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The Return of 'Why Jailbreak,' and How to (very, very easily) Jailbreak Your iPhone

December 2, 2009


I loved jailbreaking. It made my life fun and interesting and always new. It gave my phone more life and meaning. The fact that I could do what I wanted to my iPhone meant that I was free. I loved my freedom, until jailbreaking turned on me. What once was a snappy-fast and easy-to-use phone became a sluggishly slow and frustrating-to-use phone. I blamed the jailbreaking—after all, my friends' virgin iPhones were very quick and responsive whereas mine was always inches away from being smashed against a tabletop.


Therefore, I un-jailbroke my phone. After only a few minutes, I began to miss the advantages of a phone without limits. Apple kept me from customizing. Steve Jobs' arms reached into my phone and strangled the very soul from it. How could I possibly live like this? A virginized iPhone might as well not be an iPhone at all. Why am I subjecting myself to such torture and conformity?

Then I remembered the frustration of a jailbroken phone and created a compromise for myself—I would find ways to make my phone feel jailbroken without actually jailbreaking it. I'd do this by finding applications and tips that would help me replicate some of the features I got out of jailbreaking without inducing sluggishness and unpredictability. I decided to make it into a new AppAdvice column that would take the place of my weekly "Why Jailbreak" column. I called it "Jailbreaking Without the Jailbreaking" (clever, I know). I wrote and published the introduction to this new column, as you may know. But then I had a problem. There was nothing for me to publish after that. I had considered discussing how the 3.0 update and the 3GS model had added some new features taken from the jailbroken universe: video recording, copy and paste, MMS, among other new and nice features including internet tethering (which we are still waiting for in the United States). That would've made a decent post, but then what? There was nowhere to go. There are no App Store applications that truly replicate anything from the jailbroken world. There are no tips I could find that would free my phone from Steve Jobs' cold-hearted clutches. This would be harder than I thought.

Needless to say, I gave jailbreaking another shot and am glad that I did. I jailbroke Caravaggio (my iPhone's newest name) with BlackRa1n (which was insanely easy), and was up and running with Cydia in a matter of minutes. Sure, my phone is a little bit slower than it was a week ago, but it is also free from restraint. I have settled on sluggish independence instead of efficient bondage. And I am happy with my decision. Those of you who read my introduction to the new column which is dead now must thing that I am a crazy person. First I love jailbreaking then I hate it and now I love it again. Yes, I have changed my mind several times, but the hacker's life is one of ups and downs and lots of decisions. The ultimate question that I have been pondering endlessly until today is which is more important for me in my iPhone: Efficiency or Freedom? I have settled on freedom. Steve Jobs won't be happy about it, but I hope I won't regret it.

BlackRa1n is insane. It is the method through which I re-jailbroke my phone (for version 3.1.2), and is so easy that I thought it was a trap. I downloaded the program onto my PC (which took about 10 seconds), opened it, plugged in my phone, hit the “Make it Ra1n” button, waited for a minute, and then was up and running. Jailbroken and all. I didn't even need to re-sync. All of my music, contacts, applications (and their data), everything remained untouched. It was mind-boggling. I always had to re-shuffle and organize and sync and juggle all kinds of data and things after a jailbreaking, but with BlackRa1n, all I had to do was hit a button. This jailbreaking thing is already going smoother than I remember.  Best of all, I was pleasantly surprised to find native internet tethering was already enabled!

Here's a more in-depth, step-by-step guide for those of you who would like to jailbreak with such ease that it's almost poetic: Step 1: Download BlackRa1n. You can get it from the website here. They have downloads for both PC and Mac.

Step 2: Open BlackRa1n and plug in your iPhone. Back it up once more, just in case (there shouldn't be any problems, but it is always good to have a fresh back up before doing this type of thing).


Step 3: Hit the “Make it Ra1n” button and wait. Walk away for a few minutes. Do not disconnect your phone, and make sure your computer won't shut off or go to sleep.



Step 4: After a minute or two, you'll have yourself a jailbroken iPhone. If you loved how easy that was, I suggest tossing a few bucks to BlackRa1n for offering such a great method of jailbreaking for free. Now, before you do anything else, marvel at just how wonderful it is to not need to re-sync or deal with any new syncs or anything. This is still your iPhone, just jailbroken.


Step 5: Find the new BlackRa1n icon on your home screen. Open it up and install Cydia by selecting Cydia and clicking “Install” in the upper right corner. Install Rock or sn0w if you'd like, and then I recommend uninstalling the BlackRa1n application by selecting, obviously, “Uninstall BlackRa1n.”

Your Home Screen will look like this:

blackra1n homescreen

Then, if you're like me, it will look like this 10 minutes later:

blackra1n blacksn0w

That was it. Wasn't that easy? Now your iPhone is jailbroken. You are free. Steve's got nothing on you. You can customize and install things that Apple doesn't fully appreciate.

Can't decide what to do with your newfound freedom? Why not start off with some past Why Jailbreak columns, and then wait a week for a new one? Don't worry, I'll keep 'em coming. Sorry about my recent stint with legitimacy, everybody. But now I'm making a promise to all of you hackers out there: I'm back for good. Long live jailbreaking.

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