Earlier this week, we were treated to the pleasant surprise of an iOS 7.1.1 untethered jailbreak by the Chinese team Pangu. I had the privilege of discussing the jailbreak with our video guru Jeff Benjamin on the most recent Let’s Talk Jailbreak episode, which was a lot of fun. In the podcast, Jeff asked me to introduce myself to the community and to describe my jailbreak roots.

The story begins in December 2007, when I was on a family vacation near the sandy beaches of Cape Coral, Florida. My older brother, now a software engineer at Google, was incredibly interested in this new product called the iPod touch. In particular, he wanted to jailbreak it. As a thirteen-year-old eighth grader at the time, I had never heard of the device. I especially did not know what jailbreaking was… 

That didn’t last long. As soon as my brother came back to the beach house with his newly purchased first-generation iPod touch, which cost around $300 at the time, I could not keep my hands off the device. You have to remember that this was back in 2007, when a slim and sleek device with a widescreen multitouch screen was the coolest thing since sliced bread.

I am thankful that my parents realized how interested I was in the iPod touch, because I unwrapped one for Christmas just two days later. By then, my brother had discovered an online discussion forum for how to jailbreak the iPod touch. The funny thing is that it probably would have been iDownloadBlog if this blog had been around back then, but it did not launch until 2008.


I decided to follow the instructions and jailbreak my first-generation iPod touch on iPhone OS 1.1.1, which was a rather simple process that involved visiting through Safari on the device. After carrying through with the process, this unfamiliar app called Installer appeared on my Home screen. If you are newer to the jailbreak scene, Cydia did not become the default package installer until around Firmware 2.0.

Installer was fundamentally the same as Cydia, allowing you to install a variety of apps, tweaks and themes without approval from Apple. As a newly minted teenager, I was incredibly intrigued by this ability to hack the device beyond its limitations. The first jailbreak app I ever installed was called Tap Tap Revolution, which was essentially Guitar Hero for the iPod touch.

Jailbreaking 2007 iPod

It might seem insignificant that I simply installed a game on my iPod touch, but you have to remember that this was December 2007. At the time, the iPod touch had an incredibly limited selection of apps. It was not until the following month that Apple released the January App Pack, which brought five iPhone-exclusive apps to the iPod touch in Stocks, Weather, Notes, Mail and Maps.

Apple then followed up with the release of the App Store in June 2008, which dynamically changed the purpose of jailbreaking. Nevertheless, there were still several reasons to jailbreak and the community continued to grow. For instance, you couldn’t even set a Home screen wallpaper until at least a couple years after the iPhone and iPod touch were released.

Jailbreaking 2007

I have eventually gone on to jailbreak virtually every single iOS version, from iPhone OS 1.1.1 through iOS 7.1.1. A shortlist of tools that I remember over the years includes ZiPhone, QuickPwn, PwnageTool, Redsn0w, Blackra1n, Greenpois0n, Spirit, Absinthe, Evasi0n and now Pangu. A few of the jailbreak tools were fairly complicated in the beginning, and later they became simple utilities with one-click jailbreak buttons.

Now that you know my jailbreak story in a nutshell, I’m curious to hear yours. I’m sure that everyone has come across this niche community in different ways, so it will be interesting to see what stories come up. Be sure to include as many details as possible, including when you discovered jailbreaking, what iPhone, iPad or iPod touch model you jailbroke for the first time and so forth.

What is your jailbreak story?

  • Soylent Green

    3g ios 5.0.1 redsn0w freeness, pay tax to criminals? You nuts? Now 4 & 5c, 7.1.1 pangu & never bought a tweak/app & never will, i just try for a long time, thats ok. Funny how the loudest anti pirate mouths are now developers, well whats sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander. Pure hypocritical wilful fingerprint scanning zombies.

  • Aden Bauer

    Bought a second hand 1st gen ipod touch and jailbroke it when I was 15 (in 2009), then I bought an iPhone 3g not long after that (jailbroke and unlocked it of course) and now I have an iphone 5 jailbroken running 7.1.1 and loving it. If I own an iDevice it needs to be jailbroken.

  • Clinton Braun

    i would love to hear Steve Jobs’ jailbreak story….

  • Abdl

    How come you still have those pictures?

  • Mads Teland

    I began to jailbreak in 2008 with the school computer that did suck, but I did have only iPod Touch 1G at this time.

  • Dado

    Back then when i started jailbreaking there was no Cydia. We had to use the Installer. The Community was smaller. What motivated me to always jailbreak my devices was Winterboard with its themes. On the first iPhone it was horrible! Just think about the lag, but few years ago we all could get along with the lag because even with Winterboard and serveral tweaks the iPhone was the fastest phone out there. When my dad bought me my iPhone 3G with a Simlock the thing with the Baseband and Ultrasn0w started. It was not perfect but i was happy with it.

    Then i dont know on which iOS Jailbreak it was, but we had to use CMD and some libusb stuff to jailbreak the devices. It caused so many problems on my PC! After all that there was the tethered jailbreak. (Worst Jailbreak for normal user). I still decided to jailbreak my iPhone though.

    It was always Fun to wait for the Jailbreak and to learn new stuff about the iPhone and possibilities.

  • Rob_Huska

    Jailbreakme was funny, because you could walk into an Apple Store and see Cydia on the demo devices. I know it was probably a hassle for the staff… But I know a few Apple retail employees, and even they just had to laugh when the ran across those devices.

  • Freddy Born

    I too started in 2007 with the first iphone

  • You’re only one year older than me, yet you’re writing for iDB?! I want your ambition 😛

    Same as you, I first jail broke an iPod touch 1G, albeit it on 3.1.2 using blackra1n since I bought it in 2009.

    The 1G was stolen, so I got an iPod touch 4G and jailbroke 4.2.1 using limera1n I think. Then jailbroke 5.1 with greenpois0n.

    Got an iPhone 4S and jailbroke another ios 5 with redsn0w, and iOS 6.

    Got an iPhone 5s and jailbroke 7.0.6 with Evasi0n and here I am.

    Is 7.1.1 worth using Pangu?

    • Damian

      Yes it is

  • ✪ aidan harris ✪

    Sense this turning into a rather long comment thread. Perhaps we should try to get it trending under #MyJailbreakStory

    • Jonathan

      Not being a weirdo, just helping. 🙂
      First word of your post.
      It should be “Since”

      Sense is for your body. Sense of smell, sense of touch, etc.

      Since means “because of”

      • ✪ aidan harris ✪

        Autocorrect strikes again!

      • Jonathan

        Oh. xD

  • Kevin Osborne

    I read every single day, and I had no idea you were so into jailbreaking, Joe! I only knew Jeff was!! 🙂 I bought the very first iPhone shortly after the price cut from $600 to $400, when I learned you could use “anySIM” to unlock it and use it on any carrier, (was CellularOne for me at the time with unlimited EVERYTHING). This, as everyone is saying, was long before Cydia. AppTapp, AppSnapp & RipDev Installers, Icy Store, RockYourPhone, etc., but I think some of the coolest tweaks came from RipDev Caterpillar. It was one of the biggest UI & lockscreen overhauls at the time, and I think it was really the first of it’s kind. Man oh man there have been some pretty good times over the last 7 years in the scene, and I’ve had every major release of iOS jailbroken, 1-7, and multiple devices from various 2G’s, 3GS’s, 4’s, 4S’s, and now my 5S. I never had a 3G or a 5, though. 🙂 This post brought back a lot of memories!

  • leart

    I am relatively new to jailbreak my first was 5,1,1 but I am thinking that the gold era was till ios 4 and probably the last good and valid jb it was evasion 6

  • ready1take1

    I remember jailbreaking the original iPhone back in 07, and freaking out. I thought I’d broken it, and killed my $600 phone, but then, the fun began.

  • Mike Chu

    Back in the day of iOS 3 (or 4, I don’t exactly remember) I got an iPod touch 2. I primarily wanted to set a home screen wallpaper, then I found out jailbreaking and greenpois0n. Eventually after a few tutorials I found N72AP.plist in iFile and enabled multitasking and home screen wallpapers.

  • Adam

    I jailbroke my 2nd gen ipod touch a month or two ago but thought about jailbreaking my ipod touch 4g a year or two before, I then backed off but now I cant stop I have jailbroken all my idevices apart from my ipad mini. Jailbreak is the best thing I think to happen to me, and I don’t think it should be illegal if they do make it.

  • Dapo Haroun

    My story is a little different. I had been drooling over the iPhone since 2007, but being a young broke teenager, it was too expensive and my parents where not paying that much or a phone back them.

    We all had Flips on T-Mobile lol. I saved, saved and saved and finally bought a used first gen iPhone in Late 2008. I will never forget the first moment I held the iPhone first gen, I was wowed.

    I was forced to learn how to hack iPhones early because T-Mobile wasn’t a supported carrier. So I’m order to get MMS and a lot more working I had to Jailbreak.

    I started out just wanting a fully fictional iPhone, ended up having a fully customized iPhone with different fonts and all. From then on, countless iDevices, all Jailbroken.

  • Ich2222

    The jailbreak tool with the most features is Redsn0w.

  • Sean Cua

    First jailbroke my iPod Touch on iOS 3.1.3 using blackra1n. Back when geoh0t was the master.

  • Hak

    Cool story bro! My story started at iOS 4.3.5. An iPod touch 3rd gen 32GB. The best thing I could get. I jailbroke because I wanted an android experience. I used Dreamboard to get the Endroid theme. I used iDownloadBlog to jailbreak this, the myjailbreakmovies YouTube channel helped me so much in picking out my tweaks. I’ve been jailbreaking ever since.

  • Laszlo Gaspar

    I don’t even remember how I found out about jailbreaking but I know it was at Christmas when I got my first gen iPod, its hard to imagine a time without the app store.

  • Matt KCCO

    I don’t remember how I got into jailbreaking, but I started with iOS 2.0 when I got my first iPhone, the 3G. Haven’t ever looked back. Every single iOS powered device I’ve owned has been jailbroke at some point since then.

  • Johnny

    I got into jailbreaking when I was in the 7th or 8th grade. At the time MW3 was a huge hit. My friend showed me his jailbroken iPhone and everything that was cool about it. So I decided to jailbreak. I jailbroke using Sn0wbreeze on 3.1.3. I fell in love with it and had a windows theme and then I joined the Modmyi fourms. From there I would read people’s horror stories about jailbreaking and I studied them to make sure that they never happened to me. I would spend hours and hours learning about jailbreaking and never had a problem. I loved it. My friend and I spent hours and hours talking about jailbreaking and make themes off of codethemed. He showed me a complete theme called Elite Pro HD. Fell in love and I bought the theme and started to pay for more big themes. My three iPod Touches are jailbroken still on Elite Pro HD, Vending Machine, and some Windows theme. My iPod Touch fourth gen is not jailbroken. My iPhone 4 was jailbroken and my iPhone 5 is not jailbroken but is on iOS 8 beta 2. When I updated to iOS 7 I regretted it because the themes would never be the same. I miss the days of the old where everything was themed and it was a complete theme. My old favorite themes were Elite 6,Elite Pro HD, Ayecon, and one dreamboard theme called Mac os Lion. I’m currently in college and I’m 19.

  • theasiantechnist

    The first device I had ever jailbroken was my iPod Touch 4G because one of my friends had kept on bragging that he had jailbroken his iPhone. I used Redsn0w and it was easier than I expected. I didn’t know where to start in terms of tweaks, but I soon got the hang of it by installing and uninstalling tweaks and themes. The most tweaks I had on my iPod was when iOS 7 had come out and I found out that my iPod couldn’t run iOS 7. I had two or three themes at once, and I had just about ten to twenty tweaks like CardSwitcher and DeepEnd. Then, it just started lagging like heck. I tricked some of my friends, but then there were also those who weren’t so sure I had the legit version. Thank goodness I got an iPhone 5S. Thanks to Pangu, I now have iOS 7 and it’s jailbroken.

  • Alex

    I started jailbreaking on my old iPod touch 2nd generation back in 2009 and honestly I was so scared I was gonna brick my idevice, but luckily after following every instruction on how to successfully jailbreak your idevice, I became a pro at jailbreaking. I then jailbroke iOS 4,5, and so on…How time flies. Im currently JB’en on iOS 7.1.1 iPhone5S

  • Arjan Vlek

    But you just had to restore it using iTunes…

  • z0mki

    My first iPhone was the iPhone 4. The only reason I still jailbreak is to be able to tether my unlimited data with any other device. There are a few useful tweeks such as infinidock and apps such as biteSMS but the tethering is what keeps me coming back.

  • Daniel S. Fleming

    It was back in the summer before freshman year, i had just gotten to a hotel in zion national park out west, we had been taking a road trip with 2 other families visiting places all over the southwest like the grand canyon and las vegas. After we checked in i went to go hang out with the other kids in our little group. At the time I had an iPod nano (the one that looks like a mini version of the iPod video. One of the older kids took out his iPod touch and had all of his apps and wallpaper looking like a vending machine. I was starstruck, seeing the humor and fun of it, I had to have it. So after annoying my parents with hints over the next few months i finally received an iPod touch for my birthday. which i immediately jailbroke using limera1n. when i found one of your videos while searching youtube for that one tweak or tip I needed and ever since i have been following your blog. I check it every day for tips and news and have become better for it because now i have been able to help people with their devices. People are always approaching me asking how to do this and that, and what the next big thing is. Thanks idownloadblog