GeoHot's iPhone Jailbreak Could Jimmy the iPad Too
Years ago, a 17-year-old named George Hotz made news by being the first person to hack an iPhone. Now he says he's developed a new method of jailbreaking iPhones that doesn't require them to be re-jailbroken each time they reboot -- and he thinks his method just might work on iPads too.
The iPad may be highly hackable when it hits retail shelves April 3.
George Hotz, who at 17 became the first person to hack an iPhone to run on T-Mobile rather than AT&T in the U.S. in 2007, has announced a new jailbreak that he claims will work on the iPod touch, iPhone and the iPad.
Hotz is known by the handle "GeoHot" in the iPhone jailbreaking community. Other hackers are also working on jailbreaking the iPad.
GeoHot's Jailbreak News
In his blog, Hotz said his jailbreak is software-based and is as easy to use as blackra1n, his utility that jailbreaks iPhone OS 3.1.2.
The act of jailbreaking an iPhone allows the device to run software not sold in Apple's App Store. Blackra1n jailbreaks the iPhone operating system by patching its firmware on the fly, meaning it edits the firmware in the device while in recovery mode. It lets users install Cydia, a software application that lets iPhone users browse and download apps for jailbroken iPhones or iPod touches from the Cydia Store.
Cydia was developed by Jay Freeman, also known as "Saurik."
Hotz's new jailbreak is completely untethered, he said, meaning users won't have to jailbreak their iPhone or iPod touch all over again if the devices restart or their batteries run out.
The new technique works on the iPhone 3GS, the iPod touch 2 and 3 and will probably work on the iPad too, he added.
When can users get their hands on Hotz's code? Don't ask, he told them. "You won't make it happen any sooner," he said.
However, Hotz has put up a video on YouTube showing what he claims is a jailbroken untethered iPhone.
Hotz Is Not Alone
Members of the hacking community are poised to grab iPads as soon as they go onsale next month, intent on tinkering with and reprogramming them the way they want. The Chronic Dev Team plans to come out with a version of its Greenpois0n jailbreak for the iPad. It's set up a Web page for donations to help fund the purchase of an iPad to work on.
In November, the iPhone Dev Team was working on re-enabling untethered booting of the jailbroken iPhone 3GS. The 3GS had been modified but could still be jailbroken as long as it was connected, or tethered, to any type of computer, including a Texas Instruments calculator, according to the iPhone Spot blog.
Also, software-only iPhone hacks have been around since last year, one source being iphoneSimFree.
Untethered jailbreaking will be the method of choice for hackers, Nick Dalton, chief technology officer at Pervasent, told MacNewsWorld.
"On some recent iPhone models, Apple made changes to the boot ROM which will undo the jailbreak when you reboot the device," he explained. "So, if you have such a device, you need to connect it to your computer and run the jailbreak software every time you want to reboot it. Obviously, this is a big inconvenience, so for owners of such devices, untethered jailbreaking software is a big help."
Some fans of Hotz have responded to his blog by asking him to hold off releasing his newest jailbreak until after Apple comes up with the next firmware release.
There's good reason for this, Dalton said. "If a jailbreak targets a specific version of firmware that has been made available to developers early, Apple still has a chance to make changes to the firmware before it's released to the public that might block the jailbreak technique," he pointed out.
"Since new firmware is released only a couple of times a year, waiting to release the jailbreak until the firmware is public increases the chances of that jailbreak working for a longer period of time," Dalton explained.