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.

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