Neoseeker : Tags : apple
Arietta blogged
Jun 9, 09 3:49am

If you are new to the whole iPhone scene, then there's a huge chance that you have heard the word "jailbreak" before. If you are an oldie to the iPhone scene, loyal to AT&T or not, then you have undoubtedly have heard the term "jailbreak" before.

Before I go further with this post, I will explain what Jailbreaking is, for those that heard the word, but have no idea of what it means.

Jailbreak is a very nice word for the iPhone and iTouch (for now on simply called "devices"). That you have your iTouch or iPhone jailbroken means that you have your device open, "free of its jail", to run unsigned code (generally, applications that are not in the Apple AppStore) in your device. Jailbroken devices have a big, beautiful advantages over non-Jailbroken iPhones. One advantage is that applications for Jailbroken devices can mess with their private frameworks - meaning that you can do a lot more your device once it is jailbroken. For tech-savvy people, you can even install a nice command line utility, and you can make apps that are you never going to find in Apple's AppStore, in a centallion of years, thanks to the ability to play with the devices' private frameworks. Another advantage is that, since Apple has a horrible application reviewing system, developers who had their applications rejected from the AppStore can upload them in a repository to use with Cydia, a third-party app that lets you download well, more third party apps. So people can still use your app even if it was rejected from the AppStore - as long as their devices are jailbroken, that is.

Now I am not sure how many people have asked theirselves this questions, but I sure did: Where did the whole jailbreaking thing start? I did some research, and I am ready to tell you this story. It had a obvious beginning, but now an obvious open ending. The story is related to the iPhone, not with the iTouch, but it is thanks to the iPhone that the iTouch can be jailbroken too.

Everything started with the fact that Apple had a contract with AT&T, so AT&T and only AT&T could sell iPhones, under a contract - That explains why the price of the iPhone was low for them. Anyways, a lot of people managed to get iPhones that were not from AT&T (and others who got them from AT&T without a contract somehow), just to find that when they put the SIM of their favorite service provide, the iPhone would refuse to recognize the SIM - Yes, the iPhone was blocked for those that didn't want to use AT&T as their service provider.

So yes, the iPhone was a closed platform from the very beginning. People had ridiculous restrictions on their devices, and a lot of them ended up purchasing expensive paperweights, that would be sitting on a desk doing absolutely nothing.

So a lot of hackers embarked themselves in an interesting adventure: They opened their iPhones, messed with the iPhone's motherboard, and placed pins to it here and there. Many of them succeeded, and many others left their iPhones in a rock status - again, doing nothing. All of this for the sake of making and receiving calls, sending and receiving text messages, and a few other GSM services.

So after months of failed attempts, two companies found a way to run unsigned code on the iPhone, with the sole purpose of unlocking it. We are talking about iPhoneSIMFree, and UniquePhones (I am not providing links. Please understand that those sites may be against Neoseeker's ToS and rules). With that, people were finally able to use other carries in their iPhones.

There was a big problem with this two jailbreaking methods though: They were too complex. They involved the use of complex command line protocols and a myriad of different tools to get the phone jailbroken and working right. This easily scared many hackers away, and the iPhone "open scene" was quite for a quite a while. But it was just beginning.

So after a few days of silence, an interesting team called iPhone Dev Team jumped to the scene and provided tools that even novice, non tech-savvy people, could use to jailbreak their iPhones - and have their iPhones on a different carrier in a matter of minutes!

Not only that, but with the appearance of the iPhone Dev Team, a lot of people could use a third app called AppTap, an application that allowed users to jailbreak their iPhones AND gave them the ability to install third party applications. Jailbreak was not only Phone Unlocking to this process. Jailbreaking was a process that was unleashing the whole power of the iPhone. A power that Apple didn't want users to have for whatever reasons.

Apple was quite with everything that was going on. They were aware, but for the bad luck of us, they didn't stay quite for long.

Apple's answer was very quick, actually. By that time Apple had released iPhone OS 1.1.1. It was a nuclear gun with a patch that would render all jailbroken phones useless - literally. All the iPhones that were jailbroken were now sitting on an empty house, all alone, probably over same paper. Yep, the iPhones were completely useless. But those who were on AT&T were able to have their iPhones fixed, lucky folks.

For the nuclear weapon, it didn't take the Team long to figure out a fix. And here is where the whole "Cat & Mouse" game started.

So the Dev Team got iPhoneSIMFree to help them, and they found TIFF Images that could be exploited and that would grant root access the iPhone itself for developers (non tech-savvy people: The Dev Team found a way to hack the patch back with the help of iPhoneSIMFree). Being the fix released, many users had their phones Jailbroken, and Unlocked. Not to mention that with this very same method to hack the patch back, the Dev Team found a way to revive the dead iPhones.

And currently, the game is still going. Let me remind you all this occured with iPhone OS 1.0, and we are going to have iPhone OS 3.0 very soon this month (the 17th, to be more exact). And the Cat & Mouse game between the Dev Team and Apple continues. Apple patching, the Dev Team unpatching. Both sides are having headches and bloody nights of sleep figuring out their opponent's movements. Not to mention Apple is trying to make Jailbreaking illegal. Though big signatures (or medium sized) are opposing Apple's attempts, like Mozilla and even Skype.

technology iphone itouch apple jailbreak story
Most Used By