New iPad gets a jailbreak almost immediately after launch

Mar 20, 2012
Tech

It’s only Tuesday, and already, enterprising users have found a way to jailbreak the new iPad tablet Apple released Friday. PC World has the story, detailing how users have been able to bypass Apple’s software security systems in order to allow them to make software changes and install apps that aren’t approved by the iPad […]

It’s only Tuesday, and already, enterprising users have found a way to jailbreak the new iPad tablet Apple released Friday.

PC World has the story, detailing how users have been able to bypass Apple’s software security systems in order to allow them to make software changes and install apps that aren’t approved by the iPad maker. “Jailbreaking” Apple devices – also known as “rooting” them – allows users to break Apple’s tight control of the devices and access alternative app stores, such as Cydia.

The brand new jailbreak for the iPad, which many buyers just got their hands on over the weekend, is specific to both the device and to the latest version of Apple’s iOS platform software, version 5.1. As PC World reports, one jailbreak group known as the Dev-Team has found three potential ways to jailbreak an iPad running iOS 5.1 and details the steps required, complete with photos, on its website. One of the exploits allows users to make use of an old jailbreaking method that Apple didn’t close off when it updated its iOS software to version 5.1.

The speed at which the jailbreaks have been discovered and made available is pretty remarkable. Last year, it took one hacking group, GreenPois0n, some 10 months to find a way to hack the iPad 2 and open it up to unapproved apps and software, mostly due to Apple’s powerful A5 dual-core processor. It seems that perhaps the heavy lifting for the new iPad jailbreak was actually completed after the iPad 2’s release, given the speed with which hackers have found a way through Apple’s software and the fact that tools previously found to work are working for the newly-released device.

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Apple doesn’t like jailbreaking, but the courts have ruled that tampering with Apple’s devices once a user ones them isn’t illegal. That said, jailbreak your device with caution, because it makes it vulnerable to software and other exploits that Apple has protected against with its software. Apple techs also will refuse to work on jailbroken devices if they’re brought to Apple Stores, and Apple maintains that jailbreaking voids the warranty on those devices.

On the other hand, Apple is very strict about the control it exerts over its products, and iOS device owners have no choice but to buy and use software and content through Apple’s channels without a jailbreak. So it comes down to each users’ preferences: is it better to break the control and run the risk, or stay within Apple’s relatively safe walled garden with fewer choices? Either way, thanks to some enterprising hackers, the option exists.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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