Difference between Tethered and Untethered Jailbreak

January 14, 2017 by Editorial Team

Jailbreaking is the process of removing software limitations set by the iOS operating system on Apple devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. This action permits root access to a device that allows users to download and install apps, themes, and programs not available via the Apple App Store. Users can choose between tethered and untethered jailbreaking. Let’s find out which one is better.

Definitions

Tethered vs Untethered Jailbreak
A dialog box prompting a tethered boot

A tethered jailbreak requires the device to be connected to a computer running a jailbreak program. This tool will patch the device’s operating system whenever it needs to reboot. Without the program installed in the computer, the device will fail to reboot. Applications that allow tethered jailbreaks usually become available once a new iOS is released.

The device can just get stuck at the Apple logo screen if it is booted without being connected to a computer. Imagine how frustrating it can be should the device freeze and require a reboot. There’s no way to use the device until it is connected to a computer running the jailbreak software.

Newer devices can boot up even if they’re not connected to a computer. However, most services will not work except for calling and texting (for iPhones). This is called a semi-tethered jailbreak, and only when the device is connected to a computer will it boot up. No modifications, applications, and tweaks can run until the jailbreaking tool patches the OS to allow the reboot and the other applications to work.

untethered jailbreak
An install screen for the Evasion 7 jailbreak tool

An untethered jailbreak simply means a rooted device is not required to be connected to a computer for it to boot back up. The jailbreak program is installed on the device itself, which automatically patches the operating system whenever it needs to reboot. Mods, tweaks, and apps installed made possible by the jailbreak will run as if they were official Apple apps. This type of jailbreak program is hard to develop, thus it takes longer to be released. Some popular tools for untethered jailbreaking are Evasion and Absinthe.

Another type of untethered jailbreak is the semi-untethered jailbreak. The device will boot up as it normally would, but a jailbreak app will need to be re-run for the modified codes and applications to become active.

Tethered vs Untethered Jailbreak

So what’s the difference between a tethered and an untethered jailbreak?

A tethered jailbreak involves connecting the user’s device to a computer with an installed jailbreak tool for it to reboot and work normally. Thus, the device will not work as well as the mods and non-Apple apps. An untethered jailbreak, on the other hand, does not require a device to be hooked up to a computer when it needs to reboot. The jailbreak application is installed on the device which patches the OS during boot up. It is also possible to simply run the jailbreak app in the device to enable the modifications.

Comparison Chart

Tethered JailbreakTethered Jailbreak
Requires connection to a computerDoes not require connection to a computer
Jailbreaking app usually installed on a separate computerJailbreaking app installed on the device
Available right after a new version is releasedTakes a long time to develop and become available

Video

This YouTube video tells the major differences between these two jailbreaking methods.