The first jailbreak tool for iOS 4.1 has been released, and while it’s a bit rough around the edges, it’s designed to work with the iPhone 4, iPod touch 4th generation iPod touch 3rd generation, iPad, and eventually the iPhone 3GS, although there’s a bug that prevents the iPhone 3GS hack from working right now.
The tool is called Limera1n and it supports iOS 4.1. Interestingly, it comes from hacker Geohot and it was released just a day before the hackers at the iPhone Dev Team had planned to launch their own jailbreak making use of a different exploit in iOS 4.1 Now it looks like the Dev Team will be holding off for a while, rather than bringing two separate exploits to Apple’s attention – making it easier for Apple to patch both exploits at the same time.
While the federal government has ruled that it’s legal to jailbreak, unlock, or generally modify the software on smartphones, Apple isn’t required to make it easy and there’s no rule preventing Apple from patching exploits. In fact, if you’re not a jailbreaker, those patches are probably a good thing since it means that Apple is essentially removing security holes that malicious coders could use to sneak malware onto your phone.
In theory, jailbreaking provides users with deep access to the files and settings that are otherwise unavailable on Apple iOS devices. This lets you install applications that aren’t available in the iTunes App Store, tether your phone to a computer for free, or adjust other settings.
Right now, the Limar1n jailbreak tool only works with a Windows computer, and some users have reported problems — like some apps including the App Store missing after jailbreaking. Proceed with caution.
You should also know that the Limera1n doesn’t support unlocking — and if your phone is currently unlocked, using this tool will relock your device. So if you need your iPhone to work with networks besides AT&T, you’ll want to hold off for now.
Update: Limera1n is now available for both Mac and PC.