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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.
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
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
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
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
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
So what're some of these programs?
||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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
||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.
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.
|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.
||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
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.
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...
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
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.
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.
||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.
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
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.
|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.