Here's Your Ultimate Step-By-Step Guide To Jailbreaking Your iPhone

jailbreaking for dummies

Photo: Illustration: Ellis Hamburger

Thinking about jailbreaking your iPhone?We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to jailbreaking your iPhone 4 (AT&T or Verizon) or iPhone 3GS.

There are plenty of amazing reasons to do so, like call blacklisting, a customisable lock screen (our favourite), quick reply (so you don’t need to open a text to respond to it), and much more.

There are even tons of ways to make apps you already have even better.

If you follow the instructions to a T, you’ll have a jailbroken iPhone in no time. But remember–while jailbreaking is completely legal, it’s not completely risk-free.

If you accidentally brick your phone somehow, Apple could refuse to service it. For the great majority of people, their iPhones get through unscathed, but proceed at your own risk.

And lastly: Apple releases new iPhone updates every few months (and iOS 5 will be released this fall), so check back here for an always up-to-date guide on how to jailbreak your iPhone on the most current version of Apple’s software.

TinyUmbrella is an essential app to backup your SHSH blobs in case you need to undo your jailbreak.

So, what are SHSH blobs, anyway?

When you restore your iPhone from a computer, saved SHSH blobs tell iTunes it's OK to validate an older version of iOS.

Download the installer for Windows or Mac here.

Once the download is complete, run the installer to finish installation.

Once TinyUmbrella is finished, sync your iPhone with iTunes and back up.

Once your iPhone has finished syncing, right click it in the left sidebar and click 'Back Up' to make sure you have the most recent possible back up of your iPhone on file.

Also, make sure you have the most recent version of iTunes.

Next, download the newest version of iOS for your specific device.

Click 'Check For Updates' with your iPhone plugged in to make sure you have the most recent firmware for your iPhone.

If you don't, you'll have to download and install the new firmware, which can take a while depending on your internet connection.

Download Redsn0w, the free tool that jailbreaks your iPhone.

Once your iPhone is up to date and backed up, you'll need to download the simple tool that makes the jailbreaking magic happen: Redsn0w.

Download Redsn0w for Mac (0.9.6rc18)

Download Redsn0w for Windows (0.9.6rc18)

Note: before running Redsn0w on Windows Vista or Windows 7, right click the Redsn0w .exe file and change 'Compatibility' to 'Windows XP: Service Pack 2.'

Run Redsn0w and put your iPhone into recovery mode

When you launch Redsn0w, you'll need to tell it where the most recent iOS firmware is on your computer.

Click 'Browse,' then...

For Mac: navigate to your 'home' directory, then Library, then iTunes, then iPhone Software Updates. Sort the Finder window by Date Modified, then click the firmware that's most recent. The file name should have '4.3.3' somewhere inside it (or 4.2.8 for Verizon).

For Windows Vista and Windows 7: navigate in Windows Explorer to UsersusernameAppDataRoamingApple ComputeriTunesiPhone Software Updates

For Windows XP: navigate in Windows Explorer to Documents and SettingsusernameApplication DataApple ComputeriTunesiPhone Software Updates

If somehow there's nothing inside the 'iPhone Software Updates' folder, it means you'll need to download firmware for your phone manually.

Find them here:

iPhone 4 (AT&T)

iPhone 4 (Verizon)

iPhone 3GS (AT&T)

Wait a minute for Redsn0w to update the IPSW firmware file.

So what's next?

Congratulations--your iPhone is officially jailbroken.

But before you explore and download tons of great tweaks, customisations, apps, you need to download Mobile Terminal, an application that lets you change your device's 'root password.'

Essentially, when you jailbreak your iPhone, a special door is opened up that we need to close again.

If you don't change your device's password, it's a lot easier for snoopers to see what you have stored in your phone from remote locations.

Don't worry--it only takes a minute. Click on to learn how...

Find Cydia on your phone, then tap to launch it.

Once Cydia loads, scroll down to 'Root Password How-To.'

Tap MobileTerminal Package to visit the app's Cydia page. Press 'Install' in the top right, then 'Confirm.' Once it's done loading, press 'Return to Cydia.'

Go back to your home screen, find Mobile Terminal, and launch it.

Click to the next slide for instructions on how to secure your phone using MobileTerminal.

Don't let MobileTerminal intimidate you. Follow these instructions carefully.

1. Once you reach the black terminal screen, type in su root on your keyboard and press return on your keyboard. Type in alpine and press return.

2. Type in cd, then press return. Type passwd, then press return.

3. Type a new password (your typing won't show up on the screen), then press return. Type the new password again, then press return.

4. Type passwd mobile then press return. Type the same password you just typed in, then press return. Type it in again, then press return.

Now that you're jailbroken, you'll need to know how to use Cydia, the jailbreaker's app store.

We touched on Cydia a little bit just now, but you'll need to know more to be able to find stuff to download.

Click here to learn how to use Cydia to get all the apps and tweaks Apple won't let you have >
Click on for 12 must-have Cydia downloads.

Now that you know how to use Cydia....

Check out the 12 coolest jailbreak tweaks you need to download >
Click on for our 11 favourite tweaks that make apps you already have even better.


Redsn0w is a particularly risk-free way to jailbreak your iPhone if you don't change any settings (versus a more complicated application like PwnageTool).

If you're having issues, first try waiting a few minutes. Sometimes your iPhone is rebooting or its screen isn't responsive for a little while. It might come back to life.

Also, performing a 'soft reset' on your iPhone is completely harmless. Hold down the home button and sleep button (on top of your iPhone) until the device resets and you see the Apple logo.

As a last resort, remember when we backed up your iPhone before we did any of this? You can always go back into iTunes (with your device plugged in, of course) and click 'Restore.' This will restore your iPhone to factory settings. Once the iPhone restores, have iTunes restore from backup to make your phone just like it was before.

So now that your iPhone is completely decked out....

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.