Less than 24 hours after Apple launched its newest mobile operating system - the iOS 5 - a number of tools to help jailbreak the software emerged. However, until now, the only tools available provide a tethered jailbreak. Users have had to be satisfied, so far, with a tethered jailbreak - meaning that the device, once jailbroken, will only stay active until the next re-boot - for various iPhones, the iPad 1 and iPods.
The principal problem, of course, is the fact that each re-boot must be followed with another jailbreak. An untethered jailbreak is, as of now, nowhere to be seen.
According to the latest reports, the BigBoss group that hosts various packages and themes on Cydia has come up with a semi-tethered jailbreak. What this means is that a jailbroken iOS device will be somewhat useful, as long as it reboots without a computer nearby. By using BigBoss' semi-tethering option, a jailbroken iOS 5 device can now make calls, send texts, use default apps and use the web with Appstore browsers. What the device cannot do, until it connects to a computer, is use Safari, Mail or carry out any other cool tweaks associated with jailbreaking.
While hackers continue to search for a way to perform an untethered jailbreak, for now the semi-tethered one is probably the next best thing. However, this option does not work with the iPhone 4S or the iPad 2 because there is currently no way to jailbreak either device if it is running iOS 5.
Jailbreaking gives you a way to install software that originates from outside Apple's App Store universe, without the company's seal of approval. It also enables users to make unauthorized tweaks to the device's mobile operating system. Jailbreaking voids the user's warranty and could cause damage to the user's device if done improperly. This includes apps which can dramatically change the look and feel of the iPhone by altering features such as the boot animation, keyboard or notifications.