It finally happened: the latest and greatest of Apple’s iOS devices have been “jailbroken,” or hacked and released from the control of Apple and the various wireless carriers who support them.
Jailbreaking refers to the process of hacking through the software controls on iOS devices; it’s also known as “rooting” for other devices. In the case of Apple’s mobile offerings, jailbreaking offers several benefits that aren’t normally afforded to iPhone owners. Jailbroken iPhones or iPads can support any wireless carrier, access apps from non-iTunes app stores, and use Wi-Fi tethering with other devices without paying carriers for the service (although AT&T and the other carriers are trying to crack down on that one), among other things.
Apple actively fights against jailbreaking its devices in order to maintain their quality as well as Apple’s control over content distribution, and each new software update for the company’s iOS platform requires a new jailbreak. The latest, called Absinthe, works specifically for Apple’s latest-generation, A5 processor-sporting devices: the iPhone 4S and the iPad 2.
As TechCrunch reports, the new jailbreak is known as Absinthe, and has been 10 months in the making for iPad 2 owners, as well as a three-month wait for owners of the iPhone 4S. The Absinthe jailbreak is also “untethered,” which means that once it has been jailbroken, it stays jailbroken. A “tethered” jailbreak, by contrast, reverts the iPhone or iPad to its non-jailbroken state every time the device is reset.
The Absinthe jailbreak was developed by Chronic Dev Team, a group of iOS hackers that has been behind several jailbreaks for iOS since the iPhone was first introduced back in 2007. Back in August, Apple gave an internship to 19-year-old Nicholas Allegra, a former member of Chronic Dev Team and a co-creator of the JailbreakMe.com website, to help it fight off future jailbreaks.
If you’re willing to forfeit your warranty and Apple support for your devices, you can get the new A5 jailbreak right here, along with all the benefits and drawbacks that go with it.