Wow, where do you start with these guys? They are probably the reason most of you have iPhones, and they are definitely the reason Sebastien and I are writing to you guys all the time. You certainly couldn’t “liberate your iPhone” without these guy’s transcendent work.

Known to each other by their IRC names like “musclenerd” and “pytey“, and known to everyone else as simply, The Dev Team. They are a group of dedicated programmers and hackers, each with their own set of unique but advanced skill set, that come together to bring us jailbreak programs like RedSn0w and PwnageTool and unlocks like UltraSn0w.

From all around the world, these guys meet on IRC and work during their free time. With so many members in different time zones, The Dev Team’s work on the iPhone is almost constant, especially after Apple releases a new update.

But don’t think these guys are one trick ponies. Several of them are doing work with the upcoming Android platform, and these guys have actually entered hacking contests. Chaos Communication Congress Capture The Flag Competition in Berlin to be exact. Live and in person, The Dev Team actually won the competition by a a hefty margin. They have come a long way, enduring many accomplishments and evolution.

Although there have been several changes within The Dev Team, both in personnel and policy, one thing remains the same, they continue to lead the fight against Apple’s tight user restriction policies. Without their software, users like us would not be able to customize our backgrounds, our icons, hell our phones!

One thing I continue to respect about these guys is that they’re not looking to make money. Whether it’s for legal or moral reasons, these guys maintain an ad free blog site that “Pytey” of The Dev Team told Mobile Crunch receives in the neighborhood of 3.5million hits around a jailbreak/unlock release date. They also continue to turn down cash offers to those sleazy overnight jailbreak startup websites that charge you for “their” software.

In fact they publicly have despised these websites in an effort to warn users of their sketchy practices. This might also have something to do with their dispute with a Jody Sanders, of West Midlands, UK. Seems this gentleman was using a large amount of The Dev Team’s work in his software and was making quite a profit. I don’t know that I would wanna piss off guys with these kinds of skills, they sound like they’ve already uncovered a lot of information about him and posted publicly on their blog asking for more help tracking him down.

With publicly followed drama of almost celebrity status (well among popular iPhone and gadget blogs) The Dev Team’s former member George “GeoHot” Hotz and his former colleagues didn’t see eye to eye on a lot of things. It seems a lot of the problems began when Hotz went public with his completely unlocked iPhone, having worked with The Dev Team just months before. They actually referred to him as the “self appointed media front man” that led a “media circus” in 2007.

For those of you that don’t recall, Hotz was given a new Nissan 350z and other things in return for his jailbroken iPhone. A year later their dispute resurfaced as GeoHot obtained a copy of the exploit used to jailbreak iphone 2.0 firmware for 1st gens and 3G, from a Dev Team member and threatened the Dev Team with releasing his own jailbreak software, using that exploit if they didn’t release PwnageTool at a sooner date.

So why do they continue to put up with the pressure of hitting release dates, scammers that steal their work, and others that throw stones at them when they don’t conform. It’s a hobby. Some people relax by fishing or reading, these guys really get down on soldering and disassembling things, especially iPhones.

Since their initial software releases in 2007, the Dev Team has continued with this game of cat and mouse with Apple. They find an exploit, use it, Apple covers it up in an update, and then they start all over again. Until recently, Apple has been relatively quiet about jailbreaking and the hackers behind the software.

Their license agreement of their latest developer kit (suite of software and info released to app developers as often as software is updated) actually adds a clause forbidding developers to work on jailbroken equipment. But as developers continue to find reasons or are forced to leave Apple’s App Store, the jailbroken platform gains more and more momentum. Especially as Apple has yet to see any success on fighting the users right to do what they want with a product they purchased.

Regardless it appears things are going to get interesting and The Dev Team isn’t going anywhere. Their latest blog notes that this recent firmware update 3.1.3 was released just to flush out exploits before the release of a major update, probably iPhone 4.0. Obviously, being the tricky tricksters they are, The Dev Team aren’t biting. Their current release of Pwnage Tool uses old, ported exploits and they aren’t releasing anything new until they see Apple’s next move. Man this stuff could be in movies.

P.S. @Dev-Team : you guys gonna make my iPad cooler?

  • Juan

    you are absolute right. I wouldn’t own an iPhone if I couldn’t jailbreak it.

  • I would never have bought the iPhone if I could not Jailbreak it.
    And I was lucky, I bought my 3GS about a week before they updated it so it could not be properly jailbroken.

  • It support london

    Thanks for the writeup. I have been looking for a jailbreak for my 3GS every day but nothing. It’s nice to know the reasons why so I guess we will just have to wait. Damn , that means I gotta spend cash on tomtom until something happens.

  • Well, don’t spend it on Tomtom, get Navigon, I tried the three big TomTom, Navigon and iGo before buying and Navigon was by far the best.
    I was going for iGo since I had it on WinMo, but they failed on the iPhone version, so Navigon got my money.

    And it is possible to Jailbreak the newer 3GS, but whenever you need to reboot, something you will hardly be doing, you need to be connected to the computer to boot it.

    I got mine before they did that update, so I do not need to have it connected when rebooting.

  • Spazbite

    if it wasnt for the Devs then i think alot of us iphone users woulda sold by now and got a different phone even tho nothing comes close to it, i just want apple to put a decent camera in it, like a 5mp or higher they can do it, so why dont they challenge other phone companies and give a higher spec phone that no 1 can touch.

  • Jeton

    This is a really nice written history of the DevTeam. I’ve read some details I didn’t knew before.

    We forget quite often that without the work of these (which they seem to enjoy doing for free) we wouldn’t probably had this blog (at least not in this form) let alone the apps and the various tweaks that make the iPhone such a useful device.

    P.S. Have you tried interviewing someone from the DevTeam?
    MuscleNerd seems to be the “unofficial” spokesperson, I would love to read an interview with him.


    Hi Dev team thankyou for the history of the iPhone jailbreak as you said there sites out there taken money of us pensioners that are hard up at best of times I was. Duped to one of these sites and cost me dearly as I miss my jailbreak iPhone 3gs as I said I stupitly upgraded to new baseband 05.12.01 and just waiting for a new jailbreak sorry for sob story. But appreiate all the hard work yous lads. Do many thanks EDDIE


    Thanks boys and girls if any for the great work you are doing as pensioner I am looking forward to release of new jailbreak for my iPhone 3gs as it is my copanion yours EDDIE

  • Keep up the good work.

    Your comments about “others” re-packaging your work and selling it as their own is dispicible and amounts to highway robbery.

    Not only are they selling something that isn’t theirs but in the majority of cases they screw up the poor individuals iPhone with their “additives” to the Dev Team’s software.

    I have a first gen 2G iPhone and live in an area where their was no support for iPone by ANY carriers and without the PwnageTool would not have been able to use an expensive piece of hardware bought overseas.

    All I can say that without the Dev Team’s work the world would be a darker place!

    Keep up the good work.


  • Mast3rShan3

    Oh man, the movie Hackers. Brings back SOOO MUCH MEMORIES! Going to go buy it right now actually! (Talking about the picture 🙂 )

    As for the article, it was a well informed read. Thanks for that!

  • @jeton : I was a little weary about asking anyone for an interview. I know they have done it in the past but I also know how important anonimity is in their line of work. I will keep that in mind though, as these guys and their work are very interesting, I can’t believe I forgot this in the article but, the dev-team does have a place to donate on their blog, please drop in and give them something, even 5$ helps. As i said these guys do all of their work for free, and work hard to keep it free. Thanks for reading guys, lots more interesting stuff to come!

  • Pratik

    Well, the author clearly does not know what /dev/null is…
    Donations are not sought by the Dev team!
    Just to set the record straight…anyways a nice read 🙂

  • awesome article!
    keep it up dev-team

  • Jashpfc

    Massive thanx to all you guys for your endless hours of hard work… Without jailbrake the iPhone would have become a bit boring by now.. But as it is I still love it… ;”)

  • This is a good article, but the dev team are not the only ones behind the jailbreaks. Many other people and groups have helped bring you jailbroken iPhones in the past.

    For example, in the beginning, Nullriver designed a fantastic packaging system called Installer.app. Of course, it had its flaws, but where would 1.x jailbreaks have been without it? (Yes, I know, there was Pxl, but that just wasn’t as good in my opinion)

    In more recent times, of course, there’s geohot, who you alluded to… He released purplera1n and blackra1n with no help from the dev team, as well as blacksn0w, a groundbreaking unlock for 3.1.2… And basically none of the most recent exploits were found by the dev team… The most recent unlocks were found by Oranav and iH8sn0w, and the most recent jailbreaks were found by geohot and the Chronic Dev Team.

    The Chronic Dev Team also contributed greatly to the finding and development of 24kpwn, which is an exploit that is the sole reason 2nd generation iPod touches and newer can be jailbroken untethered. (Apple fixed 24kpwn in the 3rd generation touch and later iPhone 3GSs)

    Anyway, sorry for the rant, just saying, the Dev Team isn’t the only player in the jailbreak game.

  • hellodrsoul

    i own a 3gs,using it in Pakistan.i am a medical student and things like Medical apps and many of the Cydia apps are extremely important for me.i have managed many patient in hospital,just because of my jailbroken iPhone.and i believe in dev teams the most after my religion.i usually get emotional,when i hear”iPhone dev team”. Thank you and may God meet all your hopes and desires.

  • I find it quite disturbing and annoying that after all the talk about others stealing the dev-team’s work, there is an ad of a false 3.1.3 unlock advertisement right below the article.

    Now I understand that it’s the google who’s hosting the ad but I was pretty sure you could block certain company ads.

    Please partake in the effort to drive those idiots out of the scene.


  • Cody Lee

    @Ari Of course there are lots of other people who played a part in mission “iPhone : total freedom.” Why what about Saurik? His work on cydia and jailbreak utilities and fixes have definitely contributed. Not to mention his letter to the US copyright office to fight Apple on users rights to modify software inside their purchased products. I plan on behind the exploits to be a recurring article.

  • @Cody Lee

    Hi Cody,

    I certainly agree, Saurik is a huge contributor… The only reason I didn’t talk about him in my comment is because he is actually on the iPhone dev team 😉

  • l wasnt pleading a case for him, more or less eluding to what the next
    behind the exploit article is going to be about. :op

    it’s actually rather fascinating diggin up info on these guys
    with all the brainpower.

  • OK, cool. In any case, I’m glad you will continue with this series, as it’s a great idea.

    I am personally a member of the Chronic Dev Team and would be glad to contribute information on them (or anyone else in the scene) if you so desire 😉

  • Blaqchild

    After a discussion with my dear friend who works as part of Apple’s iPhone development team. Apple does realise that it is thanks to The Dev Team the the iPhone has become a success. As more than 55% of iPhones are Jailbroken. Hence the reason the they do not take major actions to to stop Jailbreaks. The do have solutions to completle kill jailbreaking but don’t as they would lose majority of sales targets and the iPhone would not be as desired as it is been for 3 years. Also they do realise that the only way of keeping their Market share and not lose it to Google and their Androide is by allowing the Dev Team to keep doing what they do best ” help Market and sale” iPhones. In regards to firmware 3.1.3, it was a stratiegic move to reduce jailbreak so the can increase sales from App store for a few months, they do realise that the dev. team is waiting for 4.0 firmware which is not due befor August. They do have other minor update in mind but not 4.0.
    If I get any more info I will let you know…

  • Blaqchild, I’m sorry, but that story does not add up. It is absolutely not true that 55% of iPhone users are jailbroken, the number is currently around 10%.

    If Apple wanted jailbreaking to stay, they would not be viciously fixing bootloader holes.

  • Blaqchild

    @ Ari Weinstein, really sorry dude. it should be 15%, typo from my end. Around more than 15% of iPhones are modified in a way or other.

    Sorry for the typo again.

  • Sounds more realistic, thanks 🙂

  • Ron

    Great write up, these guys are working hard on their own dime. I really appreciate all the intense labor they put into these iPhone and iPod Touch jailbreaks. These are the types of people that make the world just a little more tolerable and the things we do on a daily basis a lot easier.

  • Gio

    Dev-team is bad a, I love what they do, and I wish I could do it myself. Keep up the awesome work Dev team! Hoping to see the 3.1.3 jailbreak firmware out soon! 😀

  • andrew

    they are great! Are they going to be able to unlock 3.1.3. ive been sitting here since i accidently updated it and still havent found a program thats been able to jailbreak iphone

  • Hunkar

    Dev team
    thank u very much for what u did and what u guys r doing.
    The experiance with jailbroken iPhone is great without that iPhone is nothing believe me. Simple words u guys put a life in it.

  • hjgk

    I wish they said that they were waiting for 4.0 somewhere noticeable that I could see.

  • Annie

    All I can say is THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart! Your blog has helped in so MANY ways! If it was not for finding this blog, I would still have a broken iPhone 3G after paying $50 bucks for some dude at a MALL kiosk who actually made my phone worst. After countless hours and almost lost hope I thought I had done for and almost threw my phone in trash. Between this blog and the recommendation from KOI2281 – I was able to jailbrake and unlock my phone the right way and it took less than 20 mins! Since then, I have used this Blog to get tips on helping performance and up to date information on any iPhone updates! Thanks so MUCh! Love ya!

    Annie 🙂

    • Hey Annie, thank you for the positive feedback. I’m glad we were able to help you out.

  • More and more devs will be moving toward android platform

  • It is refreshing to see devs not in it for the money alone.