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First, I only write tutorials for Mac users. Second, I have a lot of content on this site so I made this page as an introduction to the iPhone hacking scene. Consider it a roadmap for everything I have to offer.

These are the topics I will cover:
  • What is jailbreaking, and why should I do it?
  • How is unlocking different from jailbreaking?
  • What jailbreaking has to offer.
  • Why are there seven 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?
  • Alternate hacking programs.
  • 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?

iPhone So what are some of these programs? BTstack Keyboard allows anyone with an iPhone to use a Bluetooth keyboard to type with. This program is for sale in the Cydia store. You can go to the programmer's site here, to learn more.

Would you like to have the ability to opt out of data mining services which have their code embedded in some App Store applications? The reasons for this data mining seem harmless enough, developers just want to track how users use their program. If you would like the option to not be tracked, you can install a program called PrivaCy. This program was made by the creator of Cydia and in conjunction with the data tracking service companies in question. Once installed, you are presented with a control panel for opting out of each individual service.

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Going hand in hand with blocking data miners is the iPhone's first firewall. Called Firewall iP, this program allows you to select which applications can phone home about you. You can decide which connections (TCP and UDP) to allow or block. You can also fine tune the rules for a given application

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iPhone       iPhone

If you own a first generation iPhone you can now run another operating system on it! Android has recently been ported to the iPhone. Many developers are hard at work improving the Android experience for the iPhone including adapting it to the 3G and 3G S and to the iPod Touch as well. iPhone

Apple doesn't allow applications that duplicate the functionality of core services in the iPhone. Because of this GV Mobile was pulled from the App Store. It integrated with the free Google Voice service. Apparently either Apple or AT&T didn't like the access to free domestic calling, free SMS, and lower rates for international calls. One of these banned applications that took advantage of Google Voice was GV Mobile. It was a paid application on the App Store. When the creator of the program found out he was kicked out of the App Store, he brought his program to Cydia, and offered it for free!

Some of GV Mobile's features include:
  • Integration with Google Voice.
  • Take calls from different phones other than your iPhone.
  • Enable or disable the phones that Google Voice forwards your calls to.
  • Add or delete phones that Google Voice forwards call to.
  • Playback and delete voicemails.
  • Dial numbers via the iPhone address book or typing on the keypad.
  • Full SMS support (view historic, reply, send new).
  • Retrieve and delete recent call history.
Here's what GV Mobile looks like.

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Getting back to Google Voice for a moment... This is not VoIP. You must have a phone plan to use this. It's only available to residents of the United States. This service is invite only, but it only took a few days for my request to be approved.

Here is what Google voice offers:
  • A personal phone number that can ring all of your existing phones at once when people call. You can also select which phone numbers of yours will ring. You can even have individual outgoing messages depending on who is calling you.
  • All of your voicemail in one inbox with unlimited online storage and free voicemail transcripts sent to your phone and email.
  • Low-priced international calling to over 200 countries and free SMS.
  • Other powerful features like the first phone spam filter to protect you from unwanted callers, the ability to listen in on your voicemail messages while they are being left, conference calling and more.

Here's another free program called Cycorder, which records video and audio. This program is meant for 2G and 3G iPhones only. Apple will never supply a video recording program for these phones.

When you have recorded a video, Cycorder saves your movies in a list, and they are immediately playable. Yes, you can download them off the iPhone and share them.

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. There are even ports for games like Doom, Quake and Wolfenstein.

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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. These themes are called Glass Orb and Neon standard, and can be found in Cydia.

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You can also use your own photographs as your background image. You can even have a different image on each of your pages. There are also packages full of art work and photographs that cyle through their contents so you always have something new to look at on your iPhone. They are stored in the Wallpapers section of Cydia. iPhone

iPhone Another way to dramatically change the look of your iPhone is to change the lock screen graphics. Apple provides a handful of images that can appear where the default Earth picture appears when your iPhone is locked. You can even use photos from your own photo library to appear here...

But how about these lock screens instead? You can even have weather widgets and status bars informing you of e-mails and missed calls appear on this screen.

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Here is what my lock screen looks like. These menu bars give me all the information I could need at my fingertips: calendar, weather, e-mail received, upcoming calendar events, missed calls, voicemails, even SMS can be added. This is all without evening having to slide to unlock! See my Themes with WinterBoard Section 27 tutorial to learn more...

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Since this is a phone, and you’ll be spending a lot of time dialing phone numbers, why not change the phone keypad as well? The standard phone keypad sure is rather plain looking. The keypad in the middle is called Retro Phone Dialer. The keypad on the right is one I made with my own photograph.

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You can even change the font used in Notes. 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

Apple has 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.

iPhone       iPhone

iPhone iPhone Apple has lots of features on the iPhone that can be turned on and off. The problem is these buttons are all buried in different menus and it can be confusing where to find them quickly. There’s 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, GPS location, and adjusting your screen brightness. Note at the very top of the screen (the status bar), I have enabled numeric displays for my cellular signal strength, Wi-Fi signal strength, and battery strength instead of using the traditional graphics. This is another feature of this program.

SBSettings also has a control panel for hiding the various program icons installed. If you are like most people who don’t use the Stocks application, you can just make it disappear by sliding its toggle to off.

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, or around election time. You can also use it to block text messages. There is a similar program called MCleaner. Both applications are fee based. iPhone iPhone

Another little known fact is that the iPhone is limited to eleven pages of icons. Once you reach this limit, any new programs you install through the App Store will not display on the iPhone, so you won't have any way to run those programs unless you do a Spotlight search for them. If you jailbreak, you can use a program called Categories to solve this problem. This also has the added benefit of allowing you to organize and simplify your iPhone's home screen (or SpringBoard as we call it). Allow me to demonstrate:

Here is what my iPhone looks like. I have four screens of icons. Not only does this make it harder to find the program you want to use, it makes it hard to reorganize the icons if you keep things in alphabetical order (like I do), without constantly dragging icons from one screen to another to reposition them.

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iPhone Categories solves several problems. Here is what my SpringBoard looks like now. Four screens reduced to just one!

The bulk of my icons have been placed into three folders: Applications, Games, and Utilities. Now you just press the folder you want to go into, and those specific programs are in there. Just press them as usual to use them. You can only do this if you jailbreak.

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If Categories isn't for you, there are two other ways to get even more icons onto each screen: Five Icon Dock and Five-Column SpringBoard. iPhone

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