With the release of the RedSn0w iOS 4.2.1 jailbreak, the notion of tethered jailbreak has been reintroduced and there seems to be a little bit of confusion about what’s different between a tethered and untethered jailbreak.

I’ve seen many comments asking more clarification about what a tethered/untethered jailbreak is, so I thought I’d give you a quick and simple explanation…

Untethered actually means nothing to you. You can reboot your iPhone, turn it off and back on without any problem. Your iPhone will boot as it normally does. Everything will work properly on your iPhone.

Tethered means that for various possible reasons, you will have to use your computer to boot your device. At the time I am writing this, if you used RedSn0w 0.9.6b4 to jailbreak your iPhone 4 for example, you might have to use RedSn0w to start your iPhone every time you reboot it. If that’s the case, you have to launch RedSn0w, plug your iPhone in and select to “just boot tethered right now”.

A tethered jailbreak is obviously not convenient at all. I actually haven’t updated my iPhone 4 to iOS 4.2.1 yet for this reason (and the fact there is no unlock for the iPhone 4).

iPhone hackers such as Comex are working hard on a way to untether the iOS 4.2.1 jailbreak, so there is hope that you won’t have to deal with the whole tethered thing in the near future.

  • Bram

    Why do you have the choice between a tethered or ontethered jailbreak? Or is it for the 3G users who already jailbroke tethered?

    • Shrike1978

      iPhone 3G, early bootrom 3GS, and early bootrom iPhone 2G’s are the only devices that are untethered on 4.2.1 at the moment. They use a different exploit (Pwnage) that allows the chain of trust to be completely compromised. That exploit has been fixed in newer devices and the exploit they use (limera1n) can always be used to compromise the device enough to jailbreak it, but it will always rely on a second exploit to allow it to boot untethered. Even current 4.1 tools do this. The exploit to untether 4.2.1 has not been completed yet, so on these devices on 4.2.1, the only option is you want to jailbreak is to plug your device into a computer each time you reboot it to kick it through the rest of the boot process.

      For this reason, the current 4.2.1 jailbreak are really more for developers who need to update their apps/tweaks than the end user.

      • Shrike1978

        Oops…that shoudl ready iPod 2G…

  • adnan

    after 4.2.1 my ipad became tethered what is the solution

    • Shrike1978

      Wait for the untether patch. Nothing else you can do.


    Hello, I know that’s not related to tye topic, but please sebastien can you tell me when do you think that unlock for baseband 5.14.02 for iphone 3g?

    I hope you can reply.


    • Dude read the dev team blog!!! Unlock for 3G should be coming out this week, probably today! iPhone 4 users have to wait because there is no unlock for us, but you should be good.

  • I’ve always said that tethered, while inconvenient is okay for iPod & iPad. It is not, however, a real smart solution for an iPhone, especially if it’s your primary means of communication. Say you have an emergency, and you phone accidentally restarts, crashes, or just dies. Well, you can’t restart it until you have access to a computer. So if you have a flat tire in the middle of nowhere, you can forget about calling AAA.

    • Thor

      I am very new to all this and humbly bow to your expertise. However my understanding was if you had to reboot it would revert to normal state without your jailbreak apps so you could at least use the phone. Provided you do not require an unlock. Please correct me if I missunderstand.

      • Shrike1978

        It will only reboot usably if you don’t hook Springboard or CommCenter. It’s almost guaranteed that you hook one of these. SBSettings hooks Springboard, as do any icon tweaks (the Infini series, Gridlock, Iconoclasm, 5 Icon Dock), and lots more. MyFi, iBlacklist, Signal, Ultrasn0w, etc hook CommCenter. If you run any of these, it will not reboot without plugging it into a computer.

  • Mick

    I thought the previous jailbreak, ‘jailbroke for life’. What did that mean? Clearly it didn’t mean “jailbroke for life”.

    • Shrike1978

      Read my earlier post. All devices current are jailbreakable forever. Whether it’s tethered or not, it’s still jailbroken. No one tried to claim that 3.1.2 wasn’t jailbroken just because the jailbreak was tethered. Every version is still going to have to be untethered independently…that was stated very clearly from the start.

    • It is “jailbreak for life”. You can still jailbreak your iPhone 4 4.2.1, but it will be tethered…

  • StanTheMan

    The difference is my MB model iPod and my 3GS with an old bootrom are both unteathered…lol

  • babilo

    for thether boot? The computer needs redsnow only or redsnow+itunes?
    Just curious has anybody tried 4.2.1 with gp or limerain? Will the redsnow can reboot it?

  • Bob Laublaw

    To clarify – if you have to reboot and you are away from your mac/pc with redsnow – the phone WILL boot up and you can use all normal functions, phone, e-mail, etc, EXCEPT for the jailbroken apps. This might be an issue if say, you are traveling, using a jailbroken TomTom GPS app, and you suddenly have to reboot. No more TomTom, but your phone works. Just install a copy of Redsnow for mac or windows on all the pcs you access – laptops, pc at work, mac at home, etc. But be sure to also copy the .ipsw firmware file. So come on – tether up and live dangerously!

    • shrike1978

      With exceptions. Read my post earlier. If you hook CommCenter (quite possible) or Springboard (almost certain), it will not boot at all.

  • bahha

    thank you now i got it . i have a 3G iphone so i’m safe to upgrade and unlock as soos as the ultrasn0w is realised hopfully tomorrow
    another thing is the new ios better than 4.1 if not there s no need to update

  • Vivey

    I’m on the iPhone4 4.1os and have not jail broken yet. What are my best steps to have an untethered Jail break with the capability to unlock? My concerns are about whether I need to save my 4.1 ssh blobs or bot and how. Lastly, after the jailbreak will I be able to upgrade my os to 4.2?

  • srinath

    HI i have 4.2.1 iphone 3gs tethered jailbroken? can i again do an untethered jailbreak when it will come out for ios 4.2.1? Thanks

  • eor


  • i try jailbreakin usin redsn0w, i get far but it says application failed on pc. tryed again and again. duno wts wrong ! iphone 3gs . redsn0w 6b6

  • Zowayixx

    1-Cam you jailbreak iPod touch 2G iOS 4.2.1? ( untethered)

    2-Which program?

    3-Is it safe?

    • 1. Yes you can
      2. Probably absinthe or redsn0w
      3. If you download it from the official website it is safer than your Facebook password which I could hack right now 🙂

  • Benjamin

    I just wanna know which devices are tethered and which are untethered

  • JT10831

    I am new to all this so forgive me if my question is very dumb.

    I currently have a jailbroken ipad version 3.2.2 (unthethered)
    If i update it to 4.2 with a unthethered jailbreak(when it comes out) will i lose my jailbroken stuff etc.

    Thank you for reading through my question.

    • Daren

      I have updated my iPhone os 3 times now and each time my aps don’t work. Then after jailbreaking the phone again they work so I can’t see you would have a problem with your iPad.

    • Yes unfortunately you do lose your current apps and things

  • i use redsnow to make my iphone when it dies. but i want it untethered so i dont want to connect to my computer. so do i need to jailbreak again with limerain/greenpoison so it can be untethered?
    But i just want my phone to be untethered. can someone help.

    • Currently there are several jailbreak options avaliable. I personally recommend greenp0ison or as it is now called : Absinthe 2.0. This jailbreak is unteathered.
      – hope this helps

  • Cipriana

    I don´t know if this is relevant, but I have an iPhone 36 jailbroken (untethered according to differences in this post) and would like to update my iOS to at least 4.0 (currently I have 3.1.1) so I can download the Cielo app which I need for work. If I update, will I lose all the configurations (I live in Brazil and had to add Edge configurations that is only possible in Jailbroken phones)? Will the update affect the fact that the phone is unblocked? I don´t mind if my phone is jailbroken or not, I just want to be able to use it in Brazil and maintain the unblock and configurations.
    Is that possible?

    • The thing that I have noticed with jail broken iPhones and ipod touches is that when you update their jail breaking system you generally lose everything you have downloaded in that jailbreak version

      – hope this helps 🙂

  • Watty

    Hey my heads spinning reading all this… I’m not technically minded as you will probably be able to tell, what ate the benefits of a jailbroken phone? Would I be able to create numerous accounts with storm 8 games etc? Any help would be appreciated…

    • Jail breaking would allow you to download non-apple applications. Such as themes which are basically In-depth backgrounds, inappfree which lets you get most inapp purchases for free and a thing called instal0us which lets you download any apple AppStore app for free through its programs

  • Cipriana

    A jail-broken phone allows non-Apple apps and multitasking. This means you can add apps from say Cydia, and maintain a connection with Facebook and a messenger at the same time.
    I have no idea about this stuff either, but that´s what I understood.
    Not everyone wants or needs a jailbroken phone. If the Apple apps are enough for you, there´s no real need as it has to be re-done every time you update your OS.
    Now, I just wish someone would answer my question.

  • is there jailbreak for the New Ipad (ipad3) now? im confused if i need to buy it if there’s no way to jailbreak it yet. thanks. i really appreciate your reply…

  • after tethering can you get the untethered version once its avail after installing the tethered to begin with?

  • Donovan Fennell

    Okay i have a iphone 3g with the update 4.2.1 an it wont let me update any higher than that is that a problem.

    • No. As your apple software gets older it can’t cope with the newer iOS versions. His is a quite common problem as I also have a iPhone gen 3 which I can’t update
      – hope this helps

  • Donovan Fennell

    and it doesnt have the ios firmware

  • If anyone needs any further technical help just send me a message on this forum or on my Facebook wall and ill get back to you

    • Bharath Sparda

      I bought iphone4 breaking contract,factory unlocked and was using GEVEY sim till now . After i updated to 6.1.3 its throwin error, please insert a sim card that supports the carrier or unlock iphone. The hactivation also is not processing after trying multiple attempts with redstorm. Can you let me know on how to progress on this. 🙁

  • weejam

    after i jail-broke and it installed cydia i am confused as to how to download apps, i tried to install facebook app, the icons are different,plus when i tryed the google app it says i dnt have the 4.3 ios i need to do this, i thot after you jailbreak u can download almost anything????? i have an Iphone 3g with 4.21 ios , plz help.