Defintion and History

Jailbreaking is the form of “hacking” your iOS device to receive read/write (root or super user) access on the “locked” OS on your iPhone.

Jailbreaking started as a complex multi-step process shortly after the release of the first iPhone in the summer of 2007. It has been estimated that millions of iOS devices have been jailbroken. The jailbreak team is powered by the underground group of programmers and hackers called the iPhone Dev Team.

Major Programmers and Hackers

iPhone Dev Team — Hackers and programmers who are constantly finding security holes in Apple’s iOS. They have also greated GUI (Graphical User Interface) programs that exploit Apple’s iDevice.

George Hotz (Geohot) — The hardcore hardware hacker who unlocked the original iPhone. Geohotz also created purplera1n, blackra1n and limera1n that are considered to be the fastest way to jailbreak a iDevice.

Jay Freeman (Saurik) — Creator of Cydia, which is the most used “App Store alternative” bringing patches and modifications to Apple’s iOS.

Comex — Creator of the renowned Spirit jailbreak bringing an untethered jailbreak. Comex also created Jailbreakme.com which exploited through the devices Safari browser by a PDF exploit.

Why Jailbreak?

Until recently, Apple has started to implement most of the “patches” and “applications” that users sought after before the new versions of the iOS. Additionally, jailbreaking enables you to have more choices by giving you what I like to call the “Unofficial App Store”, Cydia. Cydia was the early beginnings of the App Store which allows you to download modifications for your iOS device that Apple doesn’t allow. For instance, for the longest time, the Google Voice app was rejected; however, after many changes to Apple’s iOS Developer Agreement, the stakes have changed. With a jailbroken device, your device can still connect to iTunes and the App Store, so it can take full advantages and get the “best of both worlds.”

Also, jailbreaking of the iOS device can also enable software unlocking of the SIM card, which allows the phone to accept any SIM without restriction. Unlocked iPhones are popular among users who travel to foreign countries because local SIMs have lower price per call than the international fees of your carrier.

What is Tethered verses Untethered Jailbreak?

A tethered jailbreak requires a computer connection to boot the jailbroken iOS device. Tethered jailbreaks are extremely frustrating because every time your iOS device reboots or the battery dies, you need to connect your device back to the computer to perform a “tethered” startup with the aid of a jailbreak application such as redsn0w.

An utethered jailbreak is most preferred because it does not require a jailbreak application to kick the iOS device out of impossible boot. So, if your iOS device reboots, you do not need to worry about having to connect back to your computer.

Overall, untethered jailbreaks are the best option if possible for your device.

Is it Legal or Illegal to Jailbreak?

“Yes it is both” would be the answer to if jailbreaking is legal or illegal. According to Apple, jailbreaking is illegal. Apple has announced that they believe jailbreaking is illegal and infringes on their copyrights through their complaint with the EEF (Electronic Frontier Foundation).

However, the EFF went to the side with the consumers and saying that “reverse engineering is a fair use when done for purposes of fostering interoperability with independently created software”

Steve Jobs has stated that the covering of loop holes from jailbreak developers is a “cat and mouse game.” The game consists of Apple and hackers trying to find security exploits within the OS.

What do you think of jailbreaking? Is your iOS device jailbroken? Drop a comment!

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