Is it illegal to jailbreak your iPhone, iPad, Android, or to modify your Playstation, Wii or Xbox in Singapore?

Last updated on June 7, 2011

iOS jailbreaking refers to a process that unlocks all features of the Apple operating system, allowing iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch users to download additional applications, extensions and themes that are unavailable through the official Apple App Store via external installers such as Cydia. Jailbreaking is the equivalent of rooting for Android devices.

Jailbreaking voids the warranty under the End User License Agreement with Apple, and may cause the product to become unstable or faulty.

Strictly speaking, jailbreaking is legal in itself. An iPad owner can “legally” jailbreak his iPad, but what he does subsequently may be illegal if they violate copyright laws. Jailbreaking allows a user to download illegal content, such as pirated movies and songs. Such activities are obviously illegal in Singapore, under the Copyright Act. The same goes for flashing or installing modchips onto your gaming console. While this activity is, in itself, strictly legal, if this is done for the purpose of playing pirated games, you may be liable under the Copyright Act for piracy.

If a user merely jailbreaks his iPad to download customised themes that are not copyrighted, this activity would not constitute an illegal act. As such, the police will not arrest you and/or seize your Apple product if you jailbreak it. However, you are solely responsible for any undesirable outcomes as a result of jailbreaking which may damage the device.

The same goes for an Xbox 360, in terms of modifying the hard drive or DVD drive, but doing so will void the warranty. However, it should be noted that Microsoft has banned Xbox 360 consoles in the past. On their end, it is possible to detect modified consoles and they have shown no reluctance in banning consoles and Windows Live accounts when if the need arises.

Legal and Contractual Rights When Making a Purchase
  1. Price Transparency Guidelines by CCCS (With Examples)
  2. Your Consumer Rights in Singapore and How to Get Recourse
  3. Can silence amount to acceptance of a contract?
  4. Unfair Contract Terms Act: UCTA in Singapore
  5. When Can I Void a Contract For Misrepresentation?
  6. Making Lemon Law Claims for Defective Items in Singapore
  7. How Does the Hire-Purchase Act Protect Consumers in Singapore?
  8. Repossession for Failure to Pay Instalments in Singapore
Buying a Car in Singapore
  1. Consumer Rights in Singapore
  2. Buying a Car in Singapore: A Comprehensive Guide
  3. How to Resolve Disputes with Car Dealers
F&B-related Matters
  1. Food Poisoning in Singapore: Who Can I Sue?
  2. Do I have to pay the 10% service charge in restaurants?
  3. Can I refuse to pay restaurants for lousy food or service?
  4. “Certified Organic” Food in Singapore: What Does It Mean?
Online Purchases
  1. Buyer Beware! What to Do If You are a Retail Scam Victim
Specific Consumer Matters
  1. Is It Legal to Own Gold Bars or Bullions in Singapore?
  2. Victim of Hard Selling Sales Tactics in Singapore: What to Do
  3. Misled by an Advertisement? Here’s What You Can Do
  4. Missing Parcel? Here’s What You Can Do
  5. What If a Shop Vendor Sells Me a Grossly Overpriced Piece of Merchandise?
  6. What Can You Do if You Were Sold a Defective Product in Singapore?
  7. Counterfeit Goods: Is it Illegal to Sell or Buy Them in Singapore?
  8. How to Get Back Your Money from a Company That’s Closing Down in Singapore
  9. Is Ticket Scalping Legal in Singapore? Risks Faced by Buyers/Sellers
  10. Am I liable for the charges if my credit card is stolen? What is the law on lost card liability?
  11. Is it illegal to jailbreak your iPhone, iPad, Android, or to modify your Playstation, Wii or Xbox in Singapore?
  12. I pawned a piece of jewellery to a pawnshop. What are my rights as a pawner?