There are hordes of applications not authorized by Apple, Inc. on the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. There are also GSM carriers without service agreements with Apple. These limitations, as they are perceived by users, made a niche market for which tech savvy individuals create software tools.
These jailbreaking tools enable the said iOS devices to run all those “unauthorized” applications that are out there. They also allow some heavy customization and easy access to other service providers’ GSM networks, especially when roaming. The popular term for this is “jailbreaking” and “SIM unlocking”, and at the forefront of all these is a team of engineers who call themselves the iPhone Dev Team.
The iPhone Dev Team
The iPhone Dev Team – will be the first to make it clear that they are not affiliated with, endorsed by or supported by Apple.Inc. The iPhone Dev Team is the creator of such programs as Pwnage Tool, ultrasn0w and redsn0w. Based on an old 2008 statistic, these tools have been used on at least 1.6 million devices worldwide. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that over the last 4 years that number has considerably increased.
The iPhone Dev Team is right in the middle of an ongoing petition made by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to the Copyright Office to continue to “protect individuals that develop jailbreaking tools for video game consoles, smartphones and electronic tablets”. Back in 2010, the Copyright Office issued the DMCA exemption which protected the iPhone Dev Team and others like them from civil action and/or criminal prosecution. That 2010 exemption is about to expire.
Redsn0w Jailbreaking Tool
redsn0w – is a popular desktop application developed by the iPhone Dev Team to “jailbreak” iOS devices (iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch). It was originally called QuickPWN. It is a free software that allows root access to an iOS device in order to take out Apple’s restrictions on 3rd party software installations. It works on both the Mac and Windows and is considered one of the most reliable jailbreaks by the iOS community. By default, jailbreaking with redsn0w includes an option to install Cydia, another 3rd party software installer.
From its very first version 0.3 released April of 2009 which was the very first tool capable of jailbreaking the iPod Touch 2G on a Mac, redsn0w is now on version 0.9.10b6. This version can jailbreak iOS 5.1 for devices using A4 chip (semi-untethered) and iPhone 3GS with old bootrom (untethered).
All iPhones are supported by redsn0w with the exception of iPhone 4S. All iPod Touch models and the iPad 1 are likewise supported (unfortunately for some, not iPad 2 or iPad 3). Redsn0w can do either a tethered, semi-untethered or untethered jailbreak, depending on what device it is and which iOS version. “Tethered” means that if it reboots, the device has to be connected to a computer just so redsn0w can boot it.
The fate of the iPhone Dev Team and the tools they’ve created including redsn0w very much rests on whatever ruling order the Copyright Office will announce in October 2012. They will be holding hearings in the spring of 2012 on the proposed DMCA exemptions.
We would like to hear your views about this whole issue. If you have benefited from, or have problems with redsn0w and other tools like it, and if you support the iPhone Dev Team, let us know.