Apple released a software update this week that closes a PDF exploit that allowed hackers to run code on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad by tricking it into loading a corrupted PDF file. That might sound like a good thing — and for the most part it is. Apple iOS 4.0.2 is more secure than earlier builds. But it also makes it a lot tougher to jailbreak your iDevice, because that PDF exploit was exactly what the folks behind web-based jailbreak tool Jailbreakme were using.

Fortunately, it looks like anyone running iOS 4.0.2 on an older device can still jailbreak their iPhone 3G or second generation iPod touch using the good old redsn0w utility.

The process isn’t quite as easy as visiting a web site and swiping your finger across the screen. But it’s really not that much harder. You simply download the latest version of iOS, download the Redsn0w 0.95b5-5 file and follow the directions. You can find step by step instructions at Redmond Pie.

Keep in mind, jailbreaking your device will likely void your warranty and if you break something you’re pretty much on your own. On the other hand, jailbreaking an older iPhone or iPod touch is the only way to enable support for features like multitasking and custom wallpapers.You can also install apps that haven’t officially been added to the iTunes App Store.

Oh yeah, and as Engadget points out — if you want to protect yourself from the PDF exploit and you’re on an older device that’s not running iOS 4, then the only way to beef up your security is ironically to jailbreak your device and install an unofficial patch from the Cydia store.

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing. He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...