If you follow the checkra1n team closely on Twitter and you pay attention to the our news pieces as the team releases updates to the tool, then you’d probably come to assume that you can’t run the checkra1n jailbreak unless you have a Mac or a computer running Linux. While the aforementioned state is still technically true, you can use a helpful utility called bootra1n to run the checkra1n jailbreak on your Windows PC.
While it takes a little more finesse than simply running the checkra1n application on a Mac or a Linux box, using bootra1n is a great way to get jailbroken if you don’t have access to either of the above. In this tutorial, we’ll be showing you how to go about it, step by step.
What you need to know
You’ll mostly see us saying that checkra1n currently only supports macOS and Linux, and this is still true. In fact, bootra1n is basically using a small amount of Linux to trick your PC into running the checkra1n jailbreak in a Linux workspace.
To make this work, you’ll be flashing the bootra1n .ISO file to a blank USB flash drive or CD and then booting from it with your Windows PC. In short, you’ll be booting up a version of Linux from the removable drive instead of Windows on your main boot drive, but it still works on a Windows PC, and this can be nifty in a pinch.
What you will need
There are a few things you’ll need to get started with this tutorial. Those things include:
- An empty USB flash drive or CD with at least 512MB of storage space
- A 64-bit or 32-bit AMD or Intel-equipped Windows PC
- A checkra1n-compatible iPhone or iPad (A7-A11 chip)
- A MFi-certified USB-A to Lightning cable (USB-C to Lightning will not work)
- The bootra1n utility (64-bit or 32-bit)
- The Rufus utility
All the latest software downloads are available at the bootra1n GitHub repository, and you’ll want to download them before moving on. Unfortunately, we can’t link directly to those files because they’re continuously being updated, and we always want to ensure that our readers have access to the latest downloads available.
How to use checkra1n on a Windows PC
If you’re ready to run the checkra1n jailbreak, then follow these steps:
1) After you’ve downloaded everything you need from the GitHub repository above, plug in both your iPhone/iPad and USB flash drive (or insert your CD if you will be using one of those instead of a flash drive).
2) Right click on the Rufus utility you downloaded and click on Run as administrator. When prompted, confirm that you intended to run the application:
3) Before Rufus launches for the first time, you may be asked to download additional files – if you are, then click Yes. When Rufus opens, it should automatically detect your drive. Click on the Select button and then choose the bootra1n .ISO file you downloaded earlier via Windows explorer:
4) Once you’ve set the path to the bootra1n .ISO file in the Windows explorer window, a prompt appears. Select the Write in ISO image mode (recommended) option and click OK:
5) The bootra1n .ISO path should appear in the Rufus application. Leave everything else alone and then click on the Start button to proceed:
6) Rufus now warns you that your drive will be reformatted and flashed with the new .ISO file. Click OK to move on:
7) After Rufus finishes the process of reformatting the drive and flashing it with the ISO, you’re done with Windows. Reboot the PC and enter BIOS (consult your computer’s user manual if you aren’t sure how). You can usually enter the BIOS on a Windows PC by continuously pressing the F2 or Delete key while the computer starts back up.
Note: The following process of re-configuring boot device order for your PC varies based on the computer motherboard manufacturer, which consequently makes it impossible for us to recommend the exact steps for your specific situation. If you don’t already know how to change the boot order, then you’ll want to consult your computer or motherboard’s user manual to learn how.
8) Once in the BIOS, find the Boot option and make sure that your newly reformatted and bootra1n-ified USB flash drive is the first in line:
9) Save your changes and reboot the computer. When it starts back up, you should see the following interface instead of Windows. Simply press the Enter key on your keyboard to continue:
10) The next interface will look like Terminal text. After it finishes loading, it will ask for login details. Enter the following:
- login: anon
- password: voidlinux
11) After logging in, you can begin entering commands after the “$”. Enter the following:
12) The checkra1n application will now load, and it will look something like this:
13) Using your keyboard’s navigational arrow keys, move right to highlight the Start option, then press the Enter key.
14) The next interface lets you know that your connected iPhone or iPad needs to be kicked into DFU mode. Highlight the Next option, then press the Enter key:
15) You will now want to follow the on-screen instructions to enter DFU mode. Highlight the Start button, then press the Enter key and do exactly what the application says for your particular device:
16) After you successfully enter DFU mode, bootra1n will begin exploiting and jailbreaking your device:
17) Your iOS device should now display the checkra1n-themed verbose boot screen. Please do not disconnect it until after the jailbreak completes:
18 After the jailbreak finishes, you can reboot the computer and return to BIOS to reconfigure the Boot drive back to your Windows drive.
Note: To reboot your computer from the bootra1n screen, run the following command upon exiting the checkra1n UI:
sudo shutdown -r now
19) Turn your attention to your iOS device, and you should now see the checkra1n loader app on the Home screen. Open it:
20) Tap on the Cydia cell, then on the Install Cydia button that appears.
21) The checkra1n loader will then begin downloading the base system and installing Cydia:
22) Launch Cydia and refresh all your sources, then install any updates that might be waiting:
Once finished, you’re jailbroken and you didn’t even need a Mac or a Linux computer to get the job done. Congratulations!
While the process to use checkra1n is bit more convoluted on a Windows PC than it is on a Mac or a regular Linux machine, it’s still great that you can use this method if you have no other options available to you. First-party Windows support is allegedly coming to the checkra1n jailbreak soon, but there’s no official ETA at this time.
Whatever you do, please don’t be that guy who forgets to reset the Boot drive to Windows via BIOS. If you don’t do this, then your computer will continuously boot to the flash drive, or if you removed it, it will probably throw an error.
You might also like: How to jailbreak with checkra1n on macOS
Were you able to get jailbroken with checkra1n on your Windows computer with the help of bootra1n? Let us know in the comments section below.