Grab your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, as the iOS 6 untethered jailbreak has finally arrived. And we’re here to walk you through the entire jailbreak process, right through from preparing your device to installing the coolest Cydia tweaks, themes and utilities. If you’re strictly looking for step-by-step instructions for this jailbreak, follow our how to guide. Otherwise, join us ahead for what is truly the ultimate guide to the iOS 6 jailbreak.
Introduction to Jailbreaking
- What is the purpose of jailbreaking? Jailbreaking provides you with root file system access on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, which allows you to install third-party applications, tweaks, themes and other content. These jailbroken packages most often come from Cydia, a jailbreak equivalent of the traditional App Store. In a nutshell, jailbreaking allows for you to further customize and enhance your iOS device beyond the limits that Apple imposes. Freedom.
- What is the legal status of jailbreaking? Jailbreaking is officially declared as legal in the United States, based on an exemption made to the U.S. Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), allowing for modifications of this nature to be made. Nevertheless, jailbreaking an iOS device violates your End User Licensing Agreement (EULA) with Apple, which means that your device’s warranty will be void. There is, however, a loophole. By restoring your device back to factory default settings using iTunes, all traces of jailbreaking will be removed and your warranty will essentially be valid again.
- Do I need to be running a freshly installed version of iOS 6 to jailbreak? Will my content be erased? You do not need to be running a newly installed copy of iOS, although it is highly recommended by jailbreak developers. Your device’s media and settings will not be affected or removed by the jailbreaking process, although backing up your content to iTunes or iCloud is still recommended as a precautionary measure. Moreover, it is highly recommended that you do not install the latest version of iOS 6 as an over-the-air update. Use iTunes.
- What’s the difference between an untethered, tethered and semi-tethered jailbreak?
- Tethered Jailbreak: A tethered jailbreak means that your device will no longer be in a fully functional jailbroken state if it is ever powered off. To reactive the jailbreak, you must plug your device into a Mac or PC using a sync cable and rerun your jailbreaking utility — like evasi0n — and choose the “boot tethered” option to restart your device. You will not lose any saved data or media during this process.
- Untethered Jailbreak: A device with an untethered jailbreak installed can be turned off at any time or place, without having to connect to a Mac or PC upon reboot to reactive the jailbreak. In an untethered state, your device functions just as it would as a freshly restored, stock device.
- Semi-Tethered Jailbreak: A semi-tethered jailbreak allows you to start your device without plugging it into your Mac or PC, although you will not be able to use your jailbroken add-ons until you “boot tethered” from your computer using the relevant jailbreak program.
For more general information and frequently asked questions about jailbreaking, you’ll want to read the Jailbreaking: Myths and Facts and Jailbreaking: Is it Worth It? topics within the discussion forums.
Upsides of Jailbreaking
We’ll get into more specific benefits of jailbreaking later in this guide, although this is a general overview of some of the upsides of having a jailbroken iPhone, iPad or iPod touch:
- Root file system access
- System modifications
- Cydia tweaks, utilities and mods
- Themes and customization
Downsides of Jailbreaking
While jailbreaking is generally considered to be a worthwhile experience, it does have a handful of downsides. The most common problem that people encounter when jailbreaking is a slight overall system slowdown.
Everything will stop working as well, all the smooth animations that occur when closing and opening apps will go away, and your device will lose seconds on boot time.
That sluggish performance typically only occurs, however, when you go a little over board with your jailbreak tweaks. And even then, some tweaks can cause more problems than others. The biggest culprit is Winterboard, a tweak that most consider absolutely necessary on a jailbroken device.
Winterboard provides excellent functionality for those that want a complete overhaul of their system’s theme, but there’s a price to pay for such a powerful tweak. Unless you plan on using Winterboard for a theme that you absolutely must have, I would recommend avoiding it.
Once common misconception about jailbreaking is that there is some risk involved and that it voids your warranty. The former is completely false assuming you are using the provided tools, and the latter is only somewhat true.
No, you cannot brick your device while jailbreaking. The only way to brick your device is if you are an advanced user and purposely try to brick it. Don’t ask how, we don’t want you going around bricking people’s devices. And as long as you restore your device to default iOS software before bringing to an Apple store for repair or sending it in, your device’s warranty will be perfectly valid.
The iOS 6 untethered jailbreak — dubbed “evasi0n” — is compatible with all iPhone, iPad or iPod touch devices that are running iOS 6 or later. The specific iOS versions that are supported include: iOS 6.0, iOS 6.0.1, iOS 6.0.2 and iOS 6.1.
- Compatible Devices: iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 (GSM), iPhone 4 (CDMA), iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, fourth- and fifth-generation iPod touch, iPad 2, third- and fourth-generation iPad, iPad mini, second-generation Apple TV
If you have an original iPhone or iPad, iPhone 3G or first – third generation iPod touch, this iOS 6 jailbreak does not support your device. There is a chance that the iOS 5.1.1 untethered jailbreak could be compatible with your device instead, or look through our jailbreaking section for more information.
Preparing Device for Jailbreak
So you’ve read about the evasi0n iOS 6 untethered jailbreak. You have so many reasons as to why you want to jailbreak. And you’ve finally decided that you want the power of your device unleashed, and Apple’s control over what programs are installed relinquished.
Excellent. Welcome, friend. But every journey begins with a stepping stone, and the first and most important one is preparation. First, you must make sure that your device is compatible. All devices capable of running iOS 6.1 are compatible. Secondly, make sure that you are on any version of iOS between 6.0 and 6.1. The jailbreak will work on any of those; however, for stability’s sake, it may be worth it to simply upgrade to iOS 6.1. See below.
Back up. Jailbreaking is, due to its very nature, something that isn’t condoned or supported by Apple. That means that there’s always the potential for data loss. (No. You will not brick your device, but you could lose photos, or documents, or various other things.) Back up to iTunes on a computer. iCloud backups do work, but take it from someone who knows — they take forever. And they can go wrong.
So, go connect your iDevice to iTunes. When the device screen pops up, click “Back Up.” The next step is fairly easy. In order to start the jailbreak process, the .ipsw (or the file that updates your iOS) is required. Thankfully, these are easy and legal to come by. The first place to check is iTunes itself.
Mac OS X:
- ~/Library/iTunes/iPhone Software Updates
- Windows XP: \Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Apple Computer\iTunes\iPhone Software Updates
- Windows Vista & Windows 7: \Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\iTunes\iPhone Software Updates
Where “iPhone” could be replaced with “iPad” for relevant software. Also be aware that users of OS X 10.7 and above may have to unhide files in order to find the .ipsw. Again, unhiding files may be necessary for Windows in some cases as well.
But there’s also the possibility that iTunes doesn’t have the .ipsw – if that is the case, simply redownload it. You can use this website to do so, and while the downloads are somewhat large, it shouldn’t take too long. Regardless, you will have to find the .ipsw that corresponds to your device and its firmware.
So, for example, my iPhone 4S’ 6.1 .ipsw file is named “iPhone4,1_6.1_10B142_Restore.ipsw”, without the quotes. In order to jailbreak, I will have to use that file because it is what is currently installed on my device. Be careful not to download the wrong .ipsw file: the ill effects will be limited, but it will waste time and make the process that much longer.
Finally, check your computer. Evasi0n.com lists support for the following operating systems:
- Windows XP
- Windows Vista
- Windows 7
- Windows 8
- Mac OS X 10.5 and Above
- Linux (x86, x86_64)
In addition, you will need the appropriate sync cable to connect your device to the computer with. The new Lightning connector is required for the iPhone 5, fourth-generation iPad and iPad mini, while a 30-pin connector is needed for all other devices.
It’s also advised to temporarily disable any passcode lock you might have on your iDevice. Disabling this lock will allow the process to flow better, and will mean that chances for human error are significantly reduced. After the jailbreak is complete, feel free to re-enable the passcode lock.
Don’t forget your sense of patience, and keep a cool head throughout the process. Don’t psyche yourself out of it: the idea of hacking a device can be intimidating, but remember that millions of other people are doing the exact same thing to their own devices. If you encounter issues, the iFans discussion forums are a treasure trove of information.
Upgrading to iOS 6
Backing up: iTunes
To make a backup via iTunes: connect your device to your computer via USB and open iTunes. To do this, right click on the device name and select Back Up as seen below. This should automatically backup your device via iTunes backup.
Backing up: iCloud
To initiate a manual backup via iCloud: open Settings and tap iCloud’s setting panel. On the bottom panel you’ll find Storage & Backup, tap it and then tap Backup now on the bottom.
This will initiate a manual backup via iCloud. This may take a while to complete, depending on the speed of your Wi-Fi connection and what you have to backup.
Updating Your Device
Now that you’ve prepared and backed up your device, you have the option of updating your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad via iTunes.
Updating Your Device: iTunes
To begin, open up iTunes and click on your device. Under the Summary tab, click the Check For Update button. This will prompt iTunes to check for a firmware update for your device. If all goes well, you’ll be prompted to download and install iOS 6 or download it but install later. You can also choose to back out by hitting Cancel.
iOS 6 will download and install on your compatible device. This may take a while. Please be patient. You may want to do other tasks while waiting for the download to finish and install. Once completed, your device will restart with iOS 6. You can now proceed with jailbreaking your device.
Step-by-Step Jailbreak Instructions
- Download the latest version of evasi0n (OS X, Windows, Linux) and, if necessary, unzip the tool. You may need to run Evasi0n in administrator mode on Windows.
- Connect your device to the computer through the USB port, and launch the Evasi0n application.
- With your device plugged in, hit the Jailbreak button to begin. If you have not yet disabled your passcode on your device, it is advised that you do so. Head to Settings > General > Passcode to disable it.
- Evasi0n will begin uploading the new RAM Disk and Kernel.
- Your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch will now reboot.
- You will be walked through a process of tapping the “Jailbreak” icon. Tap it only once! Your device will reboot once more.
- Your device is now jailbroken running iOS 6 with Cydia.
- You can now re-enable your passcode for your device. You’re all done.
Must-Have Jailbreak Tweaks
One of the most exciting things about jailbreaking your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch is the ability to browse and install numerous tweaks, utilities and mods from jailbreak package manager Cydia. iFans has compiled a list of must-have Cydia tweaks below, all compatible with the iOS 6 update. Moreover, there is a master list of all Cydia tweaks that support iOS 6 for your perusal.
Zephyr – $2.99
Multitasking gestures have been a hit-and-miss for Apple. They require 4 to 5 fingers to use, which can be difficult on an iPod or iPhone-sized screen, and they’ve only recently become available to iPads exclusively on the latest version of iOS 5. So, the jailbreak community steps in to right Apple’s wrong with Zephyr.
Zephyr is a great substitute for Apple’s lackluster gestures, with a slew of settings to go with. Sliding up from the bottom of the screen with a changeable number of fingers (1 to 4) brings up the multitasking bar, and/or closes the current app (customizable in Settings). Swiping in from either side, again with a changeable number of fingers required, switches to the next app open.
Transitions are smooth and switching apps is nearly seamless. If certain apps require a lot of swiping that could be misinterpreted by Zephyr, you can disable left/right swiping, bottom swiping, or both in any app. Also, disabling certain gestures while the keyboard is present is an option. If you’re a heavy
multitasker and want to reduce the wear on your home button, check out Zephyr!
Check out our full review of Zephyr for more information.
OpenSSH – Free
Secure SHell (SSH) is a command line program that allows you to remotely establish a secure connection between your computer and your iOS device. With SSH, you can access the device’s file system from your computer to transfer and alter files.
Apple defaults all iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad SSH passwords to “alpine,” which should be changed for security reasons if SSH is enabled (See Jailbreak, File System, OpenSSH, Cyberduck, iFunBox, iExplorer).
iFile – Free / $4.00
This jailbreak application grants you full file system access which can function like a file explorer on your iOS device. This is free with limited capabilities, while $4.00 will grant you a full license.
NCSettings – Free
This is a widget for Notification Center that allows quick access to the following toggles: Wi-Fi, Volume, Brightness, Lock Rotation, Cellular Data, 3G, Vibrate, Silent, Location Services, Auto-Lock, Flash, Private Browsing, Bluetooth, Airplane Mode, and Power (Power includes: Respring, Reboot, and Power Down).
NCSettings is great because it allows you to fully customize what toggles you want to and don’t want to see in your Notification Center. It also allows the user to customize how many toggles they see per “screen.”
Activator - Free
This jailbreak tweak available in Cydia that allows you to assign gestures or actions to invoke applications and utilities.
For example, you can set a double tap the home button to open Cydia, respring, or any other app of your choosing that has Activator support.
Ryan Petrich | BigBoss Repo | Free
SwipeBack is a jailbreak tweak that does nothing more than provide a simple gesture in returning to a previous page by swiping your finger on either side of your device. Rather than having to press the “back” button of every app, you now have the option of swiping the app, making the process feel a bit more native. Also, another bonus feature of this tweak is that it will let you go back a page on Safari making it more convenient to browse the web. If you find this feature annoying, don’t worry as you can disable this on the settings.
c0d3 | BigBoss Repo | Free
If you are in the process of looking into a little more customization, then perhaps take a look at ColoredKnob. ColoredKnob is a jailbreak tweak that allows you to simply change the appearance of the slider on the lockscreen. For the time being, it lets you change the slider to 9 solid colors and 1 unique “lock” slider. Other options include having the ability to make the slider longer, which only increases the size by about 10%. The tweak also brings the ability of randomizing the color every time you lock and unlock your device. Even though the tweak is quite simple, it definitely feels native to iOS and is well worth downloading!
Yoo Seung Kim | BigBoss Repo | $1.99
What if you had the opportunity to change the color and style of your keyboard with ease? That is exactly what Color Keyboard aims to do! This tweak allows you to change not only the color of your keyboard, but the style as well! As seen from above, there are themes which depict a Windows Phone 7 style keyboard and a MacBook Air keyboard. Initially, when you download this, it will come with a plethora of themes for you to choose from, ranging from solid colors to textured ones as well. Not only this, it also has a theme gallery section where you will be able to download more of the community’s greatest work. This is a must have if you plan to show your customized jailbroken device!
SuperDev | BigBoss Repo | Free
Accelerate, the predecessor to ClockWind, makes a return to iOS 6 which accelerates core iOS animations. This tweak can be considered a ‘fake’ enhancement to iOS, which deceives its users into believing that it speeds up their device. Over on the settings panel, it includes the options to slow down, speed up, and disable the tweak in certain animation elements of iOS. This tweak certainly made me feel as if my device was faster than the iPhone 5!
Ryan Petrich | BigBoss Repo | Free
Ryan Petrich, a well-respected jailbreak developer, no doubt develops some of the most quality tweaks out there. Most known for Activator and other tweaks, Ryan Petrich has developed another tweak named Activoice. With Activoice, any device can have the functionality of bringing up Google’s own voice search assisstant, Google Now, with a simple activator action. With Google Now, you are able to speak your text and search the web with ease making this tweak invaluable. You can think of Google’s assistant as a Siri alternative and rival.
Qusic | BigBoss Repo | Free
First off, Reminders+ is a tweak that adds functionality to the native Reminders app by allowing users to have permanent reminders on their lock screen. While it’s not a complete overhaul or a major feature, Reminders+ does best at doing its primary function, reminding people ahead of time. With Reminders+, you can always have that one, or two, important reminders without it ever disappearing from your lock screen. Along with your reminder, it also has the ability to finally display your written note. Now, this is something that Apple should have implemented a long time ago.
Aaron Ash (Charybdis) | BigBoss Repo | $1.99
If you’re looking to make iOS a little more similar to Android, then WrapAround may be just for you. WrapAround allows your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad to infinitely scroll around your SpringBoard pages. No, this isn’t a tweak that allows you to have more than the restricted 11 home screen pages that Apple imposes, but, as the developer says, “just scroll to the last page of icons, keep scrolling, and you’re back to the search!” I literally had never heard of this tweak until reading upon this thread. As a side note, it would work perfectly well if Spotlight search was removed.
iStopped | ModMyi Repo | Free
Vexillum offers more customization to Apple’s notification system by providing a variety of colors and gradients. Sure, it may not be the first of its kind, but it is a tweak well worth noting. This tweak in particular lets you customize almost everything found in the banner notifications, such as the banner, font and border color. With options such color sliders and gradient settings, it is a simple tweak that is quite stable and well implemented. Now, you can give your notifications a little more personalized look.
rud0lf77 | ModMyi Repo | $0.99
MiniBanners Pro completely changes the notification system. As its name suggests, this tweak “shrinks” any incoming notifications into just the app’s icon and number of notifications missed. Alongside this, this tweak supplies its own animations and hefty set of features, which completely changes the way we handle notifications. Features such as the placement of notifications, tap-to-expand, auto-expand, manual dismiss, swipe-to-dismiss, and more makes this tweak hard to ignore.
VincenzoBB | ModMyi Repo | $1.59
This tweak allows you to modify the app switcher’s animations when switching from app to app. This tweak does provide a great deal of customization, such as bringing numerous effects to the multitasking bar and having the privilege of modifying apps’ appearances in this view. I remember hearing a great deal about this tweak in the past, but I have since long heard any news of it. I definitely recommend this tweak to anyone with a jailbroken device, as it provides a fresher look to iOS.
There are simply so many Cydia tweaks available, that we couldn’t possibly cram them all into this post. Don’t forget to look into Auxo or Springtomize 2. For more information on Cydia tweaks, head over to our Cydia blog archives or dedicated forum section.
Themes and Customization
The act of theming and customizing your jailbroken device has somewhat died in the past few years, although we hope that the iOS 6 untethered jailbreak will reinvigorate these efforts. There are a handful of awesome themes already on Cydia that are compatible with devices running iOS 6, although many others still need to be updated. Look for developers to start releasing iOS 6 themes in the days and weeks ahead.
As far as customization is concerned, there is still lots of opportunity for custom carrier logos and other elements that can be changed. Bookmark WiFi, for example, is a free modification that changes your Wi-Fi strength indicator to different color bookmarks. Each signal strength represents a different color. The graphics look really sharp, and provide some flare to your device.
Miscellaneous Jailbreak Features
Jailbreaking also provides some other benefits for more advanced users. Most notable is .plist hacks and HEX editing, which can allow for you to do things such as disable over-the-air software updates, increase camera megapixels, enable battery percentage and more. iFans has a master list of .plist hacks and HEX editing within the discussion forums, although iOS 6 compatibility is not guaranteed yet.
We’re thoroughly excited that the iOS 6 untethered jailbreak has finally arrived, and you should be too. Set your device free and experience the awesomeness described above, plus dive into the iFans discussion forums for even more jailbreak-related conversations.
A well-deserved thank you to Stephen Hall, Jonathan Kizer, Marcus Nguyen, Tristan (Tkf1) and the iFans Community Development team for contributing to this report. If you notice any factual inaccuracies, please address the issue in the comment section.