Happy iOS 7 Jailbreak-mas! New Utility Liberates iPhones and iPads, but with Caveats

Jailbreak finally uncorks iOS 7, but its sudden release comes with warnings.

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Happy holidays, jailbreak wonks: the folks responsible for the iOS 6 jailbreak have finally rolled out a version for iOS 7. If you’re feeling intrepid — and you don’t want to muck with a utility like this unless you know what you’re doing — you can grab Evasi0n 7 for either OS X or Windows from the group’s website here. It supposedly works with any iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad mini running iOS 7.0 through 7.0.4.

If you’re just seeing that word “jailbreak” for the first time, it’s either a euphemism for illicit tinkering or a solidarity catchword (you pick) for a utility that lets you work around a device’s proprietary use strictures. So, for instance, if you want to install apps on your phone that haven’t been sanctioned by Apple, this is how you do it.

This is also how you potentially brick a phone: Apple doesn’t support jailbreaking, so if you louse things up, Apple isn’t obliged to help you (AppleCare or no). Bear that in mind.

I haven’t tried it, but 9to5Mac’s Seth Weintraub has, and he says it’s “legit” (it took him five minutes on an iPhone 5s). But Weintraub notes that the creator of Cydia — an iOS app that lets people find and install software for jailbroken iOS devices — is warning that the version for iOS 7 included with the jailbreak is unofficial and potentially bug-riddled; Cydia creator Jay Freeman says the hack group gave him no heads up about Evasi0n 7’s release.

In any event, if you’re determined to give the utility a shake — and this should go without saying — back up your iOS device first.