Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

New iOS jailbreak stable now but always a risk

2

August

I was up half the night rebuilding my iPhone after attempting a jailbreak with the new iOS www.jailbreakme.com tool. The first attempt ended in disastrous results and my iPhone became very unstable, so I decided to abort and restore my phone. Apparently I wasn't the only one up late last night. With trouble reports pouring in from everywhere, the development team was working through the night and by morning an updated version of the tool was available. I ran it again and as of right now, everything looks good.

jailbreak.PNG  cydia_1.PNG  cydia_2.PNG

You may be wondering why I would want to jailbreak my new iPhone 4. Well, partly so I can test it and tell you what happened and also because there are two apps I need to use that I can't install without a jailbreak. More on those in a minute.

Most people jailbreak because they can install lots of customization apps that Apple won't allow. I guess that makes Apple the jail and Steve Jobs the warden. Others do it so they can use a SIM card from another cell carrier or use a feature, like tethered data for instance, without paying extra.

The two apps I wanted to install are ScreenSplitr and MyWi. ScreenSplitr, in conjunction with iDemo lets me make tutorial videos using the apps on my iPhone and iPad for use in future Gadget Guy posts. MyWi turns my iPhone into a WiFi base station I can share with others and also lets me used tethered data on my MacBook Pro through a USB cable or Bluetooth. Some of the best apps available in the jailbreak world come from Rock Your Phone.

If you decide to jailbreak one of your iOS4 devices MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A RECENT BACKUP FIRST. Syncing with iTunes will backup your settings, contacts, email accounts, etc. and if you lose those it's pretty easy to replace them. Your photos, videos, purchased songs and other unique things are not so easily replaced so back them up.

And here is the big disclaimer: Jailbreaking is risky and can turn your iOS device into a fancy paperweight with lights. Proceed at your own risk. It's not illegal but Apple says it will void your warranty. And yet, I'm still willing to risk it. Well, I'm a Gadget Guy and I like living on the edge, pushing the envelope and (insert cliché here) so it's something I have to do. It's kind of scary and cool at the same time, sort of like sneaking into an R-rated movie when you're only 14.

If you decide to do it, all you have to do is go to www.jailbreakme.com using the Safari browser on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. The installer will load and one swipe of the finger later you will start your great escape. Once finished you'll see a screen saying Cydia is installed. Cydia is the interface used to access and install apps in the unlocked environment. Some of the best apps I've found come from Rock Your Phone. Full instructions on how to perform the jailbreak on all iOS devices can be found at Redmond Pie.

Everything is working great now. I've been online for over two hours using my iPhone as a WiFi base station while running MyWi. And now I can make those cool iPhone and iPad demos again.

To jailbreak or not to jailbreak? That is the question. While you decide I need to get busy trying it on my iPad. I haven't pushed that envelope quite enough today.

[Last modified: Monday, August 2, 2010 12:38pm]

    

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