I know there are hundreds of sites that describe how to upgrade, download, break in and break out of iPhones and iTouches. I was intending to wait until the official release of the iPhone SDK because I simply didn’t have time to try and repair my iTouch after I turned it into a brick through the unavoidable experimentation with different sometimes vague directions on how to jailbreak your device.
The thing that caused me to dive into this was an application called PocketGuitar. The GUI on PocketGuitar is extremely simple. It is simply a grid that you quickly understand corresponds to the strings and frets on a virtual guitar but the sounds created by this application are amazing and very compelling. My daughter actually pressured me into installing this application for her on her iTouch.
First, my worries about permanently destroying the device were unfounded. The iTouch can be restored fairly easily just using the normal “Restore” feature built into the iTunes software. So after trying and retrying and googling and re-googling, I realized that before I could jailbreak the device I had to restore it back to an earlier version of the firmware. In fact, it turns out that the real work in jailbreaking the device was getting from my current 1.1.3 firmware back to the 1.1.1 firmware.
1) The first thing you need to do is obtain a copy of the 150mb firmware restore file which you can download here. For me the tough part of this was that different sites give you different instructions on how to restore this. A large number of the sites tell you that you can simply run iTunes and restore the file by holding the “Shift” key and click the “Restore” button on the iPod Summary screen. Others tell you that the iTouch needs to be in “Recovery” mode where the device has an iTunes icon and a USB cord on its display indicating it needs to be repaired. I tried these methods for about an hour and was unsuccessful. It seems that something in the iTunes software (i’m running 7.6) or in the 1.1.3 firmware is dead-set on keeping you from downgrading. So I finally starting watching YouTube and came across a video by a YouTuber who seems very young to me and was nearly incomprehensible in his directions but gave me the keys that I needed to finish downgrading to 1.1.1. There is a kit called “AutoDown” that you can obtain here that helped me reset my iTouch to a point where the Shift-Restore sequence from iTunes would actually work.
Basically, you close iTunes, open Task manager (Ctl-Alt-Del on most Windows systems) and kill iTunesHelper.exe. Note that your iTouch should still be connected by USB when you first close iTunes. Now unzip autodown.zip and run the AutoDown batch file which will repeat the instructions on close iTunesHelper and then ask you to press Enter a couple of times. After executing some commands on your iTouch the software will eventually stop without warning. After this happens, run iTunes again, hold Shift and click Restore on the iTouch/iPod Summary page. Select the ipsw file that you downloaded earlier (iPod1,1_1.1.1_3A110a_Restore.ipsw) and start the restore. I had performed this step a dozen times with slightly different variations but wasn’t successful until I ran AutoDown first. Now for the Jailbreak.
2) You know…in the movies, the jail break is usually the dramatic part of the process. In this case, after the downgrade, you simply go to http://jailbreakme.com using the Safari browser on your iTouch. When the page appears, scroll to the bottom and select the “Install AppSnapp” link. After various gyrations, the iTouch will lock itself. When you unlock it, an Installer icon should be present on your iTouch. Select this icon and browse the 3rd party apps to install…PocketGuitar was one of these…2 hours later and my daughter has everything she needs to get in trouble in school tomorrow…but she’s happy and she thinks her dad is a hero…today anyway 😉
Yes, I know I said 2 steps…the first step (the downgrade) took me about 1 hour and a half. The second step took about 2 minutes. Hopefully, this article will save you at least a hour of time trying to accomplish the same thing. Unless of course, you already spent the hour before you found this article 😉
Since all evidence points to the PocketGuitar application only working on 1.1.1 (jailbroken of course), she can’t upgrade to the latest firmware but that doesn’t seem to be a big issue for now.
Apple…please release the SDK and allow your customers to take advantage of the creativity, talent and sheer persistence of the Open Source community. Most of the software that is available is very good and some of it is brilliant!