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So you just got a shiny new iPhone 3G and are now feeling kind of bummed about all the basic features and functionality that are missing in it (i.e. video capture, mms, a cut and paste feature, different themes, I could keep going). Well you could turn to the app store and download some extra programs, the only problem with that being the major restrictions that apple put on developers and how deep they could go with implementing features. You could keep waiting till Apple finally gets their crap together, and releases these features on their own, or you could go ahead and do what’s called jailbreaking your iPhone.
What the jailbreak procedure basically does is it allows end user write access to the iphone file system, as well as bypasses the Apple-approved cryptographic signature when launching non Apple approved software. Some of these third party software titles can offer way more functionality than any Apple approved program could ever do. These third party apps have the ability to embed themselves in to current iPhone system files, so they are running as part of the phone instead of being an app that is just open on the surface. Shortly after the first gen iphone was released, a group of people a lot smarter than myself got together to form the “iPhone Dev Team”. They were the ones who pioneered the jailbreak process. The only problem was, every new official apple firmware release would disable the jailbreak exploit, so the dev team would have to go and fix what apple did in trying to stop their efforts. So this group never stops working to ensure we always have the latest capabilities available to us. As of this writing it is possible to unlock (use phone with other carries besides AT&T) and jailbreak 1st gen Iphone’s running up to firmware version 2.1. For now you can only jailbreak 3G iPhones, but the dev team has been hard at work trying to come up with an unlock solution as well.
UPDATED: It seems the dev team has successfully soft unlocked the iPhone 3G. A nice user friendly unlock package called yellowsn0w was delivered to consumers new years day 2009. The unlock will work for the newest iPhone 2.2 firmware. For the most recent updates on jailbreak and unlock releases, visit the iPhone Dev Teams site at http://blog.iphone-dev.org
I was going to write a guide as well as explain the benefits of jailbreaking your iPhone, but I came across a site that already did a pretty good job at doing so. If you would like to read further about the benefits of jailbreaking visit this post by BigBoss at sleepers.net http://sleepers.net/news/2008/09/06/why-jailbreak-iphone/ he also has a great guide for beginner iphone modders and a jailbreak how to, which can be found for Mac users here http://sleepers.net/news/guides/pwnage-20-guide/ and for Windows users here http://sleepers.net/news/2008/08/29/winpwn-25-guide-released/ BigBoss at sleepers.net is responsible for creating a number of very useful third party apps that will be available to you once your phone is jailbroken.
The jailbreak software which is called “Pwnage” can be download for Macs right from the iPhone Dev Team’s site which is http://blog.iphone-dev.org/ Window’s users have to us a program called Winpwn, which can we downloaded from http://www.winpwn.com/index.php/Main_Page As of this writing Winpwn does not yet support the 2.1 software update, but will soon enough I’m sure.
There is actually a third option to jailbreaking which I feel is the easier and the quickest of the 3. It’s an offshoot of the Pwnage software and it’s called Quickpwn. Quickpwn basically lets you jailbreak your iphone without having to rebuild your own custom firmware file and then having to restore your phone with it. The latest version of Quickpwn for Mac and Windows are available at the Iphone Dev Team’s website, both support the 2.2 iPhone firmware. A guide to using Quickpwn can be found here http://sleepers.net/news/guides/quick-pwn-guide/ again I recommend this method for beginners.
Once the jailbreak procedure is done you will notice a new icon on your springboard called Cydia. Think of this as the app store but for third party software that only jailbroken iPhones can run. I will be writing other posts to show some of the cool things that I was able to do after jailbreaking, my favorite being converting the iphone user interface in to a mini windows vista replica. Hope this post was helpful, post any questions or comments you may have.
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