iOS 4.1 jailbreak arrives, but do you want it?

It's not as simple as the browser-based iOS 4.0 jailbreak, and it's currently for Windows only--but it works. The question is, should you even bother?

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read

Limera1n can jailbreak iOS 4.1 devices--but it's a little tricky.
Limera1n can jailbreak iOS 4.1 devices--but it's a little tricky. Screenshot by Rick Broida

Almost a month ago to the day, I reported that hackers had found a way to jailbreak iOS 4.1--and asked if it was worth the hassle anymore. That question generated lots of great discussion, and now is the perfect time to revisit it.

That's because an iOS 4.1 jailbreak, Limera1n, is now in the wild. Unlike the JailbreakMe hack that made jailbreaking iOS 4.0 as simple as loading a URL in your iPhone's browser, Limera1n requires a PC and a download--one that's currently available for Windows only.

To use the hack, start by connecting your iPhone (3G, 3GS, or 4), iPod Touch 4G, or iPad. (Note that I used my iPhone 3GS, so I can't promise the results will be the same with other devices.) Let iTunes do its thing, just to make sure you have a full and working backup.

Warning: proceed at your own risk!

Run the Limera1n executable, then click "make it ra1n." In a moment the program will instruct you to hold down the Home and Power buttons. Do that for a few seconds, then look for it to say "release power button." Do that, but make sure to keep holding the Home button until you see the message, "in DFU mode...wait."

In less than a minute you should see a "Done" message, after which your iPhone/iPod/iPad will turn itself off. Hold down the Power button to fire it back up.

All this worked smoothly for me (though a handful of my Camera Roll thumbnails got blacked out for some reason), and afterward I found a Limera1n icon on my iPhone. Tapping it led me to a screen where I could download jailbreak-app store Cydia--though I had to reboot my 3GS before the Cydia icon would appear.

So, now, let's get back to the big question: is jailbreaking still worth the effort? Are there enough must-have apps, and, if so, what are they? (Check out 5 killer apps for jailbroken iPhones if you're looking for some.)

Personally, I'm still enamored with tethering solutions like MyWi 4.0 and PdaNet, though I must admit I don't use either one very much. Other than that, I can easily live without jailbreaking.

How about you?