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There have always been a number of different ways to (metaphorically) skin a cat and equally there have been various methods by which to jailbreak and unlock an iPhone. Until recently, we at about here were only comfortable using the tools and methods created by the folks from the iPhone dev team. Ever since the release of Apple’s 3.1.2 firmware (and the included baseband upgrade) there hasn’t been a simple method by which to jailbreak and sim unlock your handset. Ben guest posted here giving details of how you could update to 3.1 using custom firmware.

In the meantime, there’s a new player on the jailbreaking field. Well, he’s not that new, but his visibility has grown exponentially due to his development of a very simple and equally effective jailbreak and sim unlock tool set which works on both Macs and Windows platforms. The iPhone Dev Team have endorsed and acknowledged this new player’s efforts and as such, we at about here are embracing it too.

The developer, known as @geohot released blackra1n and it’s accompanying blacksn0w applications earlier this month. As expected they were both free and caused quite a bit of interest; they were the number one trending topic on Twitter for a number of hours. Both Sam and I have restored our iPhones and followed @geohot’s process successfully jailbreaking and sim unlocking our handsets. We have detailed below the key steps involved, but in all honesty feel it is appropriate to direct you to iClarified’s web site where they have a brilliant guide (with images) that we don’t feel we can better!

The following prep & walkthrough guide covers the following devices ONLY:

  • iPhone 2G
  • iPhone 3G
  • iPhone 3GS
  • iPod Touch
  • iPod Touch 2G

For those with a new iPhone 3GS (updated Bootrom), BlackRa1n only supports a tethered jailbreak. This means that once jailbroken you should not let your battery die. If it does die you will need to reconnect it to the computer and use BlackRa1n to boot it.

Right lets get down to business:

  • Download/upgrade to iTunes
    iTunes should offer an automated upgrade, however if it doesn’t you can download it from here
  • Connect & backup your iPhone:
    Right click on your iPhone and select ‘Backup’ – You will get offered to download & upgrade your iPhone device to 3.1.2, ensure you select ‘Download Only’ option

  • Restore & upgrade to 3.1.2:
    Ensure that the 3.1.2 firmware has fully downloaded, now left click on your iPhone & click on ‘Restore’ (below ‘Check for Update’) – At the confirmation select ‘Restore & Upgrade’

    Why are we restoring instead of a simple upgrade? Well this is due to the fact that a simple upgrade will unjailbreak your iPhone but KEEPS the apps which you installed from Cydia, meaning that as well as losing access to jailbreak apps you’d also lose all the disk space used by those apps! Restoring will wipe the partition in which those apps are stored freeing the space up

  • Download blackra1n:
    Click here to download blackra1n (chose the version relevant to your Operating System by clicking on the appropriate image Apple / Windows). DO NOT get this from any other source.
  • Jailbreak your iPhone with blackra1n (Pt 1):
    Make sure your iPhone is connected via USB cable and powered on. Close iTunes and then launch the blackra1n application. Click on the button “Make it ra1n” and wait. Your iPhone will reboot and the boot screen will momentarily be replaced with an image of @geohot. Once the jailbreak procedure completes, your iPhone will reboot again and appear as normal..

  • Jailbreak your iPhone with blackra1n (Pt2):
    Once your iPhone boots normally you should note a new icon on your springboard. It’s blackra1n. Tap it and you’ll be presented with four options:

    – Cydia
    – Rock
    – sn0w
    – Uninstall blackra1n.

    To install Cydia, choose Cydia, to choose Rock (lighter than Cydia, offers similar functionality) select Rock. You can install both if desired, having one or both will allow you to access jailbroken applications for installation. Without at least one, you won’t be able to install anything not on the App Store on your freshly jailbroken iPhone.
    At this point you can restore your personal data, iTunes should prompt you if you want to either restore from the backup you hopefully took earlier or set it up as a new device.

That’s your iPhone 3.1.2 Jailbroken!

Optional step: Carrier / Sim Unlock (blacksn0w)

Now you are jailbroken, let’s look at how we unlock your iPhone to any network.

NOTE: If you plan on using a USA T-Mobile sim, turn off 3G.

From your iPhone open blackra1n

Tap to select to install snow.

Once the installation completes, you are sim unlocked. It’s that simple! Pop in your alternative sim card and you’ll see reception appear after a few brief moments! No need to reboot.

Of course, don’t forget to set up your APNs for Internet access and MMS – under Settings, General. These vary from carrier to carrier. We have details for Vodafone UK and an external link for all UK networks.

Thanks and comments

Huge thanks and kudos to the iPhone Dev Team. You guys are awesome! Even bigger thanks to @geohot for releasing this really simple platform and allowing us to upgrade.

As a final note, some people have attempted to attribute some Wi-Fi issues they’ve experienced to the blackra1n unlock. The reality is very much different. This is an Apple bug which @geohot has offer to fix for Apple. There have been some people reporting GPS issues too, but neither Sam nor I have experienced either.

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