Honestly, rooting or jailbreaking clearly means the removal of hardware restrictions from device. So, if you forcefully remove the restrictions from your device using rooting (for Android) or jailbreaking (for iPhone), manufacturers will never like this. This is because there are lots of risks and dangers of rooting or jailbreaking the device, and this is the reason why rooted or jailbroken devices instantly lose the warranty by manufacturer.
There’re many countries where rooting and jailbreaking is completely illegal, but still there are some countries where rooting an Android phone or jailbreaking the iPhone still legal, also some manufacturers allow these rooting and jailbreaking activities. Wait guys, I will discuss on these aspects clearly in the following paragraphs. So, if you’re finding the answer of question “is it illegal to jailbreak iPhone or root Android phone?”, then this resource is really written for you!
Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer and this is not a legal advice. In fact, I’m just an Android and iPhone lover and here I’m just telling people what the law is and what people can legally do with the devices they own.
Is it Really Illegal to Root Android or Jailbreak iPhone?
As I told you above that there are some manufacturers which allow users to root their Android phones. For example, all the Nexus smartphones and tablets by Google are permitted to root. So, rooting is not illegal at that point of view. But, many Android manufacturers and carriers block the ability to root, and if you still try to root the device, it’s an illegal activity, because you’re against the rules.
MUST READ: Difference Between Rooting & Jailbreaking?
Apple never allows users to jailbreak its devices or install unauthorized software, so jailbreaking is always performed without Apple’s authorization.
Moreover, I’m going to tell you about the laws in different countries to know about the legality of rooting and jailbreaking. So, take a look at the laws in the USA, Canada, India, New Zealand and the European Union to figure out whether this is actually illegal or not.
US Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in 1999, and according to this law it is illegal to root or jailbreak devices without the permission of manufacturer. However, at least through 2015 phones have an exemption to grant permission for rooting or jailbreaking the phone.
Other that this there are some other laws too. For example, according to The Librarian of Congress, you have to root or jailbreak your phone ONLY to use applications that require root access or that can only be installed from outside Apple’s App Store. If you’re rooting your phone for any other reason at all – or if you do anything else requiring root or jailbreak access – your rooting or jailbreaking is apparently illegal.
In November 2012, Canada government passed the Copyright Modernization Act. According to this law, this it illegal to tamper with the digital locks that are placed by manufacturer, along with very specific exemptions for interoperability, security, privacy, encryption research, and unlocking cell phones.
So, if you’re rooting your Android to run root-only software on it or jailbreaking your iPhone to install apps Apple won’t allow into the App Store, you should be okay.
However, The Free Software Foundation Europe argues that it is legal to root or flash any device. According to the European Directive 1999/44/CE, it is illegal to root an Android phone or jailbreak iPhone, nonetheless interoperability is still an exemption to this.
India & New Zealand
India’s copyright law and New Zealand’s copyright law says almost the same thing. In fact, it is legal to root Android or jailbreak iPhone for non-copyright-infringing purposes. It means, there may be an exemption for interoperability, just like as European Union. It clearly means it’s 100% illegal if you root or jailbreak your device for copyright infringement purpose.
READ ALSO: How to Jailbreak iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch
Of course, you probably won’t be hauled off to jail for jailbreaking your iPad or unlocking your smartphone, just like you won’t be prosecuted for telling a white lie on Facebook. For example, if you’re telling lie about your age on Facebook, that’s a violation of Facebook’s rules, so you’re a criminal, but still thousands of people are violating lots of such rules and laws made by companies and government.
Honestly, you should not worry about such kind of laws. You won’t be personally arrested or fined for this. But these laws are a real example of government overreach. They should be fixed before they’re used as weapons to ruin lives, as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act was used against Aaron Swartz.
Very nice information about the legal issues of jailbreaking and rooting. Almost every country have the same copyright laws.
Very nice clarification. Very nice stuff for understanding the legality of rooting and jailbreaking.