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Jailbreak for iOS 4.3.1 arrives, except for iPad 2

Less than two weeks after iOS 4.3.1 gets released, the latest in a long series of tools for users to gain a higher degree of control over their iOS devices begins making the rounds.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read
The latest release of the PwnageTool works with iOS 4.3.1 on a handful of iOS devices that can run it. CNET

The cat-and-mouse game between Apple and the iOS hacking community is still afoot, with the recent release of an update to a tool that allows users to gain low-level system access and install unapproved third-party applications on iOS devices.

The iPhone Dev Team (not to be confused with Apple's own team that develops iOS), has released the latest version of its PwnageTool and RedSn0w tools, both of which let people jailbreak their iOS devices. The big news with this one is that it's "untethered," which means people don't have to worry about having to re-do the jailbreak process every time they reboot their devices.

The new versions of the software, which were published to the group's blog last night, as well as on BitTorrent and more than a dozen mirrors, work on all devices that support iOS 4.3.1, short of the CDMA version of the iPhone 4, and the iPad 2. And as with previous versions of the PwnageTool, it remains a Mac-only affair, though RedSn0w works on both Macs and PCs.

According to the Dev Team blog, the reason for the iPad 2 omission is not for lack of trying. The latest in the series of Apple's iOS devices cannot be exploited using Limera1n or SHAtter, two techniques that target the boot ROM, something Apple began hardening with the iPhone 3GS. As for the tool not working on the CDMA iPhone 4, that's because the device was not given the update to iOS 4.3 as the other devices were.

This is not the first jailbreak for iOS 4.3.1, but it's the first to offer users an untethered option. A tethered option was released within hours of Apple putting out the minor iOS update in late March.

Jailbreaking continues to be a hot button topic for Apple and the developer community. Apple has eventually added many of the features and types of applications users previously could only get by jailbreaking their devices, but jailbreaking also represents a security risk with applications being able to do more than Apple allows with its own development tools.

As a result, Apple has made a habit of issuing hardware and software releases that close the security holes being exploited. Likewise, some developers with apps that were not approved or had been removed from the App Store have taken to third-party application stores to offer their software.

Anyone brave enough to give this a try?