Dear iDB: should I update?

We’re trying something new today here at iDB. We’ve decided to select an inquiry from one of our readers and answer it personally, and in detail. Hopefully it will allow our readers to see the thought processes behind solving their query, and give them a more certain and tailored response. If there’s interest in it we may well make it a series, so feel free to email in your own dilemma if you’d like to see it answered personally by me or one of the team!

Without further ado, let’s let our reader state their business:

Hi! Here’s my situation: I’m on a jailbroken iPhone 6 running iOS 8.3, and have been there quite a while. My habit has been (since my 3GS) to jailbreak and wait as long as possible until the OS becomes unstable to upgrade to the next one, so I’ve gotten lucky and been consistently jailbroken for a long time. Now, however, I’m running into more and more apps that are outdating me and becoming inoperative or incompatible with iOS 8. I have medium-level knowledge of jailbreak functioning – I’m no novice, but I also couldn’t tell you what to do with SHSH blobs. So my conflict is this: I’m considering updating to the current OS and abandoning my precious jailbreak, and I would like thoughts and opinions about this and also concerning whether the days of easy jailbreaking are over, as opposed to this whole semi-tethered, reinstall-every-7-days stuff happening currently. In addition, what’s the best/safest/smoothest way of updating to 10.3.1, considering my long jump?

I realize I could probably search forums and piece together answers (and I do have a couple of your pages bookmarked), but I would really prefer a personalized response from an individual who knows what they’re talking about. Feel free to reply at your convenience; I genuinely appreciate it.

Quite a simple problem, but with quite a few different options open to them. To make things easier, I’ll split their choices into “Get rid of the jailbreak” and “Keep the jailbreak.”

Get rid of the jailbreak

Go to iOS 10.3.1
Given the length of time our reader has been on their current firmware, their phone is likely pretty full of cruft by now. So, if they wanted to get rid of their jailbreak entirely, I would recommend making a backup on iCloud and iTunes, and then doing a full iTunes restore of the device. They should then set it up again as a new phone, so as not to replace all of the accumulated rubbish. This will of course involve re-syncing apps and music and setting up accounts again. Please note, this is not recommended to anyone with hopes of getting another jailbreak, this is only for those willing (indeed, intending) to remove their jailbreak.

Our guide on restoring their device should work well for this.

Wipe the device and start fresh on iOS 8.3
This method uses Saurik’s powerful tweak Cydia Eraser to return the device completely to stock. It can be found on Cydia, and is compatible with iOS 8.3. It removes all user apps, files, tweaks, and the jailbreak itself, as if an iTunes restore has been done, but retains the starting firmware. This may not be what our reader wants as they seem fed up with iOS 8, but it’s worth mentioning if they fancy a fresh start on a jailbreakable firmware. They could also use this in combination with AppSync to install older, compatible versions of apps on their device, if that would solve their objections to being unsupported.

This method is also applicable to the “Keep the jailbreak” section below, as the device could be jailbroken again after using Cydia Eraser. Remember to back up first, to delete as much user data, apps, and tweaks off the device before beginning as possible, to leave the device plugged in at all times while it runs, and to be prepared for it to take up to a few days to complete. Do not use it if you have manually deleted language packs and keyboards from the device in the past.

Keep the jailbreak

Wipe the device and stay on iOS 8.3
See the section above for more information. After using Cydia Eraser, simply re-jailbreak iOS 8.3 with the jailbreak tool used originally.

Use blobs to move to iOS 9.0.2 or 9.3.3
This method uses tihmstar’s futurerestore to move to an unsigned firmware. I do not recommend this method as you will lose you your Touch ID functionality. It also requires .shsh2 blobs for the destination firmware. Only attempt this if you do not use Touch ID and have valid blobs for iOS 9.0.2 or 9.3.3.

Our guide on futurerestore will get you started on this.

Use blobs to move to iOS 10.2 (author recommended)
This method uses tihmstar’s futurerestore to move to an unsigned firmware. It fulfils all of the reader’s requirements as it updates their device, wipes it for speed, and allows them to retain a jailbreak when all is said and done. The only obstacles are that it requires .shsh2 blobs for the destination firmware, and a bit of technical wizardry. Touch ID will remain functional in this instance. This would be my chosen solution, provided blobs have been saved.

Our guide on futurerestore will take you through the process in a step-by-step manner.

What would Scooby do?

If I were in our reader’s position, I would elect to move to iOS 10.2 with futurerestore, as it fulfils all of the requirements, and retains a jailbreak. My second choice would be to use Cydia Eraser on iOS 8.3 and start fresh, simply downloading compatible versions of my apps to avoid being unsupported. However, as our reader does not appear to value the jailbreak as highly, I suspect his best choices will be to use futurerestore to go to iOS 10.2, or failing that (no blobs), to clean restore to iOS 10.3.1 and lose his jailbreak.

My final advice to our reader would be to start saving .shsh2 blobs from now on for all future firmwares, using our guide for TSS Saver. As you can see from this advice, it opens up a lot of options, and would let him go straight from jailbreakable firmware to jailbreakable firmware in future. If he moves to iOS 10.3.1, he should install a beta profile to prevent accidental updates, and sit tight. Good luck to him!

Do you have a problem that you would like answered personally? Send in your own complex situations, with details, and we’ll try to feature your query too. Whether it’s how to save a blob, how to use a tool, or what to do with your device, let us help you out!