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My Experience With Jailbreaking So Far

Posted on 1st Feb 2010 at 13:23 by Mark Mackay with 24 comments

Mark Mackay
A few weeks ago a friend and fellow hardware enthusiast rocked up at my flat with his new iPhone 3GS. He'd jailbroken it and was naturally keen to show off his new toy. Like most of the iPhone owners I know, I was smitten with my iPhone as it was and had absolutely no desire to fiddle with it. That's what I thought until I saw what he'd done with his…

The first and most noticeable difference was the custom theme. A textured grey background permeated the backdrop and app icons, making the pages of apps look amazing. There are hundreds, if not thousands themes available. You can create your own images for everything to the backdrop, to keyboard to battery display and then transfer the files to your iPhone.

File transferring files via iTunes is limited. Organising photos is a particular frustration. File transferring a Jailbroken iPhone using WinSCP - or a similar SSH program - brings total freedom and fresh air by the lungful. You can transfer or modify pretty much any file on the iPhone to and from any desktop computer with the free software installed. For example, you can put your music collection on your work PC, change what apps are called, add custom ringtones or load up ROM files for retro gaming console emulators.

My Experience With Jailbreaking So Far
Left - My iPhone homepage with BlackMac theme applied and a few custom icons. Right - Final Fantasy VII on the iPhone. You can also play in landscape with the buttons overlaid transparently.

You can download emulators for the Gameboy, NES, SNES and Playstation amongst others. The Playstation emulator was my first port of call, as running Final Fantasy VII on my mobile phone was a prospect just about exciting enough to make me wet my pants. I made an .ISO file from my old Playstation disk, transferred it over and was in business. To get a playable frame rate, it's necessary to turn off the audio, but with some tweaking it is, apparently, possible to have things running smooth with the audio on. Investigations are underway. There are ways to increase your virtual memory and even overclock the CPU. The idea of overclocking a £500 gadget without the aid of a heatsink or waterblock is a little unnerving - hence the research.

There are a number of useful tools that have been made for jailbroken iPhones. SBSettings is one of my favourites and a good example of what’s available. It adds a feature whereby you swipe the top of your iPhone screen and a drop-down menu appears with various useful widgets. For example you can turn on or off, WiFi, 3G, and pretty much any other toggle without messing around in settings. You can even cancel processes running in the background to free up memory, great for running games. You can also use the tool to get rid of unwanted standard app icons such as Stock Market or the Contacts icon.

My Experience With Jailbreaking So Far
SBSettings is one of many useful tools available for free download on a jailbroken iPhone

Of course, by now you're probably wondering if jailbreaking is legal. Well, that's a contentious matter. There isn't much up-to-date info on the situation around the interwebs. Apple claimed in US court filings last year that it's not legal, but it leaned on America's controversial DMCA law for much of its argument. In the UK, there's no DMCA style law forbidding the breaking of copy-protection schemes, so really what you're talking about is installing freely, legally distributed software on a piece of hardware you own. That's modding and tinkering, and something we're in favour of here at bit-tech.

The US-based Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) addressed Apple's claims around jailbreaking, saying:

"Apple's copyright infringement claim starts with the observation that jailbroken iPhones depend on modified versions of Apple's bootloader and operating system software. True enough... But the courts have long recognized that copying software while reverse engineering is a fair use when done for purposes of fostering interoperability with independently created software, a body of law that Apple conveniently fails to mention.

One need only transpose Apple's arguments to the world of automobiles to recognize their absurdity. Sure, GM might tell us that, for our own safety, all servicing should be done by an authorized GM dealer using only genuine GM parts. Toyota might say that swapping your engine could reduce the reliability of your car... But we'd never accept this corporate paternalism as a justification for welding every car hood shut and imposing legal liability on car buffs tinkering in their garages. After all, the culture of tinkering (or hacking, if you prefer) is an important part of our innovation economy.

Of course, many iPhone owners will be happy to choose solely from the applications that Apple is willing to approve, just like many Ford owners are happy relying exclusively on their local Ford dealer. But if you want to pop the hood, the DMCA surely shouldn't stand in your way.
"

Using a jailbroken phone to access copyrighted material - i.e. pirate software - is, of course, against the law, and not something we condone.

My Experience With Jailbreaking So Far
Drag and drop file transfer to the iPhone via WinSCP. Happy days.

If you want to have a go at Jailbreaking, it all starts with Blackra1n. Using the program in a cinch and the interwebs is awash with guides. I selected the option to install Cydia which is your port of call for access to the many awesome apps such as PSX4iPhone. Just make sure that if ever iTunes gives you the option to send information to Apple about what’s on your iPhone hard disk - such as the Apps Genius feature - choose No. I'll be writing another blog when I have everything set up and running smoothly on my iPhone and hopefully have it overclocked. It's been a lot of fun so far, I've added a lot of useful features to my beloved device and there's still so much more to learn.

24 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
bodkin 1st February 2010, 13:56 Quote
One major problem I have noticed on both my 3G and 3GS is that jailborken phones are far less stable and much more prone to the broken keyboard problem
yakyb 1st February 2010, 14:28 Quote
very interesting the Bit have put this on their home page what are the moral / legal issues around jailbreaking as i bought an android specifically because it was a more open platform
Xir 1st February 2010, 15:04 Quote
Quote:
Just make sure that if ever iTunes gives you the option to send information to Apple about what’s on your iPhone hard disk - such as the Apps Genius feature - choose No.
...are you sure it ALWAYS asks you before sending?

(just my Windows-paranoia talking here)

Xir
Cutter McJ1b 1st February 2010, 15:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xir
Quote:
Just make sure that if ever iTunes gives you the option to send information to Apple about what’s on your iPhone hard disk - such as the Apps Genius feature - choose No.
...are you sure it ALWAYS asks you before sending?

(just my Windows-paranoia talking here)

Xir

I jailbroke my new iPhone 3GS. It was the first time I'd plugged it in to my new PC. I got asked about Apps genius once, said no. I also turned off autosync. No problems at all so far.
Cutter McJ1b 1st February 2010, 15:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by bodkin
One major problem I have noticed on both my 3G and 3GS is that jailborken phones are far less stable and much more prone to the broken keyboard problem

Can't say I've had any issues with my keyboard...
Combatus 1st February 2010, 15:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakyb
very interesting the Bit have put this on their home page what are the moral / legal issues around jailbreaking as i bought an android specifically because it was a more open platform

Err read paragraphs 7, 8, 9 and 10
Anfield 1st February 2010, 16:07 Quote
So you have to "hack" a Iphone in order to be able to transfer files with drag and drop? lulz...
wuyanxu 1st February 2010, 16:51 Quote
SBsetttings: i can't imagine ANYONE without it!

i won't recommend blackrain. it is jailbreak by fiddling with files through USB, with chances of messing up. use PwnageTool to create your own firmware, then use Apple's iTunes to write to the iPhone, nothing can go wrong :)
yakyb 1st February 2010, 17:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Combatus
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakyb
very interesting the Bit have put this on their home page what are the moral / legal issues around jailbreaking as i bought an android specifically because it was a more open platform

Err read paragraphs 7, 8, 9 and 10

how the **** did i miss that
Sifter3000 1st February 2010, 18:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakyb
Quote:
Originally Posted by Combatus
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakyb
very interesting the Bit have put this on their home page what are the moral / legal issues around jailbreaking as i bought an android specifically because it was a more open platform

Err read paragraphs 7, 8, 9 and 10

how the **** did i miss that

Don't worry, it is a Monday ;)
DeMoB 1st February 2010, 20:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyanxu
i won't recommend blackrain. it is a tethered jailbreak with chances of messing up. use PwnageTool to create your own firmware, then use Apple's iTunes to write to the iPhone, nothing can go wrong :)
That's not really true now is it.

If you're stuck with a tethered jailbreak with blackra1n, you'll still be stuck with a tethered jailbreak with pwnage tool too. It's not down to the program you use to jailbreak, but rather if you've got an iphone with the new bootrom hardware. Which I think that was any made after oct 09.

As for anyone using the SBSettings with the default theme, do yourself a favour and grab the "Apple Congruency Black" theme for it. Looks as swish as the rest of the OS then. :D

Dan
wuyanxu 1st February 2010, 21:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeMoB
That's not really true now is it.

If you're stuck with a tethered jailbreak with blackra1n, you'll still be stuck with a tethered jailbreak with pwnage tool too. It's not down to the program you use to jailbreak, but rather if you've got an iphone with the new bootrom hardware. Which I think that was any made after oct 09.

As for anyone using the SBSettings with the default theme, do yourself a favour and grab the "Apple Congruency Black" theme for it. Looks as swish as the rest of the OS then. :D

Dan
sorry, i didn't mean tethered jailbreak, i mean messing with files through USB connection (hence confusion with the word "tether") creating an IPSW file and flashing the phone is as clean jailbreak as you can get.
phuzz 2nd February 2010, 09:43 Quote
I jailbroke my work iPhone as soon as I got it (and uninstalled itunes as soon as it was activated).
Still glad I don't have to use one as my daily phone though, without Cydia/Jailbreaking then it would be almost un-customisable.
kenco_uk 2nd February 2010, 11:39 Quote
I'm biting! I just need to know a few things...

I'm on o2 with the 3.1.2 phone firmware and 05.11 modem firmware. I don't want to unlock the carrier.

Can I just use redsn0w 0.9.2?

It says it requires a tethered reboot.. is that whenever the phone runs out of juice and reboots when it's got enough charge again? So I'd have to have it connected to a computer rather than the mains-usb adapter? And is that any computer or the one I ran redsn0w on?

Can I still use itunes as normal? I.e. podcasts, purchases, apps?

How do I uninstall it?

What happens if I upgrade to Apple's 3.1.3 firmware? Anything I need to do/make sure of beforehand?
Cutter McJ1b 2nd February 2010, 13:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenco_uk
I'm biting! I just need to know a few things...

I'm on o2 with the 3.1.2 phone firmware and 05.11 modem firmware. I don't want to unlock the carrier.

Can I just use redsn0w 0.9.2?

It says it requires a tethered reboot.. is that whenever the phone runs out of juice and reboots when it's got enough charge again? So I'd have to have it connected to a computer rather than the mains-usb adapter? And is that any computer or the one I ran redsn0w on?

Can I still use itunes as normal? I.e. podcasts, purchases, apps?

How do I uninstall it?

What happens if I upgrade to Apple's 3.1.3 firmware? Anything I need to do/make sure of beforehand?

Sadly, I'm unsure about a lot of this stuff as jailbreaking is still very new to me and I don't want to misinform. Perhaps someone else can help?

When I did it, I just plugged in my new iPhone and got stuck in.
wuyanxu 2nd February 2010, 13:50 Quote
if you upgrade to new firmware, you'll loose jailbreak, so wait until the dev-team have gotten a jailbreak before upgrading.

not sure about redsnow, i always use Pwnaget Tool which creates a custom firmware and there is no need to do a tethered reboot. best source and most reliable source for everything about jailbreaking: http://blog.iphone-dev.org/ (personally don't trust any other method of jailbreaking, that includes ZiPhone, blackra1n, redsnow.
kenco_uk 2nd February 2010, 15:21 Quote
I'm under the impression that pwnagetool is specifically for mac and that the same team that developed it are those that have released the windows version called redsn0w. Looking at the tut for installing redsn0w, it has (c) iphone dev team on the installer.

I can only find two 'Windows options' on iclarified - either redsn0w or BlackRa1n Link. BlackRa1n looks easier but there could be an issue with wifi suddenly not working (although for some people multiple resets or subjecting the rear of the iphone to freezing temperatures fixes it! - gps and youtube are fixable thru' Push It app) from what I read.

edit - wtf, each of the custom ipsw files I try to d/l are iphone1,2_3.1.2_7D11_Restore.zip - extracting the zip gives me 3 .dmg files and all bloody sorts.

ninja edit - ahh, I rename the file from .zip to .ipsw - correct? It's come up with the proper icon, at least!
wuyanxu 2nd February 2010, 20:32 Quote
be careful, from the file name, it is for iPhone 3G, not 3GS.

pwnage tool is reliable because it fiddles with the file system on your computer, and then the pre-jailbroken, custom made firmware is flashed to the phone through relatively more reliable itunes.
|V| 4 L k i 3 R 3rd February 2010, 04:35 Quote
I've done it with Pwnage tool on my 3GS and with BlackRa1n on a 3G in order to get them on different carries while abroad. Both phones still work/sync flawlessly with iTunes.
Politesowter 3rd February 2010, 13:02 Quote
I've Jailbroken my phone both ways (redsn0w & Blackrain (blackra1n for the latest OS ) on the old 3.0.1 os and the latest 3.1.2 os on the 3GS and had zero problems.

The Blackra1n way is much simpler and as for issue with Wifi not working.. I've had non. Cleanst JB by a long shot.. wouldn't even consider going back now.
kenco_uk 3rd February 2010, 13:25 Quote
Any other recommendations for themes/apps?
Politesowter 3rd February 2010, 13:38 Quote
Recommendation for a great out of the way clear theme is Glasklart.

Has over 4000 icons to current, very active forum at :- http://macthemes.net/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=361762

They take requests for icons to be made, plus if your a bit of a Photoshop whizz there is all the info and templates required to make your own.

Fairly straight forward process theres a guide on youtube aswell

for complete themes illumine and I complete are some good ones.
Chocobollz 9th February 2010, 09:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anfield
So you have to "hack" a Iphone in order to be able to transfer files with drag and drop? lulz...

Err.. basically... yes! lulz
kenco_uk 9th February 2010, 13:37 Quote
SBSettings is great - all those settings at the swish of a thumb. Changed the carrier to a logo :) Battery also shows %age now.
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