Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Jailbreaking - The Only Way Forward for a 1st Generation iPad

In my post yesterday, I wrote about my dismay that the original iPad would not be able to run iOS6 when it is released later in the year. I also decided to look into the possibility of jailbreaking the device to see if it was an option to get around this bad decision on Apple's part.

Those of you who read my posts regarding my experiment with the Hackintosh will know that I'm generally a little cautious when performing tasks like this - I do my homework first, weight up the pros and cons before deciding to proceed, and then spend plenty of time making sure that I know what I'm doing before I get started, and make sure that all the instructions are in front of me.

I fully intended to take the same approach with the iPad jailbreak, but I guess my disappointment that had been brewing over the previous 24 hours got the better of me as I started the research.

All it took was one video and a quick read of the instructions and I was sold. I think that in the back of my mind there was the thought that if there are not going to be any future significant updates for iOS5.1 then I had little to lose. Once the iPad was jailbroken it was going to stay in that state. I used Absinthe 2.0.4 to achieve an untethered jailbreak for the iPad 1 running iOS5.1.1. Untethered means that once the modification has been completed it is semi-permanent - it doesn't have to be re-jailbroken unless there is a problem. This compares to a tethered jailbreak where the modification needs to be done each time the device is unpowered. Clearly the untethered option is preferrable, especially on the iPad 1.

Compared to the Hackintosh project jailbreaking the iPad was a piece of cake. Yes, there were a couple of anxious moments, but these were on a par with a normal iOS update. The whole process took a little over an hour on a 64Gb iPad with about 15Gb of free space.

Once the process was complete, the only difference you'll notice is the addition of a new App icon - Cydia - which is a jailbreak management app for jailbroken iOS devices.

At this point a bit of additional research would not have gone amiss. Jailbreaking appears to have a language of its own, and it's actually difficult to know where to start when confronted with what is effectively a blank canvas. So most of what I've been doing has been trial and error, but I'm beginning to get the picture now. Luckily there are a wealth of videos on YouTube, not to mention oodles of websites.

A significant number of the "goodies" available for a jailbroken device serve to tweak the appearance of the device and improve on the accessibility of UI elements, particularly with reference to the notification centre.

As for the two things I mentioned in yesterday's post that I thought of as oversights on Apple's part, namely, the Do Not Disturb modification to Notification Centre and better Facebook integration - well, I've now got them addressed on my iPad. More about these "fixes" and some other great improvements next time.

The good news (for those around me at least) is that I'm back to being a happy bunny, and for now my 1st gen iPad has got a new lease of life. I will still be writing to the Apple Execs however. They don't get off the hook that easily!

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