Thanks. I?ll see if I can find a copy.

I have an autographed copy around somewhere in one of the boxes of books for which I have no shelf space. I met him a few times in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s at Mac/Apple II shows when I was working at Beagle Bros. He is a genuinely nice “Guy.”

Tiger

No, not a virus. I said malware. Apparently, you miss the subtle difference. There still is no OS X virus in the wild after 10 years of the OS in general use. NONE.

Malware on the other had, and is recently being reported, is on the rise. And yes, I do think that malicious people will be able to find a way to make it circulate back through the store. Eventually. No system is perfect.

And as for the iTunes store “making them a lot of money”, that is completely up for debate and totally unprovable on either side because Apple does not comment nor release sales figures for the store, with their comment being only that it is not a major source of revenue. They are still a hardware company.

And while I’m at it, i was actually just explaining a point of view that it is the company philosophy to protect the walled garden and how they COULD move forward to protect their position.. NOWHERE in my post did I ever indicate a personal preference. It was about the company’s operating procedure. I wasn’t lying. I was putting forth a plausible strategy if they choose to protect that position. It’s not out of the realm considering the recent events now, is it?

Public relations for a company that was so small on infrastructure like Apple was and suddenly becoming one of the, if not THE big boys in tech, is a nightmare for them. Antennagate was just such an instance. Statistically, the number of people who actually complained was minute, but it was a very vocal and well-connected minority of consumers that the company found itself in a spiral of mediocrity.

How they move forward now after this ruling will be a good measure of whether they are a mature company, or if they have moved beyond the almost paranoid, control freak nature of the last decade.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

I have an autographed copy around somewhere in one of the boxes of books for which I have no shelf space. I met him a few times in the late ?80s and early ?90s at Mac/Apple II shows when I was working at Beagle Bros. He is a genuinely nice ?Guy.?

Guy kicks ass. Search for my name in “Rules for Revolutionaries”. I coined a term grin.

On jailbreaking… Apple is lucky that 4 million of its customers used jailbroken devices rather than ditch them for Android. If you want Apple to change its censorship policies and its stupid wars against 3rd party developers, the best thing you can do is jailbreak just for the hell of it. They know how many phones are jailbroken. Be counted.

Tiger

You too can be Rick Rolled.

Never gonna give you up!

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