If you rely side-loadable jailbreak tools such as Chimera, Electra, or unc0ver, then it’s important to understand the plethora of ways you can install them on your iPhone or iPad. While methods such as AltStore, Cydia Impactor, and third-party signing services like Ignition and iOS Ninja are some of the most popular, many tend to forget that you can use Apple’s own Xcode development platform on the Mac to accomplish this task.
The Xcode method came in clutch for me countless times when Cydia Impactor stopped working for an extended period and when all the best signing services had been revoked; to make matters worse, my handset’s iOS version was too old to run AltStore. With that in mind, we’ll be sharing the Xcode method in this tutorial for fellow jailbreakers that find themselves in similar predicaments down the road.
What you’ll need
Using Xcode to side-load your jailbreak can be a great deal more convoluted and time-consuming than using the easier methods above, but it also tends to be a lot more reliable. To make this work, you’ll need the following things:
- A Mac
- A jailbreakable iOS device
- An MFi-certified Lightning to USB cable
- A free Apple developer account
- The latest version of Xcode
- The latest version of iOS app signer
- The latest version of the side-loadable jailbreak app you intend to use
We’ll be using the unc0ver jailbreak throughout this tutorial because it’s the newest jailbreak available, but if you prefer, you can also use this method to side-load Chimera for iOS 12 or Electra for iOS 11.
After you’ve gathered what you need, you can move on to the next section of this tutorial to begin installing your jailbreak. Please be advised, there are a lot of steps.
Installing a side-loadable jailbreak app with Xcode
When you’re ready to install your side-loadable jailbreak app with Xcode, then follow these steps:
1) Launch Xcode and click the Create a new Xcode project button in the startup window:
2) Make sure Single View App is selected in the next window, then click on the blue Next button:
3) Enter a Product Name, Organization Name, and Organization Identifier of your choosing, then click on the blue Next button. In our example, we call the project “unc0ver” and use “iDownloadBlog” as the Organization and Identifier, but you should use something more original:
4) In the next Window, choose your Desktop as the place to save files to, then click on the blue Create button:
5) Plug your jailbreakable iPhone or iPad into your Mac with a MFi-certified Lightning to USB cable and Trust it from both the device and your Mac if prompted.
6) At the top-left of the Xcode window, click on the drop-down menu and select your connected device:
7) Next, click on the item at the top of the project tree with the blue development icon (ours is called unc0ver), then click Signing & Capabilities:
8) Click in the Teams drop-down menu and add a new team or choose an existing team. In our case, we picked an existing one:
Note: If you don’t have a team yet, then Xcode may prompt you to sign in with an Apple ID associated with a free developer account. Follow the prompts to do so, then select it from the Team drop-down menu and move on to the next step.
9) Next, you’ll need to do a quick check to make sure you have all the tools you need. Launch Terminal and enter the following command:
Note: If you get the error stating “error: command line tools are already installed, use “Software Update” to install updates,” then you’re good to go and can move on to the next step. Otherwise, follow the instructions and save any certificates you’re prompted to save before moving on.
10) Launch the iOS App Signer app that you downloaded earlier:
11) Click the Browse button and select the jailbreak app .IPA file you downloaded. In this case, we’re using the unc0ver app we downloaded from unc0ver.dev.
12) Set your Apple ID as the Signing Certificate, select your app identifier for the Provisioning Profile, and enter an App Display Name and App Version. Once finished, click on the Start button.
Note: Do not leave the Provisioning Profile field on Re-Sign. This does nothing and it won’t work.
13) You will now be prompted to save your signed .IPA file somewhere. Choose your Desktop and click the blue Save button:
Note: A signed .IPA file will be saved to your Desktop. We will now use Xcode to side-load this app to your iPhone or iPad for jailbreak deployment.
14) Now, go back to Xcode and navigate to Window -> Devices and Simulators:
15) In the new window, make sure that your iPhone is selected in the sidebar on the left, and then click on the + button near the bottom of the window:
16) A new window appears, go to your Desktop and select the signed .IPA file you created earlier, then click on the blue Open button:
Note: Xcode will now install the custom .IPA on your iPhone or iPad. When complete, the app should appear in the Installed Apps list, like so:
17) Once installed, go to Settings → General → Device Management on your iPhone or iPad and tap on the Apple Development Apple ID option:
18) Next, tap on the blue Trust button, and then tap on the red Trust button inside the popup that appears:
Note: The jailbreak app is now installed and trusted, and you’re now free to launch and use it.
19) Return to the Home screen and launch the newly-installed jailbreak app:
20) Tap on the Jailbreak button:
Once finished, you are officially jailbroken and can install add-ons and jailbreak tweaks from the pre-installed package manager.
The Xcode method isn’t as fast or convenient as the other methods for installing side-loadable jailbreaks, but it hasn’t let me down yet. In the event that Cydia Impactor stops working again, or any of the signing services stop working, it’s a great backup method to get you up and running again. It can also help familiarize you with the Xcode interface if you’ve never used Apple’s development tools before.
Were you able to get your jailbreak running again with Xcode? Share your experience in the comments section below.