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Tech Lab sidebar

A primer to jailbreaking and unlocking smartphones

Jailbreaking or rooting

WHAT: A process that lets users take more control of their smartphone’s operating system.

PRO: Gives access to apps and features not available on standard phones.

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CONS: Voids warranties; can cause permanent damage to phone; opens phones to malicious software.

Unlocking

WHAT: Resetting a cellphone so it can be used on other carriers. Now illegal without carrier authorization.

PROS: Unlocking makes it easier to change carriers; also,unlocked phones can often be used outside the United States.

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CONS: Phones in the United States are often incompatible with other networks even when unlocked. Unlocked phones generally cost full price.

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