Jailbreaking an iPod Touch is the process used to allow third-party apps to install on your iPod. Along with many other things, this process allows you to turn your iPod Touch into an iPhone in every aspect except the phone… that means getting the Mail, Google Maps, etc. apps. Some 3rd party apps that are available are Tap Tap Revolution (think DDR, but with screen tapping instead of dancing) and Apollo (AIM/MSN/ICQ IM client). There are hundreds of others with many different uses.
NOTE: I may say iPhone in this tutorial, but I really mean iPod Touch. Once they are jailbroken, they’re essentially the same thing, except you can’t call people with an iPod Touch.
The process of jailbreaking is fairly easy. I could explain it all here, but there are much better tutorials out there, so I will merely link to them.
Warning: Continuing and following the steps in the linked tutorials will involve Restoring your iPod. This means all songs/videos/etc. will be deleted from it. This shouldn’t be a problem if you have them on your computer as well, but it may be a slight inconvenience to re-sync multiple GBs of music. Just realize that you will lose all songs/etc. during the procedure (specifically the downgrading portion, which IS necessary).
Before you can jailbreak, your iPod Touch needs to be in version 1.1.1. Most new iPod Touchs (since December) come with 1.1.2 pre-installed. This means you can’t jailbreak. HOWEVER, it is possible to jailbreak simply by downgrading to 1.1.1. The process to do this is described here. This is a great tutorial, but it is geared toward Mac users. For Windows users, you would follow everything exactly the same except instead of holding the OPTION key down while pressing Restore in iTunes, you would instead hold SHIFT. That is all there is to it. You will now have version 1.1.1, and now you can finally jailbreak.
To jailbreak, follow this tutorial from the same blog. I am going to summarize the steps just to make it clear what is going on.
Step 1. Install AppSnapp. In this step you are essentially pointing the iPod Touch’s browser to “Jailbreakme.com” and pressing “Install AppSnapp” at the bottom of it. If you have a strong internet connection with a good signal, you should have no problem getting the progress indicator discussed/pictured in the tutorial. Once that occurs, an “Installer” button will be part of the iPod’s main menu.
Step 2. Preparing for 1.1.2 upgrade. In this step you use the “Installer” app that you now have to install the OktoPrep application. The installation of this app prepares your iPod for the 1.1.2 update. Remember I said that 1.1.2 doesn’t support Jailbreak? Well, it doesn’t UNLESS you first goto 1.1.1 and run OktoPrep, which is what this tutorial makes you do.
Step 3. Update to 1.1.2. Now you use iTunes to update to 1.1.2, now that your iPod has been prepared to allow jailbreaking in that version.
Step 4. Performing the 1.1.2 jailbreak. This step is a little tricky because it requires you to download and run a Java application. The article is geared towards Mac, but in Windows this step is completely different. It requires that you have Java. Mac users have Java installed by default, and so they don’t have to do anything. However, most Windows computers don’t have Java. You will need to get it from Sun Microsystem’s website here. Install it and then RESTART your computer. After that is finished, download the application referenced in the tutorial. It is a zip file, so unzip it normally. In the folder that results, there will be a file called “windows.bat”. Running that will launch the application, in which case you can proceed as described in the tutorial… pressing the “Jailbreak!” button. It pays to be patient at this point as your iPod will restart multiple times and iTunes on your computer may have a few errors… just ignore it, as soon everything will be good. Once your iPod fully boots up without restarting, and you get to the point where you can use the menus, then you are DONE!!!
Step 5. Install Apps. At this point, your iPod Touch is jailbroken. You have gotten past the hard part. Now you just have to use the Installer app to install more programs. I recommend getting SummerBoard, which makes it easier to manage the main menu when it gets huge from all your new apps. Another must-have is Apollo if you use IM a lot and Tap Tap Revolution is a great game. iBlackjack is another favorite, which is a well-done blackjack port for iPhone.
To get the iPhone Apps (Google Maps, etc.) on your jailbroken iPod Touch, go here.
Any questions.. ask in the comments. I did this successfully on my first try, so it’s not hard at all with the above tutorials.