Jailbreaking an iPhone

Cydia on a Jailbroken iPhone 5S


What is Jailbreaking? If you have ever owned an iPhone, someone has likely tried to convince you to Jailbreak it. Jailbreaking is a marvelous feat that defies the law of corporate control over the individual. However, Jailbreaking is not for everyone and you should be aware of the problems that can occur. Let’s start by getting to know what Jailbreaking is, as well as what it actually does for you, as the consumer.

Jailbreaking is a software modification specifically developed for the iOS operating system (iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple TV)

When you purchase a device such as an iPhone, iPad, etc., Apple gives the device a set of rules. This leaves you, as the consumer, with limited functionality. Jailbreaking removes these limitations, giving the user full root access to the device operating system. A simple example can be explained by looking at the App Icons on your Springboard (Homescreen). Though Apple has always had App Icons that are aesthetically pleasing, you would think that as the owner of the phone, one could choose a different set of icons to change things around. Out of the box, this is not possible. This type of modification (as well as many others) was the fuel to create the concept of Jailbreaking.


A seventeen-year-old by the name of George Hotz

George Hotz iPhone unlock

George Hotz is considered to be the pioneer of Jailbreaking the iPhone.

The idea of changing the rules on the iPhone, was conceived shortly after the release of the first iPhone in 2007 (originally only available on the AT&T Network). A seventeen-year-old by the name of George Hotz, or more commonly known by the name “geohot”, decided that he no longer wanted to use his iPhone on the AT&T network. He wanted to connect it to T-Mobile. Using some basic tools, he was able to scramble the baseband processor, which is the hardware that locks, as well as connects the phone to a specific network. He then connected his iPhone to the T-Mobile network . Though this was not a “Jailbreak” as it is known today, this showed the world that the iPhone could be altered. Shortly after this, George Hotz publicly released the “limera1n” Jailbreak bootrom software exploit for iOS.

Jailbreak boot logo

Boot screen from 2007 Jailbreak


With this specific find, the iPhone had officially changed forever. In turn, many highly respected developers followed suit to expand the concept of Jailbreaking. In October 2007, the first consumer based jailbreak was released. The Jailbreak was easy to implement and gave users full root permission and the ability to modify the system. The Jailbreak installed an app called installer.app in which users could could install applications that were not available on the App Store.

In 2009, Apple released a new iOS that removed the ability to use installer.app. This is where a new App Cydia, came into popularity.

Icon for Cydia App

Cydia Icon

Cydia was developed by Jay “Saurik” Freeman and was released in 2008. Cydia is commonly installed during the Jailbreak process and provides a user-friendly way to download and install applications and modifications that are not allowed on Apples’ App Store. Cydia is a gateway for app/theme developers to showcase their work to the Jailbreak community.

The constant battle between Apple and the Jailbreak Community.

Of course, as assumed, Apple is not thrilled with the idea of Jailbreaking. Over the years the battle has been predictable. Apple will release a new iOS version that will make the current Jailbreak exploit obsolete. The Jailbreak community will then kick out a new Jailbreak based on a newly found security exploit. Sometimes in a matter of days, sometimes in months. This usually is not a problem as you can usually avoid updating your device to retain your Jailbreak.

I will provide a link below regarding current Jailbreak techniques. However, for your security, I insist you read this article from Apple.

Redmond Pie – Team Pangu iOS 8 – 8.1 untethered Jailbreak.

Chris Rae

As most who grew up in the prime of digital technology, I'm an avid fan of technological trends. In the pursuit of my hobbies, I have been fortunate to open a mobile device repair facility in Grants Pass, Oregon. Over the years I have gained first hand experience from nearly every aspect of the mobile device community. As well, I pride myself on staying current with advancing technological trends. I have recently started writing informational articles on my website with the intent to help people from my experiences.