1. What is jailbreaking?
Used in the context of Apple’s communication devices like iPhone, jailbreaking is the technical procedure of making Apple devices compatible with software not authorized by Apple. Lets start with the iPhone. Some
iPhone users like to "jailbreak“ their device after purchasing it, as it allows you do perform certain things on the iPhone that you can't do when it's not jailbroke. So what is jailbreaking? Jailbreaking is actually the process of removing certain restrictions and limitations put into place by Apple on devices that run the IOS operating system. Once an IOS user has jailbroke his device, he is then able to download apps that aren't in the App Store, use themes, and extenstions that Apple doesn't support. Basically, jailbreaking allows you to use software that Apple doesn't authorize. Moreover users can change their iPhone’s default browser, mail client and do downloads that Apple otherwise doesn’t authorize.
Can I jailbreak my Android?
There's no need. Android users don't have to jailbreak their phones, because Android devices already allow multiple sources for apps: Google, Amazon, Verizon and user-distributed, just to name a few. If Android users want to download and install untested, potentially dangerous third-party apps, that's their prerogative (and, in some cases, risk). Now while IOS users might consider jailbreaking their iPhone the same thing as Android users rooting their Android phones, there is a HUGE difference. In fact, you can't even compare jailbreaking to rooting, and here's why.
2. What is rooting?
Rooting, on the other hand, is usually performed on devices that run on Android Operating System. Some Android users perform a different operation, and "root" their phones. This makes it possible for users to get rid of preinstalled apps, such as Kindle, Blockbuster and Zappos, which wireless companies often stick on new phones. Apple's operating system is not an open source system, meaning that you cannot make changes to the actual source code. Android however, is an open source operating system, and allows you to do MUCH more than just install 3rd party apps. Android out of the box allows users to install 3rd party apps (also known as sideloading), already allows you to install themes, and even allows you to install applications directly from your SD card or internal memory of your device.Everything that IOS users hope to accomplish with jailbreaking their device is already included as basic functionality within Android. So what exactly does root accomplish for Android? Well, not only does it allow you to gain privileged control of your device, overcome limitations that carriers and OEMS put on devices (skins, ect), but also allows you to COMPLETELY remove and replace the entire operating system of the device. This is achievable due to the fact that Android itself was built on a Linux kernel, and allows a user to access administrative permissions on their phone or tablet.
So on an Android device, rooting basically gives you access to more or less the entire operating system. You can completely remove the OS and replace it with user made operating systems that contain tweaks and enhancements (known as ROMS), and you can even access and adjust settings such as your processor speeds. With the help of a custom kernel, IOS devices can be jailbroke to run custom apps. With the help of a custom kernel on Android, you can overclock or underclock your actual processor speed. Pretty big difference right?
Additionally, root users can access the flash memory chip on their device, which is not possible with IOS devices. Rooting an Android phone grants the user what's known as "Superuser“ permissions, which allows specific applications to have root rights. The process itself normally includes exploiting a security weakness in firmware shipped from the factory. Google in many cases will encourage rooting (shipping many devices with unlocked bootloaders to make the process very simple) while warning you that it can cause damage to the device. Apple on the other hand is dead set against jailbreaking, as they only want users using apps distributed from their App Store.
That's a very brief and not overly technical way to describe the difference between jailbreaking and rooting. So next time you hear an IOS user saying that he can jailbreak his device the same way you root your Android device, he might actually be interested to know that there is indeed a very big difference.