Jailbreaking Now Legal

We all have polite ‘bitches’ about various policies and practices in many areas of our lives. One of mine is now surfacing in the news as a result of a ruling by the FCC. They have ruled that “jailbreaking” is now legal for iPhone apps and the biggie for me–this also applies to any cell phone. In other words if you want to change your cell phone carrier from say, Verizon, to say, Sprint, you can now do it without penality. Yea, there are obstacles about warranties and finding someone to actually make the techno switch but maybe a new industry will be born to reduce the approximately 130,000,000 cell phones that are disposed of each year. I can’t name how many perfectly good cell phones I’ve gotten rid of over the years because of the previous policies on this issue.

This weekend I will be taking a trip up north to the city of brotherly love. I will be carrying a charger for my cell phone, my camera, my MP-3 player, my laptop, and a neat travel flashlight I have. If we could just get the industry to develop, and the FCC to require, universal charging units that would apply to all our electronic gadgets. Oh well, something to look forward to–I know it’s in the works.


  1. I saw that too! We had our own round of cell phone games this weekend. I may try to write it on another site. Let’s just say anytime the consumer gets to break through some of those barriers, I call it good news.

    BTW, I have the same aversion to all those chargers. I even sometimes pack a multi-outlet power cord when I travel so I only have to crawl under the hotel desk once.

  2. “In other words if you want to change your cell phone carrier from say, Verizon, to say, Sprint, you can now do it without penality.”

    Actually, it isn’t possible to switch your carrier over to Sprint from Verizon (and vice versa) through jailbreaking, nor is it possible to jailbreak any of their phones.

    First of all, there are two cellular network types out there, CDMA and GSM. CDMA stores your service and carrier information inside the actual phone, while GSM stores this information in the form of a SIM Card, which is a little chip placed in the back of your phone. The iPhone 4 uses a microSIM, which is really a cut SIM card.

    The nice thing about a SIM card is you can take it out and place it into any phone that is unlocked (which can be done via jailbreaking and an unofficial app or two, or you can even buy phones online that are unlocked), and receive service. To transfer your information to a new phone via CDMA, you need the help of a technician. Therefore, it is nearly impossible to switch carriers on a CDMA phone.

    The only thing is, Verizon and Sprint, along with their sub-companies and Cricket, use CDMA technology. AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM technology.

    Most people are unlocking the iPhone 3GS and making it work on T-Mobile, since their data and voice plans are cheaper, and no jailbreaks have been developed for iOS 4 yet.

    Just thought you should know before people come to your house with pitchforks and torches asking why they can’t switch carriers from Verizon to Sprint. πŸ™‚

  3. Randy in Richmond says:

    I guess the article in Yahoo News which I read and made my link was wrong, according to Anthony. The article says this:
    “The upshot is that now anyone can jailbreak or otherwise unlock any cell phone without fear of legal penalties, whether you want to install unsupported applications or switch to another cellular carrier. Cell phone companies are of course still free to make it difficult for you to do this β€” and your warranty will probably still be voided if you do β€” but at least you won’t be fined or imprisoned if you jailbreak a handset.”

    Also from a site advertising to unlock cell phones is the following:


    “CDMA Unlocking / Flashing Options: If you have a CDMA cell phone such as Cricket, Metro PCS, Alltel, Verizon, Sprint, Bell, and many more, you can take it to a Member store location to have your cell phone unlocked and flashed on-site, or use our remote flashing service with expert technical support. Our technician will provide you with remote desktop support to convert your phone to the CDMA service provider of your choice in just a few minutes.” This illustrates Sprint and Verizon.

    I really don’t care about the nuts and bolts of the ruling and “how” it works. My point is that if it’s possible–it can now be done.

  4. A lot of people jailbreak to get apps not available otherwise.

    I was going to jailbreak my old iPhone 3G this weekend, but found a decent workaround. I’m ok with the apple OS, I’ve had AT&T forever. No big deal.

  5. Randy in Richmond says:

    Perhaps ‘jailbreaking’ was a poor choice for the post title. If you read carefully what was most important to me–it is the legal switching of carriers that I am glad to see.

  6. Not to worry Randy. Most people will be reading the article in just the way you did. I raised one like Anthony. There’s a darn good chance we’ll never know what he’s talking about.

    Anthony – English please! One of the best tools you can ever develop in your specialty is that which allows you to translate to the rest of us dummies.

    Love, the other mom

  7. BrkfldDad says:

    Anthony is right, the chance to use an alternate carrier is limited to the network technology they support. There are basically two – Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) and Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA). Apple and T-Mobile I believe share a common GSM standard, the others are CDMA. So, the current iPhones will only work on an AT&T network or a T-Mobile network until Apple comes out with a CDMA phone. If you have a carrier that supports CDMA, your options are a little bit broader (Verizon, Sprint, USCellular, Cricket, etc…)

  8. Randy, while it is possible to flash a CDMA phone, here’s the only problem. If you look on the fine print on that site and the FAQ, it says that the other carrier has to be willing to activate the phone on their network. Also, it says if the phone cannot be programmed by dialing *228, then an unlock is not possible.

    With a GSM phone, all you need to do is pop your SIM card into the new phone in most cases.