How Far We’ve Come: The Original iPhone Jailbreak Took 74 Steps [Jailbreak]

first iPhone jailbreak

Jailbreaking has come a long way since the dark ages of the original iPhone. Now it’s a simple matter of plugging your iOS device into your computer for five minutes and following a few easy steps. But it used to be way more complex.

Let’s rewind to 2007, back when only a handful of hackers were tweaking and unlocking their iPhones and iPod touches. It took 74 individual steps to jailbreak the original iPhone OS.

“Jailbreaks for the iPod touch first surfaced a month after the first model was released in September 2007, when hackers released JailbreakMe 1.0 (also called “AppSnapp”) to jailbreak iPhone OS 1.1.1.,” according to Wikipedia. Once you jailbreak, you can install apps and system-level tweaks that Apple doesn’t allow in the App Store.

Today I stumbled across this interesting MacRumors forum thread from 2007. It details each step for performing the first public jailbreak. The poster said, “Hey all, I take NO CREDIT for this guide, I followed it on the #itouch irc channel from the amazing planetbeing!” An IRC channel is an online chat room were hackers and coders collaborate. Planetbeing is the same hacker who is currently spearheading the impending iOS 6.1 jailbreak.

The tutorial is full of tedious terminal commands and SSH-related steps that would make most jailbreakers give up and walk away today. An except:

34. Rename “chmod” in the iPhuc folder to “update”.

35. In iPhuc, “putfile update”, so you’re replacing /usr/sbin/update

with chmod.

36. “cd /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/”

37. “getfile com.apple.update.plist”

38. Open com.apple.update.plist in a text editor

Right after it says <string>/usr/sbin/update</string> add:

<string>555</string>
<string>/bin/chmod</string>
<string>/bin/sh</string>
<string>/usr/bin/dropbear</string>

39. Save the file. Upload the modified version with “putfilecom.apple.update.plist”

40. Also, “putfile au.asn.ucc.matt.dropbear.plist”

41. Reboot the iPod twice. The first reboot should set the required permissions. The second should start the ssh server (since proper permissions are now set). And close iPhuc.

For comparison, the last major public jailbreak for the iPhone 4S looked like this:

Screen-Shot-2012-01-20-at-12-2.36.18-PM

The next jailbreak tool for iOS 6.1, named evasi0n, looks to be the most simplistic and clean method of jailbreaking yet. It’s slated to drop within the next few days.

  • leetut

    Absinthe never worked for me had to wait for redsnow to add rocky raccoon to their tool :( was the shittest jailbreak ever, here’s hoping for better luck Sunday!

  • DamB247

    Really leetut, I guess the other million and a half or so in the first few days were just lucky with Absinthe.

  • hanhothi

    Apple are constantly trying to stop Jailbreaking because it enables the installation of stolen apps, and I can understand why. However, one of the big problems with iOS is the lack of ability to take control, Apple’s infamous “Walled Garden”.

    Maybe if they changed their attitude over this and allowed many of the tweaks that people want into the App Store so WE have control over our devices, the desire and advantages of Jailbreaking would fade for many people. Of course they would have to change iOS to allow people the ability to tweak their device. Big change of attitude needed, so I cannot see it happening.

  • hanhothi

    Apple are constantly trying to stop Jailbreaking because it enables the installation of stolen apps, and I can understand why. However, one of the big problems with iOS is the lack of ability to take control, Apple’s infamous “Walled Garden”.

    Maybe if they changed their attitude over this and allowed many of the tweaks that people want into the App Store so WE have control over our devices, the desire and advantages of Jailbreaking would fade for many people. Of course they would have to change iOS to allow people the ability to tweak their device. Big change of attitude needed, so I cannot see it happening.

  • AriWeinstein

    This article is misleading. The 74-step jailbreak covered here was not the original iPhone jailbreak. It was the first Windows-based 1.1.1 jailbreak. There were several before it – and several GUIs making them easy-to-use. Nullriver’s AppTapp jailbroke 1.0-1.0.2, and looked like this: http://cl.ly/image/1y0K341a392X

    Just days after the 74-step process was developed, much easier 1.1.1 jailbreaks were released. There were two, at first – one I made for Mac, called iJailBreak (http://cl.ly/image/2h0x2o2U2P20), one for Windows called touchFree, made by planetbeing (one of the developers behind the upcoming iOS 6.1 jailbreak). They were just as easy to use as Absinthe. And a few weeks later, the community developed JailbreakMe for 1.1.1, which allowed users to jailbreak simply by visiting a website.

    The assertion that we’ve come a long way because jailbreaking is now easy to do is wrong. Jailbreaks always start out as a complicated process, then developers automate it and release it as a simple tool. The only difference is that before, the process was so simple that it could be distilled into a 74-step manual process. Now it’s more complicated.

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a staff writer at Cult of Mac and co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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