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iPad Jailbreak: Everything You Need to Know

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There is a world of benefits that come with jailbreaking an iPad, but proceeding with caution is the way to go forward. Here’s everything you would want to know, boiled down into a guide on how to jailbreak an iPad, covering every detail in the book, and step-by-step instructions to send you full speed ahead.

The Apple iPhone has been a revolutionary device in the world of modern mobile phones, breaking all norms set before it. The first smartphone of its generation, the iPhone, simplified user experience, entertainment, and communication, and all of these elements were supersized with the Apple iPad in 2010. However, the closed-loop environment Apple is known for made its way to iOS as well, secluding the iPhone, iPod, and iPad devices from the rest of the tech universe.

It was the idea of being able to do more with the iOS devices that ushered in an era of jailbreaking. It did not take long for tinkerers to create a jailbreak, with the first one coming less than one year being cracked after the release of the original iPhone. For a newbie, wrapping your head around iPad jailbreaking can be a bit overwhelming, to say the least. Here’s our attempt to simplify the rather complex task of jailbreaking an iPad, what you need to know beforehand, and how to proceed wisely.

What is Jailbreaking Exactly?

Just as the term suggests, jailbreaking an iPhone or iPad essentially means releasing it from the tight clutches of Apple, who mostly dictates what you can and can’t do with your iDevice. Depending on the region you’re in and the network carrier you purchased your iPad from, additional restrictions may be imposed on the iPad.

For instance, the essential FaceTime feature of the iPhone and iPad is disabled in regions such as the United Arab Emirates. The idea behind jailbreaking an iPad would be to lift these unwarranted restrictions while bringing even more to the table, such as unofficial apps, settings modification, and more.

Is iPadOS Jailbreak Safe and Acceptable (or Legal)?

Apple did fight hard to outlaw jailbreaking its proprietary iOS but lost the battle when the U.S. declared jailbreaking to be 100% legal. Taking a tough stance against “Apple in protecting its restrictive business model,” and has officially exempted jailbreaking under the DMCA. In short, you’re not going to land in trouble for jailbreaking your iPad, but that does not necessarily mean Apple is on board with it.

The Cupertino company has maintained its hard stance against jailbreaking, citing security risks, adverse effects on battery life, and general instability as some reasons, of many others. However, the most significant impact that jailbreaking your iPad is voiding the warranty, so if you end up encountering any other issue with the device, Apple can refuse to assist you in resolving it since you’ve decided to take the iDevice into unchartered territories.

However, just performing a factory reset on the iPad before taking it into the Apple Store will wipe the slate clean. Additionally, the only reason that would still be considered within the legally grey area is what you do with the jailbroken device. For instance, downloading copyright-protected content, which is made possible with a jailbroken iPad, is still a Federal offense.

What are the Benefits (and Drawbacks) of Jailbreaking iPad?

The easiest way to decide if jailbreaking the iPad is worth the trouble that comes along with it, here’s a quick pros and cons list:

Benefits:

  • The ability to install third-party apps without the intrusion of the App Store’s uptight policies brings an ocean of features with it.
  • Jailbreaking the iPad allows you to freely customize it using Cydia to install themes, tweak the UI elements, and even change the appearance of fonts and icons.
  • Unlocking ability for hotspot tethering even on a locked network carrier.
  • The ability to access the iPadOS file system and use it as a storage device.
  • Tools in the Cydia installer also allow you to customize the Control Center on the iPadOS.

Disadvantages:

  • A jailbroken iPad, in most cases, cannot be updated to the latest version of iPadOS directly via the OTA update.
  • Since Apple is dead set against any software modification, you will void your warranty on the iPad by jailbreaking it.
  • The looming risk to security does come with installing third-party apps that haven’t been vetted by the Apple App Store.

Is Jailbreaking iPad the Same as Unlocking or Rooting?

Similar to the way jailbreaking the iPad allows you to access third-party apps, modify the system, and tweak different elements of the iPadOS, rooting does the same to Android OS. Although Google’s Android OS already allows users a considerable amount of freedom to install third-party apps and primarily customize every inch of the operating system, rooting allows further modification and fine-tuning the hardware under the hood.

While jailbreaking and rooting are comparable, unlocking an iPad is an entirely different topic, which has to do more with networking and cellular capabilities. If you purchased the iPad locked to a network carrier, unlocking it would allow you to use the iPad with the SIM card of any other network provider out there. In the past, jailbreaking also allowed you to unlock the iPhone and iPad, but that is no longer the case.

Can I Use the Apple App Store After Jailbreaking?

The Apple App Store, along with all of the other subsequent Apple services, will still be available for use with the jailbroken iPad. You will be able to download almost every app officially, just as you could before, with the exception of banking apps. Cydia can further help you circumvent the situation and remove all restrictions in downloading apps from Apple App Store.

Can I Still Update iPadOS if it’s Jailbroken?

Since you end up modifying the system settings of the iPad when you jailbreak it, it isn’t able to establish a secure connection with Apple servers. As a result, you will not be able to update a jailbroken iPad, and if you try to look for an OTA update, the screen will be stuck on “Checking for Update” without anything to show for.

The only available option to update a jailbroken iPad would be manually through iTunes, which will most likely remove the jailbreak and revert the iPad back to its factory state. If you are keen on retaining the third-party apps and tweaks that jailbreaking iPadOS brings you, you’re better off waiting for the jailbreak for the upcoming update to be released before you jump ship.  

What are the Different Types of iOS Jailbreaks Out There?

The type of jailbreak running on your iPad is determined by the method you used to apply it to the iDevice, and how it exactly works:

Tethered Jailbreak – Generally designed for experts, tweakers, and developers, it jailbreaks your iPad for a single boot cycle, and requires a cable connection with the computer even to boot up, let alone run the jailbreak. The somewhat outdated model of jailbreaking worked during the age of the iPhone 4, but faded away due to the complicated route it requires to keep the iPad even functional, not just jailbroken.  

Untethered Jailbreak – The dream scenario for anyone looking to get their iDevice jailbroken, an untethered jailbreak would mean that you wouldn’t even need a computer to get the process started. The exploit would run entirely on the iPad itself, and even after you boot it, the jailbreak would not go away, which makes it the easiest one to try out even for not so tech-savvy users.

Semi-tethered Jailbreak – A bit of an upgrade over the outdated tethered jailbreak option, semi-tethered jailbreak allows you to at least boot up the iPad without having to connect it to a computer first. However, it does not load the exploit until you physically hook up the iDevice to a computer running the jailbreaking tool.

Semi-untethered Jailbreak – Although this type of jailbreak also removes the jailbreak every time the iPad reboots, it allows you to run the jailbreak apps and extensions more effortlessly without having to hook up to a PC. By sideloading an app, you can apply the jailbreak to the iPad wirelessly without a computer, which is a cycle that needs to be repeated every time you reboot the iDevice.

How do I Jailbreak the iPad on iPadOS 14?  

Since the iPadOS 14 is only a few months old, it could take a while before a stable jailbreak tool is available for all. However, the folks behind checkra1n have taken a crack at it with the beta version, which supports only a limited number of devices for now.

You will need a computer running macOS X or Linux operating system to run on the device for this jailbreak. Being a semi-tethered jailbreak option, you will need the connect the device to bring back the jailbreaking extensions and apps every time you reboot it.

The following models of the iPad can be currently jailbroken with the semi-tethered checkra1n tool right now:

  • iPad 5th, 6th, and 7th generation
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad Mini 4
  • iPad Pro 1st and 2nd generation

Note: To jailbreak A11 processor iPad models, you will need to turn on the “Skip A11 BPR check” option to make sure that the jailbroken device boots up without asking for the passcode.

  1. Plug in the iPad to the computer using a USB cable and press the Trust button on the iPad screen when prompted.
  2. Download checkra1n 0.12.1 beta from the official website.
  3. After downloading the checkra1n app, double-click the app icon and drag it to the Applications folder on your macOS computer.
  4. Access the Applications folder and right-click on the checkra1n app icon to select Open from the pop-up menu.
  5. When selecting an A11-chip iPad, make sure to check the box that asks to “Skip A11 BPR check”.
  6. On the checkra1n app window, press Start and press Next to see the instructions for putting the iPad into DFU mode.
  7. Follow the on-screen instructions to put the iPad into DFU mode and press Start. The instructions will be based on the iPad model you are using.   
  8. After detecting the iPad in DFU mode, checkra1n will begin running the exploit on the iPad.
  9. Keep the iPad connected to the computer and press Done after the entire process is completed.
  10. After the iPad boots up, open the checkra1n app icon on the Home screen.
  11. Tap on the Cydia icon and press Install Cydia at the bottom of the screen.

Once the process is completed, exit the app, and you will find the Cydia Installer ready for you to use.

Jailbreak Status for the Current Version of iPadOS 14  

At the moment, there is no stable jailbreaking tool available to jailbreak iPadOS 14. However, the checkra1n tool is currently rolling out in its beta version, which supports jailbreaking of the A8 – A10 (X) iPhone and iPad models.

However, the jailbreak does not support all of the latest iPad models, and being a beta release, and it may lead to several bugs and suboptimal performance. If you wish to jailbreak your iPad for the long haul, the semi-untethered unc0ver jailbreak is the way to go, but the tool isn’t supported for iPadOS 14 just yet. You will either need to wait for the jailbreak tool to be updated, or downgrade the iPad to iOS 13 or older to use the unc0ver tool.

Jailbreak iPad Without a Computer

Years ago, a wholly untethered iOS exploit for jailbreaking was released under the name of JailbreakMe, but the support for it lasted only up to iOS 9. Recently, some users online have reported a way to jailbreak iOS 13.5 on iPhone and iPad using unc0ver, without having to install the AltStore first.

However, the method isn’t successful every time you try it out, since the repositories are unreliable and outdated at times, with no official support from unc0ver.  Even if you do end up jailbreaking the iPad using the unc0ver app without a computer, it will most likely be revoked, as mentioned by several users online.

Final Words

Apple has made it increasingly complex for developers to jailbreak iOS and iPadOS, by patching vulnerabilities with every update that comes out. However, the community finds a way in every time, which is apparent from the fact that a beta version of checkra1n is capable of jailbreaking iPadOS 14 just months after its release. Apart from the complexity that comes with jailbreaking the iPad, there are risks of unintentionally bricking the iDevice, but in most cases, using the Recovery Mode can resurrect it.

Have any questions about the benefits of jailbreaking your iPad, or need some assistance seeing the process through? Do try reaching out to us regarding iPad jailbreaking in the comments section down below.

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