As most of you know, I’m a big fan of jailbreak.  Have been since way back in its earliest days, when I was still running 1.x firmware.  Right about now I find jailbreak apps more useful than ever – especially on the rock solid and ultra-speedy iPhone 3GS – because they provide me with a […]
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This Is Why People Shy Away from Jailbreaking the iPhone

SadiPhone2

As most of you know, I’m a big fan of jailbreak.  Have been since way back in its earliest days, when I was still running 1.x firmware.  Right about now I find jailbreak apps more useful than ever – especially on the rock solid and ultra-speedy iPhone 3GS – because they provide me with a great range of app switching and multitasking options that are not available at all on a stock iPhone.

But over the last several weeks I’ve come across several jailbreak apps that have caused very severe instability and major problems almost immediately upon installing them.  Apps that cause the now all-too-familiar ‘Sad iPhone’ crash of springboard.  Apps that cause continuous Sad iPhone crashes on every attempted restart of springboard, and after phone restarts. Apps that immediately cause other apps not to work.

Because I’ve been around jailbreaking for a while, and because I always have plenty of good resources for help and so on, I always manage to get past these issues without any need to restore my iPhone – generally just by uninstalling the offending application.

Three apps that have caused me these sort of issues, and forced me to remove them, over recent weeks are: AnyRing, Front Contacts, and iAccounts.

Now to be fair, the issues I’ve seen may not be ones that would impact a big percentage of users of each app (though AnyRing seems to have a number of bad stories associated with it) – they may be caused by ‘conflicts’ with the set of existing jailbreak apps I have on my iPhone.

Having said that, I do not have a very large number of jailbreak apps installed.  In fact, I have very few.

I should also point out that the developer of Front Contacts has contacted me and let me know about an updated version of his app, and I’ve been running it for two days now with no problems.

Back to my main point though.  Some crashes and instability are not going to scare me off jailbreaking.  They’re a nuisance, no doubt, when they are occurring – but the benefits I get from jailbreaking are more than outweighing that bother for now.

What about users who are newer to jailbreak than I am though?  My bet is that these sort of hard crashes are just the sort of thing that drive many users right back to running their iPhones stock.  I would venture to guess that the majority of ‘dabblers’ with jailbreak would have very little tolerance for the instability caused by some of these apps.

I’m not a programmer and really don’t know how much can be done to try to make jailbreak apps more stable.  The very nature of jailbreak means apps have access to springboard and to system areas that App Store apps do not – so maybe it’s a losing battle straight away.  But if there is anything that jailbreak devs can do to improve things – do more beta testing, test with more combinations of installed JB apps, – anything at all would be a very good thing I think.

Not because guys like me will go away from jailbreak – because we likely won’t – but more because if they ever want to see that 8-10% figure for percentage of jailbreak users go up then I think this just has to improve.

What do you all think?  Have you hit on many sad iPhone / crash situations recently?  Is this the sort of thing that drives new users away?

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