The Unofficial iPhone Dev Team released JailbreakMe for the iPhone 4 over the weekend, giving average iPhone users a simple way to jailbreak their iPhone and install apps that aren’t available through Apple’s iTunes-based App Store. The jailbreak takes advantage of an exploit in Mobile Safari that lets users perform the hack without installing any special software on their iPhone or computer.
Jailbreaking is a process where you hack your iPhone or iPod touch so apps that Apple hasn’t authorized can be installed on the device. Instead of relying only on the App Store for third-party titles, jailbreakers can also use services like Cydia to find and install apps.
The hack also works with older iPhone models as well as the iPod touch, but it doesn’t jailbreak the iPad.
While Apple doesn’t support jailbreaking and may not honor warranties for jailbroken devices, a recent ruling by the US Copyright Office said individual users can’t be sued for hacking their smartphone and installing unapproved apps. Jailbreaking could, however potentially cause stability and security problems, so don’t hack your iPhone or iPod touch unless you know what you’re doing.