SquareTrade's warranty now covers jailbroken iPhones

The third-party warranty service says it now covers iPhones that have been jailbroken, something that voids typical warranties.

JailBreakMe, one of several jailbreak options.
JailBreakMe, one of several jailbreak options. Steven Musil/CNET

Third-party gadget warranty service SquareTrade today expanded its coverage, and now supports jailbroken iPhones.

That procedure -- which gives device owners deep system-level access, letting them install third-party software from places other than Apple's App Store -- voids Apple's own warranty, and that from carriers.

A company spokesperson said the change affects both new and existing coverage holders.

According to Vincent Tseng, SquareTrade's VP of strategy, this extends to iPads and iPods, which the company also covers as part of its warranty service. The three gadgets share the same operating system. It's also in effect for devices running Google's Android OS.

In an interview with CNET, Tseng said the company has actually long supported jailbroken devices, but that it didn't advertise the fact publicly.

"We actually started covering jailbroken iPhones pretty much after it became an issue," Tseng said. "It was the kind of thing that, once we started getting questions from customers, we made the internal decision to start covering it."

Nonetheless, Tseng said the company is not going out of its way to alert general users to the fact.

"One thing we have to keep in perspective is that the jailbreaking community is pretty small compared to the overall community, so we don't want to confuse the 99 percent of users that aren't jailbroken," he said. "We will definitely be making customers more aware of it, but it's not going to be plastered all over the home page or anything."

iPhones are SquareTrade's most covered devices in terms of warranties sold. The company is also the official warranty provider for Amazon's Kindle.

SquareTrade's been around since 1999, but didn't home in on selling warranties until 2004. It garnered more attention by offering accidental damage coverage on devices before the makers themselves offered it. Apple, for example, only added damage coverage with its AppleCare+ program last October . SquareTrade secured a $238 million growth equity investment in January following a busy 2011 where its sales tripled from the year prior.

Update, 11:42 a.m. PT: Adds information from SquareTrade.

 

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