Updated: June 5, 2009

First, I only write tutorials for Mac users. I used to make Windows tutorials and I no longer do, so please, don't ask.

I have a lot of content on this site. I made this page to make it as easy as possible for people to quickly find what they need, and let them know why they need it. Consider it a roadmap for everything I have to offer. If you have suggestions about how to make this page better, let me know. I will be adding to it as needed.

These are the topics I will cover in this read me:
  • What is jailbreaking, and why should I do it?
  • How is unlocking different from jailbreaking?
  • Why are there three Step 1 tutorials, and which is the right one for me?
  • Step 2: Okay I've jailbroken, now what?
  • What else does your site offer?
  • Reminders for hacking the iPhone.

What's jailbreaking, and why should I do it?

Jailbreaking is a process where you modify your iPhone so that you can purchase and install programs from any software company you want to. The term jailbreaking refers to the fact that the code running on the iPhone is in a programming jail so that it can't be modified by the end user (you). Without getting too technical, all the programs on the iPhone run inside of a programming sandbox. This sandbox only allows Apple approved software (purchased through the App Store) to be installed.

When you jailbreak, you add the ability to run non-App Store purchased programs. By bringing your own programs to play with in the Apple sandbox, you greatly increase the functionality of the iPhone.

Let me put this to you another way... I own an Apple laptop computer. I want to purchase the Adobe Photoshop program. This is a powerhouse image editing application and isn't in the Mac App Store. Apple allows me to go to Adobe directly and purchase Photoshop from them and then install it on my laptop computer. What's the difference who I purchase my iPhone programs from?

Most new "features" on the iPhone (including the very App Store itself), in stores right now, came from the jailbreak community. Some of these features are: Bluetooth file transfers, custom ringtones, custom wallpaper on the home screen, cut and paste, Notification Center, large format app switcher, toggles for services like Wi-Fi, et cetera. The jailbreaking community has constantly innovated features that users want for the iPhone. Apple continually incorporates these features into upcoming models of the iPhone as a selling point. The jailbreak community has even patched serious flaws in the iPhone when they discovered them to help protect jailbreakers. Apple then includes these patches in their future software releases to protect its customers. iPhone

Jailbreaking an iPhone is legally allowed. The Library of Congress included jailbreaking as an allowed exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) as found in the United States Code of Federal Regulations, Title 37 Part 201.40, in 2010. You can read their ruling here. Paragraph 2 specifically applies to this. Note that jailbreaking was never illegal. This decision only gives end users legal grounds to jailbreak, not that they need protection from something.

Jailbreaking is generally safe for your iPhone and cell phone network. Thousands of beneficial applications exist in Cydia. These apps are only available via jailbreaking. The app approval process at Apple doesn't always make sense, and just because an app made it through the Apple approval process doesn't necessarily mean that app is safe either. Apple likes to claim they're protecting the iPhone's security, and that of their cell phone network partners' security. I haven't heard of a single issue where a cell phone network was compromised because of jailbreaking or unlocking, and jailbreakers have been doing this since 2007!

Jailbreaking is a generally risk-free process that will not void your warranty, provided you can restore your iPhone with iTunes. After restoration the jailbreak is removed. Jailbreaking is a transparent process. Everything that Apple provided on your iPhone should continue to work normally once you have jailbroken. Please don't let naysayers limit what you do with your phone in the name of privacy and security as the App Store has failed numerous times in these arenas.

How's unlocking different from jailbreaking?

While jailbreaking lets you use any programs you want to on your iPhone, unlocking is an additional process performed on an already jailbroken iPhone. Unlocking is removing the restriction put in place by Apple that limits the iPhone to operating on a particular cellular network. You can always roam, but at greatly increased rates of service. When you unlock an AT&T or a T-Mobile iPhone, it allows it to operate on any network in the world that uses the GSM standard (the most widely adopted cellular phone standard on the planet). You simply remove one SIM card and insert the SIM card of the network you want to use and the iPhone will connect to that network.

Unlocking (from a CDMA perspective) doesn't apply to the Sprint or Verizon networks. These providers must provision your iPhone to work on their network. You can't just run an unlocking program to gain access to their network at will, like you can with GSM networks. iPhones that use GSM technology only can't be made to operate with CDMA network providers.

The Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) no longer protects the ability to unlock a cell phone purchased locked from a carrier beginning in January of 2013. Because of this, new unlocking tutorials will no longer be provided on this site beginning with the iPhone 5. Unlocking iPhones purchased prior to 2013 is still allowed and those tutorials are still available.

Keep in mind AT&T (and presumably T-Mobile) will unlock the iPhone. Sprint and Verizon models come with the GSM SIM slot unlocked and you can purchase a factory unlocked iPhone direct from Apple. So you have plenty of options. You'll also have a warranty protecting that unlocked iPhone. Since Apple has made it so easy to purchase a new, unlocked iPhone with a warranty, I'd recommend this method of obtaining one.

There are two types of cell phone service providers in the United States: those that use GSM technology (AT&T, T-Mobile, H2O, Net10, Simple Mobile) and those that use CDMA technology (Verizon, Sprint, Cricket, Boost). There are probably other smaller regional carriers as well. They are also divided into these cateogries.


What jailbreaking has to offer.

While Apple's App Store is fantastic, it won't provide you with many amazing programs that you can install once you are jailbroken. In fact, there are many programs you will never see on the App Store because of Apple's strict and often capricious rules for approval. Cydia (an alternative to the App Store) is the program that is automatically installed when jailbreaking and the vast majority of the content it offers is free!

The iPhone hacking community is well established and has been around since the days the first iPhone went on sale in the summer of 2007. With the creation of Installer, and then later Cydia, the community created the foundation for the distribution of third party applications. Apple saw this and witnessed the success of this distribution model. They were a driving force behind the creation of the App Store (so much for web apps huh?). Apple was then able to monetize the distribution of third party software on the iPhone.

So what're some of these programs?

How good are these free programs? Here's one called Cycorder, which records video and audio. Once recorded, it saves your movies in a list, and they are immediately playable. Yes, you can download them off the iPhone and share them. Click on the QuickTime image below to see a sample movie made with Cycorder running on the iPhone.

There are free games written specifically for jailbroken iPhones like MacMan. This is only available via Cydia.


There are even game emulators like the Nintendo Entertainment System, the GameBoy Advanced, Genesis4iPhone, MAME4iPhone, and psx4iPhone (Play Station), which will allow you to play your personally owned video games on your iPhone. These emulators are only available through Cydia.


WinterBoard can "theme" the look of your iPhone with just a couple pushes of a button. Take your stock iPhone from this, to this, to this.

iPhone       iPhone       iPhone

You can even change the keyboard (MacBook Air Keyboard), the font used in Notes, and how the Notes application itself looks! You can also theme your phone's dialing keypad (Retro Phone dialer). And, you might as well change your system fonts, while you are in there, too. Once again, you must be jailbroken to do this. Apple will not allow themes in the App Store.

iPhone       iPhone       iPhone

Apple has recently banned applications previously approved in the App Store that enable "Emoji". These are emoticons that were added for Japanese iPhone users only. For whatever reason, Apple does not want anyone else to be able to use them, even though they are already installed in your iPhone's firmware. Simply install the Emoji application from Cydia, and follow the instructions, and you can use them in your Notes application, and Text messaging.


There is a program called SBSettings, which adds a convenient control panel to the iPhone. It is a one stop shop for turning on and off various services on your phone like: 3G, Edge, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, SSH, Airplane mode. It can even adjust your brightness. It also has a control panel for hiding the various program icons installed. There are also extras like enabling a numeric version of the battery, and automatic disabling of Apple's application kill switch. This is only available if you are jailbroken.


One of my favorite programs is iBlacklist. It allows you to selectively block incoming calls from phone numbers that you don't want bothering you. This is great for blocking telemarketers. You can also blacklist SMS spammers as well. This is not in the App Store, but it is on Cydia.


Cut and paste! Clippy (Beta), allows for cutting and pasting text between application. Here, I typed into the Notes application, then highlighted all the text, press the copy button, then open Safari, and press the paste button after clearing out the address bar. Apple still has not enabled this function!

iPhone       iPhone

You can now run applications in the background! There are severe limitations imposed on AppStore apps. One of these is "no background processes". This means that if you have an application, such as an instant messenger, every time you press home to go to another program, the application is closed. You are disconnected. You get no messages, no notification, nothing.

Backgrounder is an attempt to fix this. Backgrounder allows you to select an application that you want to allow to run in the background. Then when you press home, that application will keep running. This is perfect for an IRC application or other similar program that you do not want to get disconnected everytime you tap the home key. This adds critical functionality that you cannot get unless you jailbreak!

All you do is launch the application you want to keep running, in this case I'm running Pandora. Press the Home button until you get the message that the program is now running in the background. Press and hold Home again to cancel it. Backgrounder is available on Cydia.


You can use VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) on the 3G network! There is an application on Cydia called VoIPover3G which allows you to not only use a VoIP program like Fring to talk for free anywhere you have a 3G connection, but will allow for the installation of App Store applications larger than 10 megabytes in size, without having to use your Mac to download it.

Note: If your provider forbids VoIP and catches you using this on their network, and charges you extra for this or blocks your service, I am not responsible!

iPhone       iPhone

You can also use Skype over the 3G network. You must also have VOIPover3G installed for this to work.


SlingBox on the iPhone has been long awaited. In its current form it will not work over 3G. This is not a problem for jailbreakers. Simply install Tricker ThreeG from Cydia, and now you can watch your favorite shows when on the go.

iPhone       iPhone

Turn by turn GPS navigation. xGPS is the first program for the iPhone to offer turn by turn directions. It works in conjunction with Google Maps. This program is only available on Cydia. Check out this demonstration video from the program creator.

Ustream has a client for the iPhone. You can live broadcast video and audio from your iPhone and others can watch you online. When you login to the Ustream website you can see your previous broadcasts. This is available only for jailbroken iPhones, and it's all free! This application is available on Cydia, but you can read more about Ustream at their website here.

iPhone       iPhone


Cydia also allows for developers to sell their programs, if they wish. This should be a welcome alternative to those developers who are rejected by the App Store, to still reach their target audience. Programs for sale stand out from free programs as they have a purchase button on their information page.

iPhone       iPhone

The iPhone hacking community is well established, and has been around since the day the first iPhone went on sale in the summer of 2007. With the creation of Installer, and Cydia, the community created the foundation for the distribution of third party applications. Apple saw this, and witnessed the success of these two distribution models. I'm sure they were a driving force behind the creation of the App Store, so Apple could make money from distributing third party software on the iPhone. Installer and Cydia offer the majority of their programs for free.


Here are the interfaces for Installer, Cydia and the App Store. Pretty similar looking huh? They function essentially the same too.


Jailbreaking is very safe, and completely automated. All it takes is a program like PwnageTool or QuickPwn, a USB cable, and a couple clicks of the mouse, and your iPhone will be modified to have access to a whole new world of content. Once you jailbreak, the sky is the limit.


Why are there three Step 1 tutorials, and which is the right one for me?

My Step 1 tutorials all revolve around two key programs for Mac users: PwnageTool, and QuickPwn. Here is a brief summary of their differences first:
  • Is a more in-depth program offering a simple mode and an expert mode for greater control over custom firmware creation.
  • Used for unlocking or maintaining the unlock and activation for first generation iPhones and 3G iPhones. One of the ways it does this is it allows for a firmware update, while keeping the baseband from a previous version of firmware. This is currently essential to the 3G unlock. The first generation iPhone no longer receives baseband updates from Apple.
  • Creates a custom ipsw file that you can use to restore with (wipes out your current settings and personalization of the phone) again and again.
  • Allows you to decide whether or not you want to install Cydia and the Installer.
  • Uploads custom images for the boot logo and restore logo in expert mode. Simple mode installs custom default images automatically. You can also upload your own images.
  • Allows custom root partition sizing.

  • Is a more basic program offering only one mode for custom firmware creation.
  • Only used after updating/restoring the iPhone, which means your firmware and baseband will be updated at the same time.
  • Does not unlock the iPhone! In fact, it prevents the unlocking of the 3G iPhone.
  • Does not create a custom ipsw file that you can use to restore with again and again. However, it does not wipe out your personal settings once they have been configured. Automatically installs Cydia, and the Installer.
  • Provides the choice of using default custom graphics for the boot logo and restore logo.
  • Does not allow for custom root partition sizing.

One last thing before I cover the Step 1 tutorials. You need to know what firmware versions are currently on your iPhone.
I recommend reading this next, if you need help determining this.

The first tutorial - Step 1 : unlocking the 1st generation iPhone - 2.2.1 firmware uses the PwnageTool program. It uses Expert mode, there will be no Simple mode tutorial. Read it here.

These tutorials are only for the 1st generation, or 2G iPhones. Using these tutorial will allow you to jailbreak, activate (if you are not using an official AT&T contract), and unlock your iPhone to work with any GSM carrier's SIM card. It will also allow you to decide whether to install the Cydia and Installer third party distribution programs. It also provides the ability to upload custom graphics for the boot and restore logos.

Note: There are additional tutorials in this section for other 2.x firmwares. I always recommend using the most recent firmware to take advantage of the latest developments in iPhone technology. This method will require you to restore your iPhone to jailbreak it. You would then sync to restore your personal backup (contacts, and other personal information) to the iPhone, once jailbroken.

The second tutorial - Step 1: Unlocking the 3G iPhone - 2.2.1 firmware, uses the PwnageTool program in conjunction with the yellowsn0w program to unlock the iPhone 3G. Read about it here. This tutorial will be updated if yellowsn0w is updated. This program is in beta release.

Note: There are additional tutorials in this section for other 2.x firmwares. I always recommend using the most recent firmware to take advantage of the latest developments in iPhone technology. This method will require you to restore your iPhone to jailbreak it and unlock it. You would then sync to restore your personal backup (contacts, and other personal information) to the iPhone, once jailbroken.

The third tutorial - Step 1: jailbreaking the iPhone - 2.2.1 firmware, uses the QuickPwn program and has both a 1st generation iPhone tutorial, and a 3G iPhone tutorial. They are intended to be used only by those who do not need to unlock, and want a hassle-free jailbreak solution. It will only activate and jailbreak your 1st generation or 3G iPhone, and add Cydia and the Installer third party distribution programs. It also provides the option of having an alternate boot and restore logo.

Note: there are additional tutorials in this section for other 2.x firmwares. I always recommend using the most recent firmware to take advantage of the latest developments in iPhone technology. This method gives you the option of updating, or restoring. If you update, there are no changes to your personal settings on the iPhone. If you restore, then you will need to sync to restore your personal backup (contacts, and other personal information) to the iPhone, once jailbroken.

The PwnageTool, QuickPwn, and yellowsn0w programs are distributed for FREE by the iPhone Dev Team. I either link (from within my tutorials) to the official download location for these programs, or host them myself. Do not pay for these programs! I know there are shady businesses out there that sell them!

Step 2: Okay I've jailbroken, now what?

This tutorial is to be read after you have jailbroken your iPhone. It gives instruction in the use of Cydia, how to maintain it, and how to install applications with it. It also provides a list of recommended applications (within the context of using this site). Used in conunction with this page you are reading now, I'm hoping this ties up all the loose ends in the iPhone hacking scene.

What else does your site offer?

The bulk of my tutorials are in the "Hacking" menu tab, and their titles should be self-explanatory. Some things you might want to try next are: These are just some of the numerous tutorials I have on iPhone hacking.

I also have synergy with a popular iPhone news, product review, and forum website called iPhone Alley.   Links to their hacking forums are in my "Forums" tab.

My "Miscellaneous" menu holds all my other iPhone odds and ends like a ringtones creation guides, how to rip your personally owned DVDs and copy them to the iPhone. I also have a tips and troubleshooting page that I welcome user submissions for. There is a directory for the locations of various graphics on the iPhone (which are popular ones to switch with custom graphics), GSM codes that trigger certain hidden functions, iPhone technical speficiations, hacking terminology, a page with popular iPhone website links, and how to securely erase the iPhone - among other things. So take a look around and explore. You'd be amazed at what you will find here.


There are some things you should know before you perform anything on this site. There is obviously some risk involved here, but the majority of people have been able to restore their iPhones back to normal, should they get into trouble, by using iTunes.
  • You potentially risk voiding your warranty. Something would have to go disastrously wrong though.
  • Any modifications you perform on your iPhone, including bypassing activation and unlocking, could be reset if you should install a firmware update provided by Apple. It is usually just a matter of re-doing everything you previously did to get your iPhone back the way you had it. Sometimes this process becomes more protracted as the firmware updates work harder to resist our hacking attempts.
  • Read the instructions in their entirety. If you can't follow directions, you may damage your iPhone requiring a replacement that will most likely be paid for by you. Apple does not provide warranties to any iPhone not under a service contract through their official cell phone providers (AT&T, O2, et cetera).
  • I am not responsible for your results if they are less than what you expected. You assume all risks. I recommend seeking help in iPhone hacking forums or in the various IRC channels. Check my links page to find them.
  • If you have not activated your iPhone via one of the official cell phone providers (AT&T, O2, et cetera), then you will lack the ability to use visual voicemail.
  • Just because I was able to get something to work on my iPhone successfully is no guarantee you will be successful. Individual iPhones seem to have their own personalities. They do not all behave the same way every time.

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