Jailbreaking an iPhone: Everything You Need to Know | Hacker Noon

The iPhone is a smartphone created by Apple and accounts for about 47% of all smartphone users in the United States. Cybercriminals want to hack an iPhone for confidential information while users jailbreak an iPhone to install applications that they typically can’t download on the official App Store. The iPhone comes with restrictions on the types of applications you can purchase from the app store, what you can do on the iPhone, and which cellular network you may use. Once a phone has been jailbroken, the user is able to do whatever you like on the phone.

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@jtruongJessica Truong

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The iPhone is a smartphone created by Apple and accounts for about 47% of all smartphone users in the United States. Fun fact! In 2019, more than 1.5 billion iPhones were sold, making it one of the most popular and used smartphones in the world! 

Due to its popularity, this makes it an easy and number one target for not only hackers but also users around the world. Cybercriminals want to hack an iPhone for confidential information while users jailbreak an iPhone to install applications that they typically can’t download on the official App Store. Both have the same goal: to gain more control.

The iPhone comes with restrictions on the types of applications you can purchase from the app store, what you can do on the iPhone, and which cellular network you may use. So how can we bypass this restriction, you may ask? By jailbreaking. In this article, you will learn what jailbreaking is and everything you need to know to jailbreak an iPhone.

What is Jailbreaking? 

Jailbreaking is when you remove the software restrictions that are intentionally built into the iOS devices (i.e., iPhones and iPads) and give you unauthorized root access to the device. Once a phone has been jailbroken, the user is able to do the following:

  • Do whatever you like on the phone
  • Download third-party applications outside of the App Store
  • Unlock carrier restrictions, meaning you do not need to stick with AT&T as that is what Apple wants users to have as their carrier
  • Customize and personalize your phone to your liking

Jailbreaking Risks

Although there are many things you can do with a jailbroken phone, there are some risks you may come across, including the following: 

  • Malware installation: This is one of the biggest threats to jailbreaking a phone; without the built-in security from Apple, you are more susceptible to malware
  • Rely on the jailbreaking community: To keep using your rooted device, you will need to rely on the jailbreaking community for the latest jailbreak hack
  • Piracy exposure: You would be able to access illegal content that is not on the official App Store, but you are at risk since you have access to illegal content
  • No more phone warranty: You can no longer go to Apple for assistance since your phone is jailbroken if something is wrong
  • Fragile system: You are in charge of taking care of your device for when the system crashes and the weak battery life; you will experience more system vulnerabilities on a jailbroken phone  
  • New facing issues: For example, when your phone is dead or crashes, the only way to turn it back on is to connect it to another device – this is known as tethered jailbreaking

Types of Jailbreaks

These are different ways to jailbreak an iPhone:

  • Tethered: as mentioned earlier, this type of jailbreak requires a connection to a computer, and each time the iPhone needs to be restarted, a computer connection must be established
  • Untethered: does not require a computer to reboot the jailbroken iPhone; however, after you first jailbreak an iPhone, you have to connect it to a computer
  • Semi-tethered: this type of jailbreak allows users to restart their jailbroken iPhone, and in the case that the jailbreak disappeared, then the iOS that came with the iPhone can be used
  • Semi-untethered: similar to semi-tethered jailbreak; however, this jailbreak type does not require a computer connection

How does Jailbreaking work? 

Well, first off, cybercriminals must develop the jailbreak tool, and this is done by finding and exploiting system vulnerabilities that Apple has put into place. You can find jailbreaking codes for free through forums and sites provided by the hacking communities. 

Most jailbreaks come with step-by-step instructions on what to do to fully jailbreak your device. There are many ways to jailbreak an iPhone, but we will use the Unc0ver tool as an example. As you will learn, once you have jailbroken your iPhone, you will have the ability to do whatever you would like to your phone.

Unc0ver

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All iPhones with versions iOS 11.0-14.3 can use this tool. You do not need to connect your iPhone to a computer, but you should create a backup of your device before you start jailbreaking. 

Once the backup has been completed, you need to visit the silzee website and follow the step-by-step instructions from your iPhone. 

After following the instructions, you should have the unc0ver tool and Cydia on your smartphone.

Cydia

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Cydia is a package manager and is the most popular application used on jailbroken devices. It is the independent app store that you will use to download applications that are restricted on non-jailbroken phones. 

Protect Your Jailbroken Phone

There are some actions that you can take in order to protect your jailbroken phone, such as turning off remote access and re-enabling code-signing in iOS after a jailbreak. Regarding privacy, the same principles still lie as though you had a regular iOS on your iPhone. Do not download any application you aren’t familiar with and use a VPN to establish an encrypted and secure connection before browsing the Internet.

Reverse iPhone Jailbreak

You can undo your jailbreak, and an easy way to do that is to restore factory settings. However, before restoring to Apple’s factory settings, you should perform a backup on your iPhone. This is imperative because restoring to factory settings will completely wipe your device and restore the iPhone to the configurations of when you purchased a phone. 

Follow these steps to reverse the jailbreak:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your laptop
  2. Open iTunes
  3. Click on your iPhone on the left column of iTunes
  4. Click on the “Restore” button under the Summary tab 
  5. A message will pop up asking if you want to make a backup, click yes, and then the recovery will begin
  6. Once it has finished, your iPhone will automatically restart – you will be asked if you want to restore from a backup (click yes or no), and that’s it! Your phone is back to its original state

Final Thoughts

Obviously, jailbreaking an iPhone gives you more control and a lot of freedom that you wouldn’t normally have. On the other hand, it takes away all of the built-in security that Apple has provided. Jailbreaking isn’t necessarily illegal; however, illegal activities may occur through jailbreaking. 

We have discussed the security risks of jailbreaking and what may occur without the built-in security provided by Apple. Make sure that you understand how jailbreaking works before you jailbreak your phone. One last thing to remember: Jailbreaking is not permanent! You can undo your jailbreak.

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