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Tuesday, November 23, 2010, 07:30 am PT (10:30 am ET)

iPhone music vanishes with Apple's iOS 4.2, hackers release 'jailbreak'

Some users have found that updating their iPhone to the latest software version, iOS 4.2, has made their iPhone music disappear, though a quick fix is available. Also, hackers have quickly released a "jailbreak" for the new mobile operating system update.

Quick fix for vanishing iPhone music in iOS 4.2.1

Since the release of iOS 4.2 on Monday, some users have experienced disappearing music on their iPhone. A thread on the Apple Discussions forums has found that the music was not erased, but needs to be re-synced.

Some who posted on Apple's forum have found a fix for the issue that seems to work. User "slouchsock8" recommended the following method:
  • Connect iPhone to iTunes via USB
  • Play a song on the iPhone itself from iTunes
  • Click the "Sync" button to re-sync the iPhone
  • Open the iPod application on the iPhone to rebuild the music library

The latest software update was released as iOS 4.2, but is technically iOS 4.2.1. iOS 4.2 was released to developers as a beta earlier this month, but issues with Wi-Fi connectivity forced Apple to build a second golden master with fixes before public release.

"Tethered jailbreak" for iOS 4.2 released

Hackers quickly released a software "jailbreak" for iOS 4.2 after the update was made public Monday. Jailbreaking is a practice that allows users to run code not approved by Apple on their mobile device.

A group of hackers known as the iPhone Dev-Team released the latest update of their hack, dubbed "redsn0w," with version 0.9.6b4. It is available for both Mac OS X and Windows.

For recent devices — the iPhone 4, newer iPhone 3GS models, latest-generation iPod touch, and the iPad — the jailbreak, for now, is "tethered," meaning users must reconnect their device to a computer via USB to re-jailbreak if they need to restart it. Users of the iPhone 3G, older iPhone 3GS models and second-generation iPod touch (models numbers that don't start with MC) can have an untethered jailbreak.

Apple and the hacking community have been engaged in a cat-and-mouse game for years, as Apple looks to plug security holes and hackers find ways to exploit them. Jailbreaking allows users to do things with their iPhone Apple and its carrier partners do not allow, such as custom themes and icons, "true" multitasking with applications running in the background, Wi-Fi tethering, and FaceTime over 3G.

Apple has primarily expressed concern that jailbreaking allows users to steal software from the App Store. The Cupertino, Calif., company has also cautioned that the jailbreaking process, while legal, can make iOS devices less secure.