Since there are now a lot more Canadians with iPads, as of this weekend, I thought it would be a good idea to go over jailbreaking, and why it might be for you. We may have talked about this already, but I’m sure there are quite a few new visitors to the site, now that the iPad is finally available in Canada.
Let’s start fresh. What is jailbreaking? Jailbreaking is a way to bypass the locks and restrictions Apple puts on the device, allowing you to install 3rd party applications that you will not find in the App Store, customize the look of your iPad, and much more.
The process of jailbreaking your iPad is incredibly easy, on the current firmware. It is a free, simple tool called “Spirit”, available cross platform, Mac, Windows, and Linux. You can download it from their website: www.spiritjb.com. Once you have downloaded it, unpack it to your desktop, and open it up. Connect your iPad to your computer, and Spirit will recognize it automatically. Click the “Jailbreak” button, and your iPad will flash for a second, and then have a pinkish, celestial image on the screen, with a progress bar. Your iPad will reboot, when it’s finished.
Here’s a quick video of the process:
When your iPad has finished rebooting, you’ll have a new app store on your home screen called Cydia. This is where you find some great mods hacks and tweaks for your iPad, as well as some great apps that were submitted to the Apple App Store, but were rejected for some reason. You’ll find free and paid apps here, just like Apple’s App Store. You will also find plenty of great themes.
Here’s a short list of free apps from Cydia, that I recommend downloading right away.
1. Backgrounder – This will be the main reason most people jailbreak their iPad. Backgrounder gives you multitasking on your iPad, something Apple will not offer until OS 4.0 for iPad is released in the fall. This allows you to run multiple applications, at the same time, having them run it the background, while you perform other tasks. You choose how you want to activate and deactivate Backgrounder and you will see a badge on the app’s icon, letting you know it’s running in the background. This will run your battery down a bit faster, but it a very useful feature.
2. SBSettings – This is a great addition to your iPad, that gives you quick access to some of your settings, with a quick swipe of the status bar. It can be accessed from within any app, so you won’t have to quit what your doing.
3. Winterboard – This is what you need, if you want to change the look of your iPad. There are many iPhone themes already compatible with iPad, and there a more and more iPad specific themes coming out everyday. Themes can contain different icons for your apps, fixed wallpapers, different docks, different sounds, and more. You’ll have to play around with this, to see what you like. Here’s a sneek peek at a new theme I’m working on, called OS X Tiger for iPad.
There are some great paid apps to look for in Cydia, like WiFiSync, which allows you wirelessly sync your iPad to iTunes on your computer, over your home WiFi network, and Infiniboard, which allows for vertical scrolling of your pages and the ability to add a lot more apps.
If you like games there are some great Nintendo and PlayStation game emulators available. The newest, and best one (in my opinion) is SNES (HD). This is a full featured Super Nintendo emulator, that uses an iPhone as the controller, over BlueTooth. This does a great job of recreating the Super Nintendo experience.
So that is just a brief glimpse into the world of jailbreaking. There is always the risk of your iPad becoming “bricked”, or inoperable, but this is usually fixed by doing a fresh restore in iTunes. If you decide this is for you, you do this at your own risk, as we cannot take responsibility for anything that might happen in the process.
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