While there are reportedly millions of jailbroken iPhones (and iPads and iPod touches) out in the wild, there seems to be a common misconception among less technical types that doing so demands the cyber dexterity of an Anonymous hacker. Not so. Not so at all.
Indeed, this is less of a How to guide, and more of a reassurance that jailbreaking your iPhone is easier than setting up a POP email address. For serious. The entire process should take less than 10 minutes, and mostly involves sitting doing nothing at all.
First thing’s first; jailbreaking is nothing like the minefield it used to be. The chances of “bricking” your iPhone (killing it beyond repair, essentially) are infinitesimal.
However, I’m duty bound to include a disclaimer along the lines of “don’t come crying to us if blah blah blah”. Jailbreak at your own risk, duder.
Also, if you’ve updated to iOS 6.1.3 (which was rolled out last week), you can forget jailbreaking (for now). On a similar note, once jailbroken, you’ll need to wait a while for iOS software updates. If that sounds like hell on earth to you, you might want to think twice about jailbreaking.
iOS 6.1.3, in particular, addresses the passcode bypass that gives access to the iPhone's Phone app, but that's about all. Are we bothered? Not so much.
Finally, it's a good idea to pop into iTunes to back up your iPhone before jailbreaking. Heck, you’re connecting your iPhone to your computer via USB anyway, so it’s no biggie.
Done? Right, let’s jailbreak!
Step 1: download evasi0n
Hit up this link to go to the evasi0n site, where you can find the necessary download for Mac OS X, Linux, or – if you’re really weird – something called “Windows”.
Step 2: run evasi0n
Before running evasi0n, it’s necessary to remove your iPhone passcode. To do so, just tap Settings > General > Passcode lock, and follow the steps. Don’t worry if you forget; evasi0n will simply remind you to remove your passcode and restart the process. Easy!
Upon running, evasi0n will upload a bunch of jailbreak files, and it’s perfectly normal for your iPhone to restart.
Step 3: tap the Jailbreak icon
After a few minutes, you’ll see the following message on your computer: “To continue, please unlock your device and tap the new ‘Jailbreak’ icon. Only tap it once! The screen will go black and then return to the home screen.”
Yep, there’s a little delay after you tap the Jailbreak icon, but – as the message says – don’t tap it again. “What happens if you tap it twice?” asked a particularly inquisitive friend. I’m not sure I want to find out.
The process will continue, and ultimately you’ll see: “Jailbreak complete! The device may restart a few times as it completes the process.”
Indeed, the device will restart a couple of times, once followed by “Setting up Cydia” and “Setting up Cydia packages”, and again before “Initializing offsets”.
Step 4: you’re done!
Seriously, that’s your iPhone jailbroken. You’ll find a spanking new Cydia icon on your homescreen; it’s effectively an App Store for jailbreaky stuff, including themes and widgets and all manner of magical stuff Apple doesn’t like. Fancy using Chrome as your default browser? Done. Goodbye Apple Maps; use Google Maps as the default mapping solution? Also done.
I’ll probably follow up with some sort of Top 5 Cydia apps/tweaks type feature. At some point. For now, enjoy your jailbroken iPhone.