Hackers have been jailbreaking iOS 5 devices since Apple’s latest mobile operating system was still in beta. But up until now the only way to jailbreak an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad running iOS 5.0 and up was to perform a tethered jailbreak. That means that you needed to connect your mobile device to a computer and run the jailbreak software again any time you reboot.
Jailbreaking allows iOS users to access files and settings that would not otherwise be available, install apps that aren’t available in the App Store, unlock iPhones for use on alternate cellular networks, and make other changes.
Now a hacker named pod2g has released the tools to perform an untethered jailbreak, and the folks at the iPhone Dev Team and Chronic Dev Team have packed them up into some easy-to-use utilities.
This means that it’s easy for almost anyone to perform an untethered jailbreak on iOS 5.0.1 so that you can reboot your mobile device without losing any functionality.
There are a few caveats. First, this only works on the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad 1, and 3rd and 4th generation iPods touch. Newer devices with Apple A5 processors such as the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S aren’t supported. Pod2g is hoping to hack those devices next though.
Second, if you jailbreak a device running iOS 5.0 or later you’ll lose one of the cooler new features: the ability to perform over-the-air operating system updates without connecting your device to a computer and running iTunes. If you’re a long-time jailbreaker that might not be a problem, since you probably don’t want to upgrade to iOS 5.0.2 or iOS 5.1 or whatever comes next until you know it’s safe to jailbreak.
Third, if you’re using an unlocked iPhone with ultrasn0w or gevey, you’ll need to jump through some extra hoops and make sure you’re using a custom IPSW with iOS 5.0.1.
Finally, there’s no guarantee that everything will work perfectly — and Apple probably won’t be too sympathetic if you show up at a store complaining that you broke your iPhone when trying to jailbreak it.
That said, it’s pretty easy to jailbreak an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad using the new tools.
How to upgrade from a tethered jailbreak to an untethered jailbreak
If you’ve already got a device running a tethered jailbreak, all you have to do to switch to the untethered jailbreak is fire up the Cydia store on your device, search for an app from the Chronic Dev Team called Corona, install it and run it.
You can also use the iPhone Dev Team’s redsn0w utility to perform an untethered jailbreak on top of a tethered jailbreak. But assuming you’re starting from a device that isn’t jailbroken, here’s how to proceed. These steps were tested with a Windows PC and a 4th generation iPod touch. The steps should be very similar for supported iPhone and iPad models.
How to perform a fresh, untethered jailbreak
1. Make sure you’re running iOS 5.0.1 on a supported device. You’ll also need a computer with iTunes installed.
2. Download redsn0w 0.9.10b1 or later for Windows or OS X.
3. Unzip the file to a directory on your computer and open that directory.
4. Right-click on redsn0w.exe and select “run as administrator.” Make sure to click yes on any alerts that pop up.
5. Click the button that says jailbreak.
6. Follow the instructions and make sure your device is turned off and plugged into your computer. (Turning an iOS device off isn’t quite as simple as tapping the power button. Make sure to press-and-hold the power button, then slide the red button that pops up to completely shut down your device).
7. Click Next in the redsn0w utility to continue.
8. Enter DFU mode with the following steps:
- Press and hold the power button for 5 seconds.
- Without lifting your finger from the power button, press and hold the home button for 10 seconds.
- Keep holding the home button for another 15 seconds, but lift your finger from the power button.
9. Redsn0w will identify your device and start sending data to it. This will take a few minutes.
10. Next, select the option to install Cydia, plus any other options you’d like and click Next.
11. Your phone will reboot and more data will be sent to your device — then redsn0w will let you know that you’re done.
Now you should see lines of text fly on your mobile device, followed by a walking pineapple and a progress meter.
When your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad reboots you should be finished. You’ll know your device is jailbroken if you see the icon for the Cydia Store on you home screen.