OpeniBoot: Allows Booting of Unsigned Code such as Linux kernels on iOS Devices

Written By Sam on 15 November 2010

If you have been following the open source space, you may have heard of OpeniBoot, the successor to Bootlace iOS application. Simply explained, it is an open source implementation of iBoot for Apple iPhone and iPod Touch devices. It allows booting of unsigned code such as Linux kernels on the device. OpeniBoot comes in handy to make devices Linux-ready. This essentially allows users to run Android on their iPhone 4 or iPad. 

The latest version of this app is the 0.1.3 that supports iPhone (iPhone1,1), iPod Touch 1st Generation (iPod1,1) and iPhone 3G (iPhone1,2). 

How it can be installed:

OpeniBoot is compatible with the following devices:

  • iPhone 2G
  • iPhone 3G
  • iPod Touch 1G (1st Generation)
  • OpeniBoot is compatible with iOS (also known as iPhone OS) up to to 4.1

The app requires a well-matched jailbreak, which will enable users to run unsigned NOR images, such as Redsn0w, PwnageTool or Blackra1n. Jailbreak tools that OpeniBoot does not work with include Spirit and

Equipped with the above, you may now venture to install the app. We will provide a list of commands that you will have to key into the terminal window. You will need to provide your password whenever demanded.

sudo apt-get install libusb-1.0-0 libusb-1.0-0-dev libreadline6-dev readline-common libreadline6 libreadline-dev

 Note: Apt-get or aptitude command for Debian or Ubuntu distros only. Use the appropriate command, like:

  • emerge or portage for Gentoo
  • yum for Fedora
  • yast for Slackware

Mac users of OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) need to download and install the following (requires loadibec and oibc to run).

Install first then libusb-mac.gz. Follow this order.  Ensure libusb-mac.gz is installed in the end. If you started by installing libusb-mac.gz first, you will need to install then reinstall libusb-mac.gz.

Step-by-step guide to download and installation:

1. Download the corresponding OpeniBoot 0.1.2 package to your computer depending on your iDevice:

  •  2G is for iPhone 2G (not iPod Touch 2G)
  • 3G is for iPhone 3G (not iPod Touch 3G).

 2. Extract the file (openiboot.img3) to a desired location (choose a convenient location like your Desktop).

 3. Depending on your OS, start downloading the tools to install OpeniBoot from here:

 4. Extract/unzip the archive. You will soon have access to a folder named for your type of OS (like Linux-x86_64 for 64-bit Linux, Linux-x86 for 32-bit Linux or OSX for Mac OS X 10.6). Mac users need to note the OS X tools were developed using 10.6 Snow Leopard and as such may not work on 10.5 Leopard.

 5. Next, copy/move the files from the folder extracted (corresponding to your specific OS) to the convenient location where openiboot.img was extracted to (desktop, for instance).

 6. The ‘convenient location’ must contain the following:

  •  Loadibec
  • Oibc
  • openiboot.img3
  • Linux (if you are using 64-bit Linux).

 7. Now open a terminal and find the way to the convenient location. For instance,

 cd Desktop

 8. Now you will need to turn off your device and place it in recovery mode. When the device is turned off:

  •  Hold down the home button, then connect the USB cable (connected to the PC)
  • Keep holding the home button and you will soon see a screen with the iTunes logo and a cable pointing towards it.
  • For OS X and Windows users (using virtual machines), kill iTunesHelper otherwise iTunes will open upon detecting an iDevice in Recovery Mode.

 9. Now, revisit the terminal window and type the following command:

 sudo ./loadibec openiboot.img3

 The device’s screen is likely to flash briefly and the OpeniBoot menu will load.

 10. If you wish to try Android before installing Openiboot, you may navigate with the volume buttons (or with power button if you are using iPod Touch 1G) to the Android logo. Then hit the home button. However, you have to repeat the loading Openiboot process to install it at a later stage.

 11. Use volume buttons (if you are using iPod Touch 1G use power button), navigate to the console selection (the cog icon). Do not press the home button yet.

 12. In the terminal window type the following command:

 sudo ./oibc

 But DO NOT press enter yet.

 13. You can now hit the home button though and wait a while before pressing ‘enter’ on your PC to send the command. If the computer has failed to connect to the device, you will see this message:

 !<filename>[@<address>] to send a file, ~<filename>[@<address>]:<len> to receive a file

On the other hand, if you see ‘WELCOME TO OPENIBOOT,’ you know what it means.

 14. In the terminal window type this command:


 When installation is complete, it will display the following message:

 Openiboot installation complete.

 It is likely that the command would have copied a norbackup.dump file to your PC. This is a backup file and you would do well to save it in a safe location.

 15. Type this command in the terminal:


 16. Your device is most likely to reboot now. Select the iOS option and boot iOS by pressing the Home button.

Voila! You are done installing OpeniBoot on your iOS Device.

We will deal with more on OpeniBoot in a separate post shortly. Watch this space for more.

Also read:

How To Install Android on iPhone 2G/iPhone 3G With Bootlace

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