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One of the many confusing aspects of Jailbreaking that new users struggle to understand is the concept of a ‘tethered’ and an ‘untethered’ Jailbreak. The terminology used can sometimes be quite daunting, but most of the time it is just a technical way of saying something quite simple. When a device is Jailbroken a new ‘App Store’ is installed on the device called Cydia.
Cydia allows users to install third party applications, tweaks and themes which are submitted to the store by various developers, hackers and programmers. The content contained within Cydia is as varied as you could possibly imagine and ranges from full standalone applications to small tweaks designed to hook into Apple’s iOS via something called ‘MobileSubstrate’. When Cydia is installed on the device, some modifications are made to the existing architecture of the operating system, these mods are largely unknown to us as users, however they become more prominent when discussing the notion of a tethered and untethered jailbreak. Please see below for an explanation;
Tethered Jailbreak – this means that if you EVER reboot, restart or lose power to your device post jailbreak, then you will need to boot your device up connected to a computer to enable the Jailbreak functions to work. The device itself will boot up normally without this ‘tethered’ connection, however, all Jailbreak features will be disabled, and also due to the aforementioned changes in architecture, some native iOS services will also cease to function, with the most prominent being mobile Safari browser. This is not as daunting as it seems, as the Jailbreak tool will generally have ‘boot as tethered’ option which simply patches the kernel again (temporarily until next reboot) and boots the device up.
Untethered Jailbreak – As you might imagine this is the reverse of the information above. An untethered Jailbreak is what we aspire to, and is the ‘ideal’ solution. It means that once the kernel has been patched and the Jailbreak procedure is complete, you can power down, hard reset or reboot your device as often as you like without issue. This type of Jailbreak is considered the ideal for many tangible reasons, but one which affects most Cydia users is that many of the tweaks available through Cydia require the device to be rebooted after installation, this becomes increasingly annoying if you need to perform a tethered boot each time.
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