New iPhone 3GS bootrom not jailbreak-proof! With a catch

Current jailbreak tools still work with the new 3GS iPhones, though a major caveat may make jailbreaking impractical for now

When Apple released the new iPhone 3GS with an updated bootrom, many reports claimed it rendered the handset "unhackable" or "jailbreak-proof." I maintained such reports were overdramatic and it was only a matter of time before a new exploit was discovered. While the Dev-Team is undoubtedly working hard in finding a new exploit for the 3GS bootrom, in the meantime, Dev-Team member Eric McDonald addressed sensationalized reports in a Wired interview released yesterday.

"It's not going to be impossible to jailbreak even if the exploit we used is gone," explained McDonald. In fact, it turns out the current tools still work with the new stock of 3GS phones, though there is one major caveat that may make jailbreaking impractical for the time being. Without the use of the "24kpwn" exploit used in previous models, a jailbroken 3GS will only boot after being turned off while tethered to a computer. That means if you are away from home and your phone runs out of power, you can only turn it back on by plugging the device in to a computer, not a wall socket. It also means that you're out of luck until you get home if you experience a crash that requires a reboot (which, regrettably does happen every once in a while- especially on a hacked phone).

A similar situation occurred when Apple shipped the second-generation iPod Touch with a different bootrom. For a little while, iPod Touch users could also only boot their devices when tethered to a computer, though the Dev-Team eventually released a fix. I suspect the new 3GS will play out in a similar fashion.

It seems lately that Apple has been devoting a lot of time and energy into stifling products and features that iPhone users clearly want for their device. Perhaps Apple's resources could be better spent elsewhere. The iPhone is still the best smartphone on the market, but with so many soon to be released contenders, Apple should stop frustrating users and make sure they keep innovating to stay ahead of the curve.

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Mike Keller

PC World (US online)
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