PwnageTool vs Blackra1n: Understand Which Tool Suits Your iPhone/iTouch

Back in the days jailbreaking business was simple and painless. You had your iDevice, you had one tool , and that was it. Now, you have too many tools and there is plenty room for error and/or confusion. To avoid this situation, here is a guide that will explain you what this tools do and help you decide which tool is best suited for your needs: PwnageTool or Blackra1n.

What is PwnageTool:

PwnagetTool is an application developed by the iPhone DevTeam , available only for Mac users, which allows you yo jailbreak, unlock and activate your iDevice no matter which firmware you are using. You do not have to update your iDevice in order to use PwnageTool. Using this tool , you take the original firmare , you strip it down of its protection and you create a custom firmware suited for your needs. Once you have the custom firmware , all you need to do is to restore your iDevice with it via iTunes.

What is Blackra1n:

Blackra1n is an application developed by GeoHot, available for Mac and Windows, which allows you to unlock and jailbreak all iDevices but it will not hacktivate them. This method is extremely fast ( around 20-30 seconds ) , and uses a USB exploit which unlocks your iDevices directly on the original firmware installed on your iDevice. This means that before using Blackra1n, you need to update/restore your iDevice to the original firmware.

Later edit: we are not talking here about the unlocking process that will allow you to use your device with any carrier. that can only be done through ultrasn0w and no jailbreaking tool does that. Bottom line, if you depend on unlocking your iPhone to use it with any carrier, you need to preserve your baseband which imply that you’ll not use blackra1n


If you own a iPhone EDGE/2G

The iPhone EDGE, needs to be jailbroken and also needs activation. The activation process is what allows us to access and view the Springboard. An iPhone EDGE non-active, remains stuck on “emergency calls” screen, without having the possibility to use the iPhone.
Blackra1n is currently capable of running only the Unlock and Jailbreak. Owners of an iPhone EDGE can not and must not use this application. The only application capable of executing all this tasks for the iPhone EDGE is PwnageTool.Here is how to do it with PwnageTool.
PwnageTool is a Mac only applications. If you are a Windows user, you have two options:

  • wait until ( if ) blackra1n updates and supports activations
  • get a custom firmware made on a mac. Hey we have some here

If you own a factory unlocked 3G/3Gs

Various situations involving the iPhone 3G and 3Gs can be handled the same because, in terms of unlock, they are the same.  In the case of factory unlocked 3G/3Gs’s , the onlu thing that you need is to unlock and jailbreak.

Since that is the case, you can choose any method you like. If you are used with creating custom firmwares, than, by all means go ahead and use PwnageTool. If you want it faster than you can use Blackra1n.

If you own an official carrier 3G/3Gs

In this case, since the iDevice is not factory unlocked, you will need to take some things into consideration. In order to receive phone calls and SMS/MMS messages you might also need to unlock ( if you dont want to use the official carrier )  and this can only happen with the old baseband:

I own an iPhone 3G/3GS running firmware 3.0 ( official carrier ) and never updated to 3.1 or 3.0.1 or later

In this case the only possible method to jailbreak your iDevice on firmware 3.1.2 , is to force the use of PwnageTool.  By running firmware 3.0 or 3.0.1, your baseband version is 04.26.08. This can easily be unlocked by Ultrasn0w:

  • use this guide to create a custom firmware. once created restore your iDevice via iTunes
  • after you restore your iDevice, it will run with no problems but you’ll not be able to receive calls and SMS/MMS messages. Load Cydia and install ultrasn0w. Thats it.

I own an official carrier iPhone 3G/3GS  and upgraded from 3.0 to 3.1 / 3.1.2 original ( ECID saved )

The ECID file is a certificate that is useful if you want to downgrade your firmware on your iPhone 3Gs. When updating an iPhone to a new firmware, you upgrade the baseband which is the version of the modem and , unfortunatelly, this cannot be reversed. If you have a an official carrier iPhone and you updated it, than you also updated the baseband.

At the moment there is no method of unlocking for you. Even if you are downgrading back to 3.0, that doesent mean that you will downgrade your baseband. The only thing you can do is wait for the iPhone DevTeam to release a new version of ultrasn0w.

I own an official carrier iPhone 3G/3Gs running 3.X ( OTB )

Firmware 3.1 native (or OTB) is an iPhone that was already running the latest firmware when it was purchased  In this case you already have the latest version of the baseband and this can not be unlocked. You can jailbreak the firmware using PwnageTool  but you will not be able to unlock it.
I own an official carrier iPhone 3G/3Gs mounting firmware 3.1 and the old baseband
In this case you are able to perform the upgrade to 3.1.2 , jailbreak, unlock and activate.

If you own an iTouch 1G/2G

iTouch is much different than the iPhone. You dont have to worry about the unlock. Just feel free to use either one of the tools. It’s your choice. In either case the results will be flawless.

If you own an iTouch 3G

This is a special case. The only method for this device is Blackra1n , although you need to know that there is no real jailbreak for this device. The only way is to perform a tethered Jailbreak
The tethered jailbreak is quite inconvenient since,  every time you restart the device, you find yourself with an original iTouch! Cydia suddenly disappears and with it, all installed applications. The only way to re-take cydia and third party applications is that of re-run the Jailbreak. You need to be careful and try to avoid restarts and unloading the device.

You can use blackra1n for this device, but you need to know that it might not work the first time you try. If that is the case, restart blackra1n.



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