Apple Inc.'s newest mobile operating system - the iOS 5 - has been available for some time now. However, the only option for users looking to jailbreak the device is a tethered jailbreak.

Users looking to jailbreak their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch would obviously prefer their device resume normal operations following a re-start. Unfortunately, a tethered jailbreak means the device will need a computer to boot back up. A tethered boot involves a little more effort than simply clicking a button. A tethered boot, in principle, means the user will have to connect the device to a computer. Only then can the jailbreak application of choice be opened and the app allowed to boot.

Although the situation may not appear particularly positive, there are certain advantages of a tethered break. The biggest, of course, is that the device is now jailbroken. The second is that the user can boot semi-tethered, which means the device can still be used (in case of a re-start), albeit with limited functionality. Jailbroken hacks cannot be accessed, and only the phone and built-in applications can be used.

Tethered booting only takes a few minutes to accomplish. SemiTether is a Cydia download that bypasses the rebooting limitation, thereby allowing the user to recover the device by connecting to a computer. But jailbroken apps, the Mail service and the Safari web browser will remain unavailable and the phone might take longer than usual to boot.

There are, however, a few disadvantages in using a tethered break; the most obvious is that the device will need a computer to reboot. In the rare case of the user not having access to a computer, this could create a problem, forcing the installation of a SemiTether app allowing for limited functionality. In addition, many jailbreak apps and tweaks are not yet compatible with iOS 5, meaning that even if the device has been jailbroken, the user may have to wait to install apps of choice. It must also be noted that the tethered jailbreak was released to allow developers to test their apps. It was not intended for general use. As a result, it could have bugs and stability issues.

The end result is a need for an untethered jailbreak; unfortunately this remains elusive, according to reports from jailbreaking communities. Although iPhone hackers are making progress, it may be a while before an official untethered jailbreak is available.