How To Jailbreak Your iPhone

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If you picked up a new iPhone at Christmas but are finding it a little restrictive, you might be considering jailbreaking the device. There are pros and cons for doing this, so read on and be sure you are making an informed decision before you do anything drastic! If you are sure this is the right route for you, keep reading and discover how to jailbreak your iPhone.

What is iPhone jailbreaking?

In the world of tech and communications, ‘jailbreaking’ means to hack your way out of a confined system on a device or network, and access files or functions which were restricted by the managing party, manufacturer or owner. The term has existed in computing circles for many years, but it was only with the invention of the original iPhone that the phrase made its way into everyday vocabulary.

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Jailbreaking is common on Apple devices, which are perceived to be quite restrictive when it comes to software. These Apple devices run on the iOS operating system, and include the iPhone, iPad, iPad and Apple TV. In order to jailbreak an Apple device, the iOS system is circumnavigated and the raw files are accessed and amended. Software is installed to the device which completes the jailbreaking process, and the device can then be personalised to the users liking with a wider range of apps, alternative operating systems and more.

Reasons to jailbreak your iOS device

Can’t find your favorite application in the App Store? While Apple’s service and products have won many fans, they are criticized for being heavy handed when it comes to banning applications. As a result, many perfectly safe and legal apps are simply not available for iPhones. If you want greater access to content, jailbreaking may be for you.

Developers who want to play with the internal iPhone system, develop new apps that are Android and iOS compatible, or share files between Apple and non-Apple devices will certainly want to jailbreak their device. Without doing so, users are restricted by Apple’s permitted settings and allowed content, along with the limitations of iOS itself.

How to jailbreak iOS phone

Jailbreaking will unlock network-specific handsets and allow them to be linked to any network. This is ideal for owners of contract cell phones who wish to switch to a different mobile carrier, but are tied into a long term deal. It is also used by thieves to unblock and unlock phones before resale, and by cyber criminals working with mobile malware.

Reasons not to jailbreak your iPhone

The first obvious reason not to try and jailbreak an iPhone is the instant voiding of your Apple warranty. However, a jailbroken phone can be restored through a reset to factory settings, so all may not be lost if you do need to make a claim on your policy. Another is that jailbroken phones are more vulnerable to hacking. When you strip down the operating system, you also remove the layers of security. Be sure to rebuild those protective layers after the jailbreak.

If you are unfamiliar with technical concepts and worried about the process, unsure about the steps or in any way hesitant, hold off with the idea. Online video tutorials can literally guide you through the process, although they sometimes move quite fast. Some mobile stores will offer the service – usually unofficially, as the laws surrounding jailbreaking are a little unclear – and many self-employed cell phone specialists provide a jailbreaking service. However, the process is actually fairly fast and simple, so check out our step by step guide below.

Mobile security risk of hacking from jailbreaking

How to jailbreak your iPhone

Ready to get started? First, you will need a Windows-compatible laptop or PC with a decent spec and high powered CPU.  Next, choose and download an iOS jailbreaking tool for your PC. Some of the most common ones are RedSnow, Pangu, Evasion, TaiG and SnowBreeze. This tutorial assumes Pangu is being used as this is one of the most popular right now, but the process is the same regardless of the software involved. The tool you choose must be compatible with your iPhone’s iOS and also with your computer’s operating system.

The final preparation stage is to back up all of your iPhone’s data. This includes photos, videos, contact details, account passwords and app information. You can do this manually, saving to your computer or to a memory card. Alternatively, you can upload your files to the iCloud and keep them safe that way. By backing up your data, you ensure that if the worst does happen and the process goes terribly wrong, you still have your important files.

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The jailbreaking process: a step by step guide

1. Close apps which can interfere with the process: e.g. Find My iPhone, Touch ID, Passcode

2. Install the latest version of iTunes to your iPhone, and accept any updates if prompted

3. Open the jailbreak tool file on your laptop or PC and accept prompts to run program

4. Connect your iPhone to the computer with a USB cable

5. Find your device in the jailbreak program or approve the auto-connect request

6. When the jailbreak is complete, let the iPhone automatically reboot

7. Open the iPhone. Cydia should now be the home screen for your device

8. Download new apps, modifications and software for your iPhone from Cydia

Notes:

If you get an error message from the jailbreak software before the process starts, uninstall and reinstall iTunes.

If the jailbreak program halts while activating, open your iPhone’s menu and enable airplane mode. The process should restart. Turn airplane mode off if the same thing happens again.

Resetting a jailbroken iPhone

If you need to undo the jailbreak for any reason, simple open your phone’s menu and head for the settings. Choose the option to reset to factory settings, and the device will be restored to how it first arrived – free from any installations, downloads and content. Back up any files you want to keep before you hit that reset button!

Images used under Creative Commons license, with thanks to the respective publishers

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