Answering this question is challenging, and given the seemingly volatile state of the jailbreak community at the time of this writing, I’ve been hesitant to answer it; but I think it’s finally time, especially since folks now have more choices to pick from than ever before.
Should I use Chimera, Electra, or unc0ver?
So you’re ready to jailbreak and you have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 11.0-12.1.2, which tool do you choose? Let’s discuss a few important aspects to help you decide.
Software and hardware support
The Electra jailbreak, perhaps unsurprisingly developed by the CoolStar-led Electra Team, supports all iOS 11.0-11.4.1 devices. Electra can also jailbreak the Apple TV on the equivalent tvOS firmware versions.
The Chimera jailbreak, which was also developed by the Electra Team, supports all iOS 12.0-12.1.2 devices. Chimera can also jailbreak the Apple TV on tvOS 12.0-12.1.1.
The unc0ver jailbreak was developed by Pwn20wnd with the help of Sam Bingner, and it supports most iOS 11.0-12.1.2 devices. The lone exception to this statement is that A12(X) devices are only ‘partially’ supported, which means SSH must be used instead of a full-fledged package manager with tweak injection. The Apple TV is not supported by unc0ver.
Cydia or Sileo?
The Electra jailbreak installs Sileo by default, but you can still install Cydia manually alongside Sileo if you wanted to. This would allow you to have dual package managers on your jailbreak.
The Chimera jailbreak exclusively supports Sileo, a decision made by the Electra Team since it aims to move forward with the new age of software.
The unc0ver jailbreak currently exclusively supports the tried and true Cydia, but LaughingQuoll and other developers are currently working on a version of Sileo that will be compatible with other jailbreaks, including unc0ver. There’s no ETA for that release at the time of this writing.
Cydia Substrate or Substitute?
The Electra jailbreak takes advantage of Substitute for tweak injection since Cydia Substrate isn’t open source and can’t be adapted to Electra.
The Chimera jailbreak uses Substitute for tweak injection for similar reasons as Electra.
The unc0ver jailbreak uses Cydia Substrate for tweak injection since it was the only jailbreak to receive Saurik’s endorsement. On the other hand, A12(X) devices will soon get support for Substitute since it might not be possible to get Cydia Substrate working on those devices. There’s no ETA for this newfangled substitute support at the time of this writing.
I tested the Electra jailbreak for a long time before unc0ver was ever released and when Pwn20wnd was still a member of the Electra Team, and I never had any issues with it. Several updates later, I can only assume that the jailbreak has become more stable since then.
I have a device running the Chimera jailbreak right now, and I haven’t experienced a single crash or issue with it since the release.
I have a device running the unc0ver jailbreak right now, and I haven’t experienced a single crash or issue with it since the v3.0.0 betas first debuted.
Jailbreak tweak support
The Electra jailbreak may see fewer supported jailbreak tweaks since many are made to work with Cydia Substrate instead of Substitute. But this is changing with each passing day as developers add support.
The Chimera jailbreak would see the same circumstances as the Electra jailbreak since it utilizes Substitute instead of Cydia Substrate.
The unc0ver jailbreak has the best jailbreak tweak compatibility since most jailbreak tweaks are made with Cydia Substrate in mind. It should be noted, however, that Substitute will soon be implemented for A12(X) devices, and this has the same implications for compatibility as it does for Chimera and Electra.
Getting support for the Electra jailbreak is as easy as Tweeting to the Electra Team. They are generally fast to respond, although it can be challenging to get help if your problem is with
Getting support for the Chimera jailbreak is the same as Electra above, and because the tool only supports the Electra Team’s integrated software, it’s easier to get support when problems arise involving Sileo, Substitute, or the jailbreak itself.
Getting support for the unc0ver jailbreak is easy-peasy. Just contact Pwn20wnd via Twitter or file a bug report on the official GitHub page. Pwn20wnd is known for implementing bug fixes like clockwork and for going beyond the call of duty to implement user suggestions,
The bottom line
Now that some of the most important differences between the jailbreak tools have been outlined, you can make a more educated decision about which one you should use.
I try to comment from the perspective of a jailbreak user, and not as someone who talks to the developers regularly. Both groups are guilty of mud-slinging one another over social media, but at the end of the day, both groups also display incredible talents and have produced stable, usable jailbreaks that the public can download and use.
Obviously, those who need to jailbreak the Apple TV will have no choice but to use the Electra Team’s Chimera or Electra jailbreak tool(s), but if you’re wanting to jailbreak an iOS device, then you really can’t go wrong with any of them.
We have made tutorials for each, which I will link for your convenience below:
- How to jailbreak iOS 11.0-11.3.1 with Electra
- How to jailbreak iOS 11.4-11.4.1 with Electra1141
- How to jailbreak iOS 12.0-12.1.2 with Chimera
- How to jailbreak iOS 11.0-12.1.2 with unc0ver
All the jailbreak tools mentioned in this piece are semi-tethered jailbreaks and are installed in similar ways, but you’ll need to do your homework and decide if your setup would perform better with Cydia and Cydia Substrate or with Sileo and Substitute. Apart from that, the other factors discussed above provide an inch of additional wiggle room for interpretation.
Which jailbreak have you decided to go with? Share a comment below elaborating your position.