HOW TO JAILBREAK
This page is the ultimate introduction to jailbreaking. Along with the frequently asked questions about everything jailbreak related, you will find links to detailed tutorials on how to jailbreak your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV. If you already know a lot about jailbreaking and you’re just looking for guides and tutorials, simply skip to the section on how to ios jailbreak, or refer to our in-depth Can I Jailbreak? guide. If you’re new to jailbreaking and want to learn more, we suggest you spend a few minutes reading about this awesome pastime below.
At the bottom of the page you’ll find information on various jailbreaks. Simply locate the software version you want to jailbreak and the type of device you have for personalised instructions.
What’s the latest?
The latest jailbreakable iOS/iPadOS version is 14.x. The semi-tethered checkra1n tool can jailbreak the aforementioned, and all future firmwares, on A9-A10-equipped devices (iPhone 6/6 Plus) and iPhone 7/7 Plus) with no strings attached.
It can also jailbreak the aforementioned, and all future firmware releases, on A11 devices (iPhone X, 8/8 Plus), but you will not be able to set a passcode afterwards. This is not recommended for obvious security reasons at the time of this writing, but it may or may not be fixed in the future. For older firmware versions, see below.
Devices equipped with the A12 chip or newer (iPhone XR, XS/XS Max or newer) can jailbreak iOS & iPadOS 14.0-14.3 with unc0ver. For older firmware versions, see below.
The latest jailbreakable tvOS version for the Apple TV 4 (HD) is tvOS 14.x, and can be accomplished right now with checkra1n for tvOS (semi-tethered).
The latest jailbreakable tvOS version for the Apple TV 4K is tvOS 13.4.5 and can be accomplished right now with unc0verTV (semi-untethered).
What is jailbreaking?
Jailbreaking is the process by which Apple’s operating systems are modified to remove restrictions and give greater user control over the device. These modifications typically allow running unsigned code, as well as reading and writing to the root filesystem, both of which are normally prevented by Apple. The increased privileges permit customisations and unfettered app installation which are not available to users with a stock device. Jailbreaking is most popular on, and most associated with, Apple’s mobile operating systems iOS and iPadOS, though it also exists in various forms on tvOS, watchOS, macOS, and audioOS.
Typically, jailbreaking adds an unofficial installer to your device which lets you download 3rd-party applications, tweaks, and extensions that are not available through the App Store. These packages open up endless possibilities to do things on your device that a non-jailbroken one would never be able to do. The most famous and oldest of these installers is called Cydia. Competing and rapidly growing alternatives to Cydia now exist, such as Zebra and Sileo.
Cydia and other package managers offer tweaks which can be used to customize the look, feel, behavior, and capabilities of your device in a myriad of different ways, bypass limitations set in place by Apple and carriers, connect to other devices remotely, and generally let you unlock your device’s full potential.
Jailbreaking is about liberating your devices from Apple’s grasp, to let you use the products you paid for in any way you want.
What are the benefits of jailbreaking?
The primary reason that people jailbreak is to install third-party applications and tweaks that Apple couldn’t or wouldn’t approve in the App Store. There are hundreds of apps that don’t meet Apple’s guidelines, or that have capabilities Apple’s App Store guidelines forbid. Tweaks don’t exist on the App Store at all, as they aren’t applications. They are extensions, additions, or adjustments to already-installed applications, and to the operating system itself.
For example, Apple doesn’t allow you to customize the general user interface of your device. Thanks to the jailbreak community, there are many jailbreak tweaks that completely change the way your device looks, whether it be changing icons, hiding icon names, adding more than four applications to the dock, customizing dark mode, or applying an entire theme, sounds and all.
If you value function over aesthetics, jailbreaking can cater to you too. Functionality tweaks, which bring subtle improvements to the way the device operates, are also popular. Swiping across the keyboard to move the text cursor rather than fiddling with the magnifying glass, setting your phone to perform complex events in response to certain button combinations, turning off read receipts in third-party messengers, installing apps from unknown sources, connecting wirelessly to other devices via SSH, displaying Wi-Fi channel and strength information, the list goes on and on. If you’ve ever been bothered by a small aesthetic or functional hindrance in Apple’s OS, chances are there’s a package out there to help you get it just the way you want it.
For more on the benefits of jailbreaking, be sure to read our dedicated spiel listing 10+ reasons to jailbreak your iPhone or iPad in 2020.
Is jailbreaking legal?
First, let’s clear up a common misconception: jailbreaking is completely legal. There was a time, prior to 2010, when jailbreaking was implied to be illegal by the US government, due to its relevance in breach of copyright litigation. However, for many years now the government has periodically upheld the status of jailbreaking as explicitly legal, and exempted it from broader issues of copyright law.
The status in other countries varies, but generally falls into “neither legal nor illegal provided it is not used for copyright infringement, and never going to a court of law anyway.” In summary, there is really nothing to worry about. Even if you don’t live in the US, there’s almost no chance that Apple would come after you for jailbreaking your device. It hasn’t happened a single time, in any country, despite a flourishing community jailbreaking since 2007.
Please note this important distinction: the act of jailbreaking is not illegal.
However, any crimes you commit on the device remain illegal. If you use your jailbreak to illegally torrent movies, download paid apps for free, or commit other cyber and copyright crimes (otherwise known as piracy), then you’re still breaking the law. Stick to using your jailbreak to set up your device the way you want it, not to steal.
Does jailbreaking void my warranty?
Yes and no. Yes, because if you go to the Apple store with a jailbroken device in order to receive support, repair or service, you will be refused (provided they notice). Whilst Apple acknowledges the US government’s DMCA exemption ruling that makes jailbreaking legal, that doesn’t mean that they have to allow it in their warranty agreement. Basically, it’s illegal for them to stop you from doing what you want with your device, but it’s legal for them to refuse to provide any support for it if you have done anything they don’t like.
From Apple’s support article on jailbreaking:
Apple strongly cautions against installing any software that hacks the iOS. It is also important to note that unauthorized modification of the iOS is a violation of the iPhone end-user license agreement and because of this, Apple may deny service for an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch that has installed any unauthorized software.
However, there’s a simple workaround to the warranty question too. If you have to take your device to an Apple store, just restore it to its factory settings beforehand. This completely removes all traces of having jailbroken, and the stock device will then be accepted by Apple under warranty. There will be no way of knowing you jailbroke it.
Can jailbreaking brick my device?
You may have heard a few horror stories about people who tried to jailbreak their iPhone or iPad and ended up turning it into a paperweight. Although this may have happened in the very early days of the iPhone, it is now so difficult as to be impossible for any average user. These stories are nearly always a badly-timed hardware issue happening to a first-timer, and what they are describing is something like their phone screen dying instead.
The worst thing that could happen when initially trying to jailbreak the device is it becoming unresponsive, which is normally fixed by a hard reset. Even total filesystem corruption can be fixed with a factory restore. Once jailbroken, the only dangers come from installing incompatible tweaks, or downloading something unsafe. Most jailbreaks include a Safe Mode which disables all your tweaks in the case of incompatibility so that you can safely remove them, and you can often “un-jailbreak” too on newer jailbreaks.
As a final resort, remember: you’re always able to restore your device’s firmware back to stock, which will fix any non-hardware issue. Following these simple steps will make sure your iPhone or iPad goes back to its original state. Try to avoid this unless absolutely necessary, as it will update your phone, and wipe all user data stored on it. It will also result in losing your jailbreak, unless and until one is released for the newly-updated firmware.
Is jailbreaking the same as unlocking?
No, jailbreaking and unlocking are two different things. Jailbreaking removes restrictions in Apple’s software, unlocking removes restrictions imposed by your cellular provider. In the early days of iPhone, jailbreak ios would often allow you to unlock your iPhone too, but that is now rarely the case. As noted previously, jailbreaking an iPhone lets you install third-party applications and mods, while unlocking allows you to use your iPhone on a different carrier.
There are occasional exceptions to this rule, as well as tweaks which can change some cellular behaviours such as tethering and MMS, but in general they are unrelated. You can learn more about the difference between jailbreaking and unlocking if you’re interested.
Can I still use iTunes and App Store after jailbreaking?
Yes, you can use iTunes and App Store after jailbreaking your device. As a matter of fact, nothing will really change. The only small annoyance is that some App Store apps, such as banking apps, include jailbreak detection which prevents them running when jailbroken. This can be circumvented for most apps with a tweak. The most notable change to your device will be that, after jailbreaking, you will have a new application installed, like Cydia.
What is Cydia? What is a package manager?
In short, Cydia is a package manager: an app which allows you to browse, install, and remove your jailbreak apps and tweaks. You can think of it as the App Store, but for jailbreak applications. Most apps and tweaks on Cydia are free, but it is not unusual for a more complex jailbreak offering to cost a few dollars.
Whilst Cydia is the oldest and most well-known package manager, alternative package managers also exist. Historically, Cydia couldn’t be beaten for stability and long-term support, but more recently the younger additions have improved in that regard, while also adding new features which Cydia lacks. Some alternative package managers, should you wish to check them out, are Zebra, Sileo, and Installer.
Does jailbreaking prevent me from updating my device?
Jailbreaking does not prevent you from updating your device firmware, but updating your device firmware can prevent you from jailbreaking. Apple normally uses each iOS or iPadOS update to patch jailbreaks that existed on previous firmware versions, which means that hackers have to start from scratch to make a new tool for the new firmware. This might isn’t a significant problem for most, who are happy to lose their jailbreak in exchange for newer stock features, but it is avoided by those who use a lot of jailbreak apps and tweaks. Serious jailbreakers tend not to update their devices so that they can keep their jailbreaks, and only update their device’s firmware after a jailbreak tool for a higher firmware is released.
As long as you stay on an older, jailbreakable firmware you can continue to jailbreak, but newer firmwares will be invulnerable to previous jailbreak tools. Therefore, if you update to the newest firmware, you will probably find yourself unable to jailbreak it, as there won’t be a jailbreak tool for it yet. How long you’ll have to wait for one can vary, though it has been getting harder in recent times, making staying on a jailbreakable firmware even more valuable.
The lone exceptions to this game of cat and mouse are jailbreaks built upon a hardware-based exploit, such as checkra1n. This kind of jailbreak cannot be patched with a software update because the vulnerability it uses lies deeper in the system, such as in the bootrom or hardware. Devices which have a jailbreak of this type can be jailbroken for life, regardless of what iOS or iPadOS version they are on. However, this kind of jailbreak tends to be tethered or semi-tethered and consequently not suitable for all users (more on that below).
If you are jailbroken and decide you want to update, that is not a problem. If you don’t care about losing your jailbreak and just want to go back to stock, this is always possible with a simple factory restore.
What are the different types of jailbreaks?
There are broadly four types of jailbreak: tethered, semi-tethered, semi-untethered, and untethered. The first two aren’t as useful to the average user. They require the user to connect their device to a computer every time it reboots or powers off, in order to jailbreak it again. Nearly all recent jailbreaks have been semi-untethered, which means that after every reboot you must re-run a jailbreak app on your device. This “reactivates” your jailbreak to let you use your tweaks. Your device will work as a normal stock device, without jailbreak features, until you do this. Untethered jailbreaks are becoming rarer due to the difficulty in building them, but don’t have the limitations of a semi-untethered tool. An untethered jailbreak is persistent, meaning it stays jailbroken through reboots. Read this article to learn more about the differences between these kinds of jailbreak.
Can jailbreaking let me download App Store apps for free?
Technically yes, but we do not recommend installing pirated apps and tweaks on your jailbroken device. Not only is it illegal, but you’re also stealing money from hard working developers. We do not condone, troubleshoot, nor give support on issues relating to piracy.
Is jailbreaking easy?
These days, jailbreaking is very easy. You usually download the jailbreak app and sideload it onto your device using tools such as Xcode, Cydia Impactor, AltStore, or a signing service. From there, you launch the app and hit the “Jailbreak” button. Older jailbreaks tended to involve a program run on your computer instead, with your device connected via USB. Both methods are simple and don’t require any specific knowledge or skills.
You will find useful tutorials on how to jailbreak at the bottom of this page, and our Can I Jailbreak? guide will let you know your options in more detail. If you don’t feel completely comfortable jailbreaking your device yet, make sure to have a look at our tutorials. They will guide you through the process with step-by-step instructions and illustrations.
What’s the best jailbreak tool?
This depends entirely on the type of device you have and the iOS or iPadOS version you are on. You can only use the jailbreak tools available for your device model and firmware. For example, an iPhone 5s user would use unc0ver on iOS 11-12.2, and Chimera on iOS 12.3-12.5.1, if they wanted the flexibility of a semi-untethered jailbreak. If they wanted a clean jailbreak which can never be patched, but which has the downside of being semi-tethered, then the best tool would be checkra1n. See our How to Jailbreak section for an overview of device- and firmware-specific options, below, or our Can I Jailbreak? guide for more in-depth information.