Jailbreaking the iPhone 4 is legal, and the hack is now available

an iPhone being held in someone's palm

Days after it became legal, an app for jailbreaking the iPhone 4 was posted for download directly to the iPhone from the Safari browser. Wizard Monkey/Flickr photo.

The first jailbreak for the iPhone 4 was unleashed Sunday. The hack liberates iPhone 4 owners from the shackles of the Apple App Store. The iPhone 4 jailbreak allows a phone to download unapproved apps from unapproved app stores. An advantage of jailbreaking destined to become immensely popular is unlocking access to other networks than AT&T. Apple, which exercises tight control over the iPhone network and iPhone app approval process, says jailbreaking the iPhone 4 “can severely degrade the experience.”

How to download the iPhone jailbreak

Less than a week after copyright officials in the U.S. ruled that jailbreaking the iPhone 4 is legal, a developer has released an app designed to do it. CNN reports that the iPhone 4 jailbreak is available at jailbreakme.com. The iPhone 4 jailbreak hack installs a program that lets iPhone 4 owners purchase unapproved apps from stores other than the Apple App Store. To download the iPhone jailbreak, visit that website using the Safari browser on an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. Unlike other jailbreaks for previous iPhone models, this version reportedly can be installed from the Web, without the aid of another computer.

Jailbreaking is now legal, and Apple is peeved

The practice of jailbreaking was illegal under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which prohibits the circumvention of copy protection mechanisms. Information week reports that the U.S. Library of Congress (LOC) opened the door to legal download of the  iPhone jailbreak  last week when it said hacking the iPhone to circumvent Apple’s app approval process does not violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. LOC’s chief librarian wrote that cracking the iPhone is “innocuous at worst and beneficial at best.” Apple strenuously disagreed. The company issued a statement in which it said that, while it may be technically legal, jailbreaking the iPhone will void the device’s warranty.

Jailbreak connects iPhone to T-Mobile

The iPhone 4 jailbreak was so popular Sunday night that jailbreakme.com was having trouble keeping up with the demand. The CNN article said once an iPhone has been jailbroken, another set of apps can be used to unlock an iPhone to work on wireless networks other than AT&T, which is the only official U.S. carrier for the iPhone. In the U.S., unlocked iPhones will work on the T-Mobile network, but because of technical differences, jailbreaking the iPhone 4 will not allow it to work on Verizon or Sprint.

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