Jailbreaking your iPhone or iPad is a risky process that we can't unreservedly recommend, but it remains popular among those who wish to install unofficial apps and tweaks on their smartphone or tablet via the Cydia marketplace. Here's all we know about the latest iOS 11 jailbreak, along with how to jailbreak your iPhone or iPad in iOS 10.
(What is jailbreaking? In essence, it means bypassing the locks put in place by Apple on its iPhones and iPads and thus gaining access to a large number of apps that Apple hasn't authorised. For explanations of this and many, many more Apple-related terms, see our Apple jargon-buster encyclopedia.)
iPhone Jailbreak warning
Some of the unofficial apps that you'll gain access to after jailbreaking are pretty tempting, and may offer features you'd never otherwise be able to access, but be weary; jailbreaking your iPhone and installing tweaks and apps from disreputable sources may lead to hackers being able to access your iPhone. We recommend only using reputable sources, such as those pre-loaded in Cydia, and staying away from any pirated repositories – it may be tempting to download tweaks for free, but you might be handing over access to all your personal information at the same time!
Apple itself offers advice on the subject of jailbreaking (although you may feel that the company is biased in this respect since it wants to continue getting its cut of the revenue from official app sales). In this tech note, Apple suggests that jailbreaking your iOS device may lead to security vulnerabilities, instability, shortened battery life, unreliability, disruption of services and inability to apply future software updates. It may result in Apple denying service for your device.
Nonetheless, many Apple fans have been jailbreaking iOS devices for years without encountering these issues. But once they've jailbroken such a device, they understand that they should expect no help from Apple if it causes them trouble in the future. With choice comes responsibility.
If you've got your heart set on jailbreaking, take a look at our top jailbreaking safety and security tips.
Tethered, Semi-Tethered and Untethered Jailbreaking
What’s the difference between a tethered and untethered jailbreak? Tethered jailbreaks require you to attach your iOS device to your computer and run an application to jailbreak it. If you later power off the device and then restart it, the jailbreak is wiped out, and you have to repeat the entire process. It also means your iOS device is completely useless until you do so, which isn’t convenient.
These kinds of jailbreak were the first to be developed. But what prospective jailbreakers wanted was an untethered method, where the hack would remain in effect even after the device was switched off and on again. This is called an untethered jailbreak, which is what is available for those looking to jailbreak iOS 10.
A third option, semi-tethered, means that you'll have to re-run the jailbreak process after restarting your iOS device or after a certain amount of time passes. It's a good compromise as the jailbreak can be run directly from the device rather than requiring a PC or Mac, but can still be a frustrating experience.
Here are all the pros and cons of jailbreaking an iPhone.
iOS 11 Jailbreak news
If you've been waiting for an iOS 11 jailbreak, we've got good news - it's possible.
Several security firms have confirmed the ability to jailbreak multiple versions of iOS 11. The bad news is that, due to their nature as security companies, they won't be cashing in on the exploit to create a public jailbreak. Instead, they'll offer the information to Apple in order to be patched in an upcoming update.
But while our hopes were shattered by the earlier news, that may be changing soon. Hacker and security researcher Min Zheng confirmed that he has hacked iOS 11.3, but later clarified that it wasn't a jailbreak specifically because he "didn't remount the rootfs to R/W and install Cydia" and that Apple has "added a new mitigation on iOS 11.3 in APFS KEXT" that'll need to be bypassed before a true 11.3 jailbreak is possible.
So while an 11.3 jailbreak may be a little while away, those running iOS 11.2 - 11.2.6 may gain access to an untethered jailbreak sooner rather than later. Coolstar, famed with creating the Electra Jailbreak, has suggested that a kernel exploit found in iOS 11.2 - 11.2.6 could be used to create a jailbreak and install Cydia on iPhone and iPad (though no confirmation on whether the iPhone X will be supported). He's so confident that he is warning those looking to jailbreak to stay away from iOS 11.3, 11.3.1 and the iOS 11.4 beta.
So, while you may not be able to jailbreak iOS 11.2 - 11.2.6 just yet, it's definitely possible. We just need to wait and hope that Coolstar can put something together for public release. If you do intend on jailbreaking your iPhone, we'd recommend staying on iOS 11.2 - 11.2.6 as it's at least proven to be possible to jailbreak, even if nothing is available just yet.
Carry on reading to find out how to jailbreak an iOS device running iOS 10.2.