The biggest problem I had with the iPhone, some readers will recall, was the actual phone portion. I thought it was a fantastic Web device and a super iPod, but the phone side didn’t tickle me at all. That’s why when the iPod Touch was announced, I was all over it.
The hardware is fantastic, and while Steve and company have announced that early next year third party app support would be launched, I really don’t have that kind of time. So I wanted to Jailbreak my Touch. And here’s how it works.
First off, let’s talk about just what “Jailbreaking” means. The iPod Touch, like the iPhone, comes as a closed device. There is no write functionality to it. This is to make it safe, and to make sure Apple keeps the quality control it loves. Jailbreak opens your iPod Touch (or iPhone) up to writing. It’s a hacky process, but there are several people who have been working hard to make it less so.
The former version of the firmware was easy enough to open up thanks to an exploit in how Safari managed certain .tiff files. With the 1.1.2 update that Apple is currently pushing, this is patched, making the process a little more complex, but it’s doable.
The downside is this erases everything off of your iPod, so you’ll want to make sure you’ve got all of your music and photos and so forth backed up on your computer.
You’ll need iTunes, 1.1.2 Jailbreak, available here, and the 1.1.1 and 1.1.2 firmwares, which are available here (1.1.1) and here (1.1.2). You’ll want to make sure you’ve got the most up-to-date install of Java on your computer because if you don’t, Jailbreak won’t run correctly and you risk bricking your iPod. Lastly, you’ll need a usable Wi-Fi connection for your Touch.
In addition, you’ll want a beer, as this is an easy and fun process. Go ahead and grab one, we’ll wait.
This guide will assume you have your Touch updated to 1.1.2 already, as the first step requires downgrading to 1.1.1 to prepare it for the update.
To start, we’re going to downgrade. Download the 1.1.1 firmware and save it someplace convenient. Plug your Touch into your computer and launch iTunes. And now we get fun.
Hold down the power button at the top of the iPod while also holding the Home button. After about 10 seconds, release the power, but keep the Home pressed. If done correctly, iTunes will tell you that the iPod has entered “recover mode”. This is a good thing.
On iTunes, we’re going to option-click on the “restore” button. It’s a shift-click on a PC. This will prompt you to browse for the firmware that you just downloaded. Find it and restore. It takes a few minutes and wipes everything off your Touch, but that’s why we backed it up.
When it’s done, your iPod will be in factory condition, running 1.1.1. Connect to Wi-Fi and launch Safari. Open the site http://www.jailbreakme.com and allow it to do its thing. The hack should run, and when its done, you’ll have Installer.app on the desktop. I told you this was fun.
Right now, your iPod is Jailbroken. Sadly, its in the 1.1.1 state, so to get it ready for 1.1.2, we run a little app called OktoPrep. Open the Installer.app and click on “install” at the bottom, and then find “Tweaks 1.1.1″. From there, click on “OktoPrep” and hit “install” at the top.
It’ll do its thing and take you back to the home screen, called the Springboard. Your iPod is now set for the 1.1.2 update.
Plug the iPod back into your computer and go to iTunes. You should be prompted to update it, but for some reason not all copies of iTunes are doing this yet. If it doesn’t, option- (or shift-) click on “update” and select the 1.1.2 firmware we downloaded earlier. Make sure you don’t select “restore”, as then you’ll have to start all over.
It should update as normal, and this is good. OktoPrep keeps some magic from happening that locks out the hack we’re about to perform.
Once the iPod is updated, it’s time to Jailbreak it again. With the Touch still connected to your computer, close iTunes and launch the Jailbreak software you downloaded earlier. On a PC, it’s Jailbreak.bat, on a Mac it’s the .jar file.
At this point, it’s a matter of following instructions on the screen. Make sure you tick the box to enable SSH, as this gives you the ability to install your own apps or files later.
Jailbreak it and watch it do its thing. It should take 10 to 15 minutes. When it’s done, your iPod will reboot, and you’ll have SSH and the Installer.app on your springboard again, and from there you can have fun with tons of apps that are pre-bundled.
Congrats, your iPod is open, and now becomes a seriously handy machine instead of just a media player and Web browser.