This week has gone by faster than usual. Perhaps the Apple event made the days come and go quicker but nevertheless it’s Friday. This is the day I’ve been known to spout off about a topic that I feel needs further attention. This week I go after those who feel the need to warn people that jailbreaking your iPhone can “brick” it.

I recently posted an article announcing the recent jailbreak of my iPhone 4. Having been away from the dark side since my iPhone 3G, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the process.

Imagine my surprise when I looked for information about the risks and came across a legitimately regarded site that tells me I could brick my device if I jailbreak it. Bricking means the device is beyond repair and will never be able to function at any level again. Ignoring the hype I went to JailbreakMe and performed the hack in minutes without issue.

I don’t know one person who has legitimately bricked their iPhone or any other iDevice for that matter. Not one. Surely if a simple jailbreak was capable of doing this I would have heard of at least one example of it happening. This leads me to question whether or not these tech sites actually know of anyone who has either. So why give the disclaimer on nearly every article that relates to jailbreaking?

I admittedly know very little about programming but I imagine if you go into an app that accesses the root you could mess up your device real bad. I do know that doing this would have to be nearly intentional since you would have to download the app and knowingly go beyond your knowledge. At that point you deserve whatever pile you step in.

Perhaps these bigger sites that invariably warn their readers about bricking their devices are protecting themselves not only from user complaints, but protecting their relationship with Apple. By stating an unrealistic warning they are sort of shielding themselves from Apple discontinuing future invitations. A wild idea perhaps but you never know. Getting your pass pulled from Apple would be quite the consequence.

What do you think? Do you get annoyed when you read that jailbreaking can brick your device like I do or am I just being a brick head? I wonder if any of our readers know anyone who has bricked their iPhone by the definition I gave, which is the actual meaning. Let us know in our freedom of speech center known as the comment box.

  • I don’t think the jailbreaking would harm iPhone. My iPhone 4 is not factory unlocked and for that reason I must jailbreak my iPhone 4 and unlock using ultrasn0w. I’ve started to jailbreak with my old 3SG since day one, I enjoyed having a couple of hacks and still. my iPad is not jailbroken because I don’t need to unlock it.
    I used to jailbreak to get Installous, but now with my iPhone 4, I pay for every app I get, I stopped downloading cracked apps because I think paying 99 cents or even 10 bucks for an app isn’t a big deal. jailbreaking is now dead to me!
    For the record, I’m looking for a tool/app or something to ONLY unlock my iPhone 4 without jailbreaking. You may say that’s impossible but I’m still looking for something like that.

    In summery, Jailbreaking isn’t that bad but you have to be careful and never trust any source or hack without googling it.

  • Austin

    My friend tried jailbreaking his iPod touch 3G couple months ago with the software used to jailbreak iPod touch 2g. It wasn’t able to turn on at all so I told him to restore it and that fixed it.

    I guess bricking it is pretty much doing that and not restoring it.

  • Tom

    ive jb’d 3 different models of iphones now with 3 different fw versions. all flawless. i have yet to hear of a jb bricking a phone. when people say they bricked their phone during a jb, if you ask a few questions, more often than not, they have been rooting around in the files rather than the actual jb bricking the phone.
    dev team and others have gone to great lengths to make the jb process and stupid proof as anyone can make software.
    all that being said, since computer hardware and “unofficial” software is involved, im sure its possible to brick a phone, but i personally have not heard of it happening nor have a read any legitmate claims of same.
    We can all hold onto the dream that someday jb’ing iphones wont be necessary . .. .. .but alas, i fear that day is still a long way off.

  • sk@tta

    Doe anyone know where i can get the full video of the Apple Media Event to watch. The one on September 1, 2010.


    • Eric

      iTunes or really man? you have to ask this?

  • tyler

    first off most of the people here don’t know what “bricking” truly is. “bricking” is not when you try to jailbreak and your device doesnt work as expected, itunes logo stuck, doesnt turn on or whatever. If you can safely restore to factory settings then your phone isn’t “bricked”. Bricked is when your phone is dead. You have permanently screwed it up and it can not be restored. Jailbreaking today, has come a long way since the early days and I find it hard to believe people still have problems jailbreaking especially with the user land hack released recently with 4.0.1. Where are all you need was to go to a website and slide a button across the screen to jailbreak. How can you screw that up? Anyways, I agree with the author. I have never known anyone who has bricked their device to to jailbreaking. It software modding, not hardware.

    • Well said Tyler. I hate to even call the process “hacking” these days since there is zero work necessary now.

      However the term bricked became synonymous with simple error I don’t know.


      • Karen

        The same way hacking became a “bad” thing to do. Because the media hears a term and between releasing it to the general public and their own lack of knowledge/research (yes, I realize that does not apply to all as my brother is a newspaper editor), meanings get thrown by the wayside.
        Great explanation Tyler- if you can restore it, it’s not bricked. 😉

  • Burge

    All you need is Xcode to restore a bricked idevice ,if iTunes doesn’t do it for you.
    I had to do this on my sons iPod,
    If you not got Xcode just go to a apple shop and they should do it for you ( don’t tell them what you were doing though, make something up )
    Xcode just force installs the ipsw
    My sons iPod wasn’t bricked by a jailbreak though, he was trying to downgrade it and got it wrong ( don’t know how )

  • MikeLo

    I have had every iPhone since 1st gen , jailbreaking since day 1. Never ever had any problems with my iPhones. I don’t know anyone that ever bricked there iPhone .

  • SpideyRules

    I’ve “bricked” my iPhone a couple of times through the process of jailbreaking, or what would be considered bricking I guess, but always was able to connect to iTunes and restore to factory defaults if necessary.

    I have yet to have one iDevice (and I’ve jailbroken many) ever be in a state where it can’t be restored, rendering the “bricking” argument moot.

  • Lucas

    I never had any iphone that get brick. i get all kind of error in itune while trying a restore but i always been able to get trought…i dont even think you can brick a device while jailbreaking it must be a hardware faillure for a brick .. Jailbreaking are all software so EVERYTHING is erase after a restore …

  • Vik071

    What is a ” legitimate jailbreak”? Something done by big Steve-o himself? 

  • MFCH

    I’ve been stuck on the logo screen and had to restore once, but that’s what I get for going to deep while SSHing. I alway tell people the worst that can happen is that you’ll have to restore and start over; and pretty much to educate themselves first by watching YouTube vids and checking forums

  • You cannot “brick” an iPhone through any software process. There is always a way to restore it, and it’s called “DFU mode”.

    In DFU Mode, the phone is on but no OS has loaded and so the screen remains off. When it is in this mode, iTunes is capable of loading the default firmware file onto it and voila, it’s working again.

    The specific bit of code that lets DFU mode exist is in the hardware. It is not modifiable via software. Therefore there is no software process that can render the phone unable to be restored.

  • Gurps

    I’m sure jailbreaking can brick your iphone, errors like 1611 that I’ve only seen pop up on jailbroken iphones. That error along with small amount of others, have no explanation on the apple website as to what they may mean. Whereas other error codes do have explanations. I’m sure apple bricks a small amount of iPhones when a software update comes out.

    They probably don’t want to block all of them because of the legal complications they will run into if they did it on a mass scale.

    It’s a conspiracy i tells ya.

  • Gurps

    A follow up comment…I currently have an iPhone 3GS that cannot be updated or restored without it going into a boot up cycle where it can’t take me to my springboard. It’s basically stuck in recovery mode after I attempt a restore or update. I managed to get out of the loop by using tinyumbrella which has a button that kicks the iphone out of recovery mode. However, I am unable to rid myself of the jailbreak, since the restore always fails. This iPhone would be bricked unless it was for that tinyumbrella application.

    • Google for “DFU Mode”. This will *always* allow an iPhone to be restored to default settings.

  • October

    I think if ppl don’t know what their doing, read a tutorial and “give it a try” sure they can… I tried to downgrade my software last night, followed a tut and when it didn’t work unplugged & tried to turn my phone back on… Not so fast… I “stuck” my phone in DFU mode… I couldn’t even restore… I had to reverse my steps and undo an edit to a private file which was supposed to block the communication to Apple… After that all was well what helped was not getting confused, not getting scared and not giving up… A less technologically inclined person my not have gained such confidence and returned to the Apple store trying to do a return or demanding help… I have heard of it happening…

  • Lucky

    Maybo offtopic but I just wanna ask who did the photo on top? Was this a photoshop? Looks like it was done by a 7 yr old kid

  • Nate

    I have I have jailbroken every idevice since day one and never had issues. I remember back in the day when the first one came out for what… Um…. 2.?.? I don’t really remember but it’s been so long but when u had to do everything exactly right…. Hold this, then this, release that…. I remember rumors going around then about brickin which made me skeptical as a newbie on the scene, but never had issues. Once in a while things wouldn’t be compatible or a bad repo would screw up the phone and u had to restore but that happens. What’s apples moto… Think differently. Well sorry apple but that’s why I jailbreak my device so I can think different and be different from every other iPhone user. Totally worth it!!!!

  • I’ve been jailbreaking since the very first jailbreak for the iPhone 2G was released. I have NEVER heard of a device being bricked because of it. However, I have messed up devices by jailbreaking. Nothing a quick restore can’t fix though.

    • Gurps

      The jailbreak doesn’t necessarily brick your iPhone but when a restore fails constantly, then you are stuck with an iPhone that isn’t covered under warranty as you can’t rid yourself of a jailbreak

      • If a restore fails, then it’s a hardware problem and the people at the Apple Store won’t be able to restore it either (which is the first thing they’ll try). In which case they have no way to tell that it’s jailbroken.

  • I run into this too all the time. We have to JB some of the phones at work simply because the things we need are not allowed and we need them for the sales and others who travel. Anyhow, a couple of employees won’t jb because of the misinformation they read. I don’t know how many times I have told them it simply cannot happen. I have been jb’ing since the very first iPhone and never in more than 50 times of jb’ing have I bricked a phone. I have had something go wrong and had to restore but that is the worst of it. A good reason the jb community should have support is because if not for them there would not have been an app store, remember the web apps!!

  • Hugh, yeah, funny sometimes…

    I am in Colombo, Sri lanka where we have small Apple community. I even run a small family business for second-hand-used iPhones which started out of jailbreaking for fun 🙂 then friends and friends of friends satrted asking me to JB or unlock their idevices where I start getting a penny for ” saving their trouble” going through all these JB warnings… (

    It may be hundreds of phones, never bricked a one! Of cause many I have seen upgraded to latest iOS and got their “Emergency Call” screen that’s what most people regard as a brick because you can’t make calls or access it.

  • micknew889

    i JB my iphone 4 without any problems but then did a freinds and its bricked .all you see is the apple logo .if you reboot the screen clears and then the applelogo reapears but cant get it to do anything else.plugged it into itunes and the pc doesn’t even register a usb device has been plugged in.I spoke to apple who talked me through the obvious and concluded i need a replacement.
    my friend wasn’t sure if he upgraded to 4.02. so i don’t know if thats what caused the problem

    • tyler

      That’s something you should have checked before jailbreaking. And again, DFU mode should always work. Even if when you boot it normally it doesn’t recognize a usb device. DFU is different, that’s why Windows always has to install new drivers when you plug a device in that is in DFU mode. If the device can turn on then there is a way to get it back to factory settings.

  • bsq.nYc

    If you were able to restore it, it wasn’t “bricked”. A “bricked” device is beyond restoration, rendering it as useful as a brick… I’m pretty sure the term was derived from people hacking their PSP trying to install homebrew apps, and screwing up something major in the process…

    It’s easy to mess your phone up downgrading the iOS, or messing with the shell, but simply performing a Jailbreak alone will not do it…

    I think it goes without saying, but if you don’t know what the hell you’re doing, then just don’t do it and you’ll be fine… simple as that…

  • gaurav shrestha

    i ve bricked my iphone 2g after trying to jailbreak it, it doesnt restore whatever i try, now it has no wifi, no iccid, no bluetooth, no modem firmware and no sound. it is like dead! does anyone has a solution? i guess jailbreak can really brick iphones!

  • I Have Bricked one, but i messed with the ipsw file alot.
    it will not restore at all and just flashes BUT its my falt

  • I’ve “bricked” my ipod (2g mc) couple of times through the process of jailbreaking, or what would be considered bricking I guess, but always was able to connect to iTunes or xcode and restore to factory defaults if necessary.

  • outside thebox

    Or if you just go to verizon and a droid x does everything a iphone does even better without jailbreaking it

  • Deejay

    Error 1611 Ipod Touch 3Gen, hello my ipod touch has been brick or past few days, i have tried everything on youtube and on the web. I also tried the info provided on apple website

    Has anyone been successfull at fixing this problem,


  • nery

    installing ipad baseband on a new boot-room iphone 3gs can boot your iphone.

  • I have been jailbroken on many iOS verisons, jailbroken countless times, and on many devices. Sure I have “bricked” my device, but nothing DFU mode could not fix. Also many people have me jailbreak their devices and I have never once legitimately “bricked” a device. I think it would take more than jailbreaking to permately damage your device.

  • MikeG

    It’s an argument of semantics. When people say jail breaking bricks your iPhone what they’re really saying is that there will eventually be an update that forces you to restore from backup or iCloud and then re-apply the jail break. It’s easier to say “brick,” even though it’s technically incorrect, than to say “restore from backup or iCloud and reapply the jail break.”

  • Matthew Doyle

    I haven’t bricked my ipod touch (I assume it would work the same either way) but I feel like I almost did,

    I was trying to downgrade it and ended up putting it in a Pwnd DFU state…

    I ended up finally getting it out of the black screen after hours, it turned out that I was using the wrong tool to recover from it 😐