If you're champing at the bit to try out iOS 4, the iPhone's next operating system, and don't mind taking risks with your iPhone, you're in luck. Several blogs are claiming you can try it out now. Apple recently released the near final version of iOS 4 to developers known as the gold master build. After Apple's release it didn't take long before iOS 4 was leaked online and available for anyone to download.
An industrious hacker has also released a jailbreak tool for iOS 4 for the iPhone 3GS, essentially making the new iPhone OS jailbroken.
iOS 4 for all
Several blogs have detailed instructions about how you can get iOS 4 on your device right now. However, since you need to use a developer build to do this and all iPhone development has to be done on a Mac, this trick will not work for Windows users. You also need to have either an iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G or a second or third generation iPod Touch.
But if you've got an iPhone and a Mac all you have to do is download the beta version of iTunes 9.2 and install it on your system just like you would any other application. Then you have to download the iOS 4 gold master build. Once that's done, you just plug your iPhone into iTunes and select it under 'Devices.' From there, select the restore option and press alt+click, select the iOS 4 ipsw file and iTunes takes care of the rest. Make sure you back up the files on your iPhone before you start this process, because installing iOS 4 this way will wipe out everything on your iPhone and then reinstall it.
Although I haven't tried the process myself, this trick reportedly works because Apple does not require your iPhone's 40-digit unique device identifier (UDID) for iOS 4 to work. Apple uses the UDID to verify that your iPhone is an authorized developer device, and is therefore allowed to be using developer builds of the iOS.
Judging by the comments left on blogs around the Web most people are able to get iOS 4 working on their iPhone without much hassle. However, there's no guarantee that Apple won't start bricking devices if iOS 4 becomes too widespread or that certain parts of your iPhone will stop functioning--this is still a beta after all. You also won't get access to the iBooks application even with iTunes 9.2 and iOS 4 installed.
But if you're a Mac user, and you want to take the risk then check out The Next Web for all the download links you need to get iOS 4 on your device.
NOTE: The entire process of installing iOS 4 on your device can take about 30 minutes depending on how much content has to be reinstalled on your iPhone.
Jailbroken iOS 4
A hacker known as msft.guy has released a PwnageTool bundle that works with iOS 4, according to Redmond Pie . There is also a tutorial about how to jailbreak iOS 4 on ensycned . Jailbreaking is a little more complicated than just installing iOS 4, and requires that you have an already jailbroken iPhone 3GS--this does not work with iPhone 3G. However, the process is basically the same: install iTunes 9.2 and iOS 4, run the Pwnage Tool and you're done.
Here's a video from a user named Surenix that shows the iOS 4 jailbreak in action.
Check out PCWorld's brief hands on with the iOS 4 gold master .
Connect with Ian on Twitter (@ianpaul ).