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The Risks of Jailbreaking Your iPod Touch

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 12/9/2010

Here is a look at what problems could occur if you jailbreak your iPod Touch.

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    iPod Touch Unlock

    Apple has held a very strong control over the iPhone and iPod Touch's iOS software, what applications it makes available, what service provider is allowed, and almost every other aspect of the systems. Though this totalitarian control takes a much more dramatic form on the iPhone, the iPod Touch is still under strict restrictions and there are a lot of features that it is physically capable of but is not permitted through the approved software. The answer to these limitations for many people have come from sources like the iPhone Dev Team, and are around the iPod Touch jailbreak. To jailbreak your iPod Touch, or unlock your iPod Touch, you essentially compromise and remove the iOS software, replacing it with a different firmware that will support third party applications. There are a lot of pros and cons to the iPod Touch jailbreak process, and it is important to consider what could go wrong when you put your iPod Touch up for jailbreaking. Here are a few of the different risks you could go through when jailbreaking your iPod Touch.

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    Fewer Risks

    You are going to have fewer risks with jailbreaking your iPod Touch than you would jailbreaking your iPhone. It still seems possible that Apple could "brick" your iPod Touch, rendering it useless, but it is so unlikely that it should not be a realistic concern. You do not need to keep it connected to a service provider like you do with your iPhone, so it is hard to say how it would even be possible to make Apple aware that you went through the iPod Touch jailbreak process. You are also not at risk of violating a contract, like you are when you jailbreak your iPhone.

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    The main risk that you encounter when jailbreaking your iPod Touch is that you no longer have the direct connection with Apple that you once did. Previously, you had the ability to use Apple's support system if you were having trouble with your iPod Touch. You had a direct connection to iTunes that allowed you to bring apps back and forth, as well as backing up your iPod's content. Jailbreaking your iPod Touch will nullify all of the responsibility that Apple has to your device, including your warranty. The simplicity that you once approached the iPod Touch is going to become less straight forward, and you are going to have to begin learning about how to work with independent firmware. This is not to say that working with a jailbroken iPod Touch is going to be unreasonably complicated, but it will be more difficult for those with very little computer skills.

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    Lost Media

    Though you should be able to get all the iPod Touch apps that were available to you before, there have been a lot of instances where the content of the iPod Touch has been completely erased. If you want to jailbreak your iPod Touch, this is going to have to be an acceptable risk, but if you can try to protect against a total loss. Make sure that all of the media, mainly music and videos, are identified and saved on your computer or storage drive so that you will be able to re-sync it if needed.

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    When to Unlock

    There are almost no stories of a loss of hardware functionality, but this is still a risk that could happen with any software change that is associated with unlocking your iPod Touch. If you have a newer iPod Touch you may want to wait a little while before going through the unlock process, and older iPod Touch's that are already past warranty are good test subjects for the jailbreak. Since Apple will not necessarily help your iPod Touch if there is a hardware problem after you have unlocked it you should make sure that it is already in a position where Apple will ignore it.