If you want to remove restrictions on your Android device, you root it. If you want to do the same on your iPhone, you jailbreak it.

But what’s the difference between the two methods? Many people wrongly believe rooting and jailbreaking are just two different terms for the same thing. That’s wrong. Today, we’re going to explain the difference.

What’s Jailbreaking?

Every iPhone comes with software restrictions pre-installed by Apple. Those software restrictions basically say this: don’t let any software run on this device unless it’s been individually approved by Apple.

Jailbreaking is the process of removing those software restrictions. Apple put your iPhone in software “jail” and you need to break it out of jail, hence the term “jailbreak”.


With jailbreaking, developers use a custom kernel to grant root access to the device. After the software restrictions have been removed, the user can download and use apps that aren’t in the iTunes App Store.

Jailbroken users can continue to download apps from the iTunes store just like normal. Jailbreaking the iPhone doesn’t defeat its core functionality.

One of the key differences between rooting and jailbreaking is that with jailbreaking, you can either have a tethered, semi-tethered, or untethered jailbreak.

A tethered jailbreak means you need to jailbreak your device using a computer every time you restart it. Otherwise, your phone will be unusable once it restarts.

A semi-tethered jailbreak means your phone will retain some functionality after it restarts, although you’ll still need to attach it to a computer to restore full functionality.

And an untethered jailbreak, which is the best option, means you can restart your jailbroken iPhone as much as you like with no consequences.

What’s Rooting?

Rooting involves gaining access to the source code of the operating system. Android is an open source OS, while Apple iOS is not. After rooting Android, you can do way more than install new apps: you can install a brand new operating system.

In fact, you don’t even need to root your Android to enjoy “jailbreaking” advantages. Apple users have to jailbreak their iPhones to install third-party apps. Android comes with sideloading functionality already built in, which means you can always install apps, themes, and extensions from outside the Play Store.


Everything that iOS users like to do by jailbreaking their phones is already included as native functionality within Android.

So now that we’ve established that, what exactly does rooting do?

Basically, rooting gives you access to every file in the Android operating system. Your manufacturer and carrier put restrictions on your Android files to prevent you from editing them. Rooting breaks away these restrictions.

Rooting methods typically work because Android was built on a Linux kernel. Linux lets you grant yourself administrator privileges to take full control. Most Android root methods work on more or less that same principal.

Some of the things you can do after rooting Android that you’ll never be able to do on a jailbroken iPhone include:

-Overclocking or underclocking your processor (to save battery life or boost performance)

-Access the flash memory chip on your device

-Grant yourself superuser permissions, which lets you choose certain applications to have root privileges

-Install a brand new OS

-Customize tech specs like resolution

-Trick the Play Store into thinking you’re in another country or location (to download region-specific apps, for example)

-And much more

Jailbreaking is Like Giving your Phone a Facelift. Rooting is Like Choosing an Entirely New Body

Ultimately, Apple is one of the most restrictive companies in the world when it comes to their technology. Even something as simple as jailbreaking your iPhone can be a hassle. Apple discourages jailbreaking because it wants everyone to download iPhone apps that it individually approves (and makes money from, of course).

Google, on the other hand, will often encourage rooting. Some Android devices come with an unlocked bootloader, which makes your rooting process significantly easier.

If you want to own a smartphone you can completely customize, then Android is your only option. Even the best jailbroken iPhones are still incredibly restrictive.

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