There's a new jailbreak in progress. An iOS jailbreak, that is.
Users of iOS devices built around an A4 processor -- such as the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad and some iPod Touch models -- have been enjoying an untethered jailbreak for a few weeks, allowing them to access Cydia, an iTunes App Store alternative that offers hacks, tweaks and apps not approved for sale by Apple.
But that all changed on Friday, Jan. 20, when iOS hackers released an untethered jailbreak tool for the two devices, both of which use the A5 chip.
An "untethered" jailbreak means users don't need to plug into a computer and use third-party software every time they need to restart their device.
The new jailbreak software, known as "Absinthe," is a result of the combined efforts of @pod2g -- the iPhone hacker responsible for the recently released iOS 5 jailbreak for A4 devices -- and members of the iPhone Dev Team and the Chronic Dev Team.
According to the iPhone Dev Team blog, jailbreaking the two devices was no easy task:
On his blog, @pod2g playfully nicknamed the combined effort a "dream team". It’s an ironic name, because the past few weeks have left everyone involved with very little sleep and the opportunity to dream :)
In fact, according to Information Week, jailbreaking the iPhone 4S and iPad 2 took around 10 months to complete, due primarily to the more secure A5 chip Apple began using when it released the iPad 2.
"The endless war we fight to jailbreak has become more and more difficult with each new device released, and our recent battle against A5 only proved this further," Joshua Hill, aka p0sixninja, said in a blog post.
Nevertheless, a working beta version of Absinthe is currently available for both Mac and Windows at the Greenpoison website, which is run by the Chronic Dev Team.
While the software is still currently in beta, the iPhone Dev Team has said on their blog that a "public version" -- more refined and with more of the bugs worked out -- will be released shortly.
While jailbreaking was officially deemed legal by federal regulators in 2010, the practice does void users' warranty with Apple. Though, since the process is reversible, many users consider this a non-issue.
For those on the fence about whether or not to jailbreak their device, PC World has compiled a simple list of pros and cons of the practice called "5 Reasons to Jailbreak Your iPhone - and 5 Reasons Not."
WATCH: iPhone hacker @pod2g walks through the new iPhone 4S jailbreak.